Now is not the time to panic buy again
When the first round of COVID-19 shutdowns and stay-at-home orders came down this past spring, it triggered an unusual response: people begin buying up toilet paper, along with other products they suddenly deemed “essential.”
The result was bare shelves that forced some shoppers to go hunting from store to store for supplies — not ideal when supposed to stay at home — and retailers to put strict limits on how much could be purchased.
With a new, though more limited, shutdown now in place into December, retail officials are trying to avoid a repeat of such “panic buying.”
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell, Michigan Retailers Association CEO William Hallan and Todd Weer, senior vice president of Meijer stores, had a message for consumers who may be buying larger quantities than necessary at the stores: Please stop.
“Michigan has an ample supply of food products and other items. But, when shoppers panic buy products like toilet paper, paper towel and other items, it creates a ripple effect within the supply chain,” McDowell said. “Buying what your household will use for the week keeps the supply chain moving, ensures everyone has access to what they need and allows the stores to replenish shelves for your next shopping trip.”
According to McDowell, COVID-19 has changed everything about how people come together, especially with the holidays right around the corner.
“The impact of this pandemic has not been easy, and it is not over as we see rampant community spread,” he added. “One thing we can all do to help each other during this time is buying only what you need. This ensures your friends and neighbors have access to food and other necessary products during this pandemic.”
Signaling evidence of consumers starting to panic shop at levels first seen during the early months of the pandemic, Hallan urges Michiganders to limit purchases to a week’s worth of supply.
“Retailers across the state continue to work hard to restore and maintain product levels in stores to meet the demand in communities,” Hallan said. “Consumers need to know that stores, particularly grocery stores, will remain open. Consumers should plan for essentials in weekly increments to ensure that supply levels remain steady over the next few weeks. As retailers continue to do their part to keep retail environments safe to shop, we are asking consumers to do their part by limiting quantities to ensure there is enough for everyone.”
If consumers are leery about shopping in person, Hallan encourages them to consider using services such as curbside pick-up and home delivery.
“Our goal is to have everything our customers need, and our supply chain and store teams are working very hard to keep our shelves stocked during these busy times,” Weer said. “As long as shoppers buy the number of items they normally would, then everyone should be able to check off the items on their grocery list when they visit the store.”