Frenzied shoppers clearing shelves at local stores

Paige Evers '22, Web Editor

It has been three days since Governor Whitmer announced the first cases of COVID-19 in Michigan on Tuesday, March 10, and store aisles are looking emptier than ever.
In the midst of this pandemic, panic buying is occuring at local stores like Kroger and Costco, among others. Panic buying, by definition, is the act of going out and buying large quantities of certain products out of a fear that a shortage or increase in price could be coming in the near future. Marella Piazza ’21 said that she understands why people are buying frenziedly, since nobody knows what exactly COVID-19 entails as it spreads throughout the country.
I think people are panic buying because they don’t know what’s coming next and they don’t know what the future holds,” Piazza said.
Josie Pinter ’23 believes that people who are stocking up make others feel like they should stock up as well.
“There’s a bunch of people who are freaked out about the coronavirus,” Pinter said. “They’ll go and stock up on everything to make sure they have everything they need when stuck inside for however long.”
According to Lauren Cooper ’21, she thinks everyone is unsure of what is to come and wants to be safe. She said that she became concerned when she walked into Kroger and saw the shelves.
“It kind of scared me because we walked down the aisles and saw all the toilet paper gone, all the Kleenex gone, all of the pasta and dry foods gone, and that definitely freaked me out,” Cooper said.
Piazza said she doesn’t have a problem with panic buying because the spread of COVID-19 is new, and people are understandably worried.
“I think people are doing what they think is best for themselves and how they are going to deal with what is to come,” Piazza said.
According to a sign posted at the Grosse Pointe City Kroger (slide 5), cold and flu items, liquid hand soap, vitamins, hand sanitizers, household cleaning products, water, bath tissue, paper towel and facial paper are running low.
“I have never seen this before,” Piazza said. “Kroger is trying to limit the amount of (certain) products (that people are allowed to) buy. There was a sign that said that (shoppers) can only take three packages of toilet paper and three containers of Kleenex boxes for each person. They want everybody to be able to have it, but it’s hard because everyone wants (all of) it.”
According to a Tower Pulse Instagram poll of 80 people, 21 percent believed that panic buying was logical given the situation at hand.
“I think that if someone is going to be quarantined, they should go out and buy a lot,” Pinter said. “If they aren’t stuck inside, I don’t think that there is a point to buying in bulk. You’re just wasting money.”
Cooper said that her family is already prepared for whatever may come in the next couple days or weeks, but understands what everyone is going through right now.
“We stocked up weeks ago because we knew this was coming,” Cooper said. “I’m not that angry that it’s all gone, but I’m sure people who don’t have any of the supplies that they need are pretty frantic right now.”