As case numbers of COVID-19 begin to climb again, you might notice that store shelves are emptying again. Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, paper towels, canned soup and other pandemic staples are once again being purchased in bulk numbers.
Panic-buying is a frustrating scenario to watch unfold for the average person. If you want to have any supplies, you need to take pains to pick up the items that are being bought out. But by doing so, you contribute to the panic and shortage.
However, the most important thing to keep in mind during these panic-buying moments is that you need to remain calm. There is no reason to lose your mind over something as simple as groceries. If you’re too worked up, you could even find yourself falling victim to a scalper or price hike scam! Here’s how to avoid the worst excesses of disaster scalpers.
If you see online shopping listings showing massive upcharges for things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, ignore them. Those kinds of listings may even be legitimate, but you should never reward scalpers for being the first to purchase an item.
Scalpers prey on shortages and impatient buyers to make a quick buck by flipping items they’re able to hoard. If you ignore a scalper and let them sit on their stock of over-purchased goods, then they’ll quickly feel the weight of all the funds they tied up in whatever it was they bought out.
So, while it might pain you to take a moral stand when you’re out of toilet paper, spending double or more retail on something that simply is not an option. Let scalpers sit on their stock and have them forced to sell it off at retail months from now rather than rewarding them for their selfish behavior.
Consider setting restock alerts on your phone through apps that track stock shipments. These allow you to bypass customer service reps and uninformed floor staff and go straight to the stores when you know they’ve gotten a restock in.
When you arrive, don’t make a big fuss about what you’re getting, as that could cause a panic in the store that leads to a rush to the item that is back in stock.
Above all, remember to only get what you need. Your conduct will inform others. If you’re calm and reasonable, your neighbors may follow suit. However, if you panic, then so will those who are close to you, which causes a massive snowball effect. Stay calm and buy only what you need!