I just got back from the supermarket, and I can report this: the panic is real.
I’ve never seen anything like it. I went to one supermarket and there weren’t any parking spaces. So I drove a couple of blocks to the other place I frequent. Plenty of spaces but still really busy. This was like a blizzard and an apocalypse combined. Liquid soap flying off the shelves, no hand sanitizer anywhere, and people were buying enough bottled water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
This was my regular shopping trip. I didn’t go for any special reason or any personal panic, but even I felt the need to buy a little more than I usually do. I didn’t want to buy that much hand soap, really, but when you see that everyone is buying it and there’s not much left on the shelves, your immediate thought is, “I better buy some just in case they don’t restock it for a few weeks.”
Lysol wipes were limited to five containers per person.
I got in line and as I was putting my groceries on the conveyer belt a woman in the next aisle screamed to her husband across the store: “HENRY, GRAB AS MUCH TOILET PAPER AS YOU CAN!!!!!”
One older woman near the milk was actually upset and grabbed the arm of a younger woman next to her, telling her how worried she was. This made me pause. The younger woman tried to console her but when people are worried there’s only so much you can say to them in a few minutes.
I wonder how liquor stores are doing? You’d think this would be one of those times when people would want to stock up on bottles filled with liquids that calm the nerves. I did see one woman leaving with a giant box of Coors Light, going for quantity over quality.
But what can you do? All the things we’re sick of hearing experts tell us the past two weeks: wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, cover your cough with your elbow, avoid large crowds, try to stay in as much as possible and catch up on those Netflix shows and DVR recordings you’ve been meaning to watch.
And for God’s sake Henry, grab as much toilet paper as you can.