Panic Buying: Should You Be Concerned?

“Stores were unable to keep up with demand for products”


Mariana Razo, Staff Writer

As the cases of coronavirus increase in the U.S., so has the worry, which has resulted in panic buying across the nation. Shelves have been emptied, stores are filled with concerned customers, and many are struggling to keep inventory.

A couple days after California issued a state of emergency on March 4th, shoppers went on a spree to buy stocks of water, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.


According to The Straits Times, “It’s pandemonium – our numbers are double the usual,” said Rene, who is an employee at a Costco store in Burbank, California. Costco restricted shoppers to two crates of water due to the demand. The free samples were also removed in fear of the virus spreading.

This panic can also result in “price surges and shortages,” as stated by Orange County Health Care Agency. Many have already seen increased pricing on hand sanitizer in the U.K.

Officials have stated that panic buying is a form of relaxation and reassurance for the consumer. Stocking up on supplies can calm one by knowing they are safe and have no need to worry. However, seeing others panic buy will breed others to do the same. Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of British Columbia, explains that panic buying can create a “…sense of urgency and leads people to over-buy, that is buying more supplies than they really need, just to be on the safe side.”

Should you be worried and stock up on supplies? The answer is no, but there is no stopping anyone from doing so. Many are hoarding face masks and hand sanitizer, though the masks are helpful to prevent the virus. However, because of the short supply, it is more for health officials to use to prevent the spread within patients. Also, those who are stocking up on face masks prevent hospitals from obtaining them, since they need them more than the public. Hand sanitizer can help, but washing your hands is really the only way to completely be safe. While sanitizer kills germs, the most effective way to prevent the virus is thoroughly washing your hands.

As of March 8th, there are now 550 official cases and 22 deaths in the United States.