Op-Ed: Stop Hoarding

Caroline Champa

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  • The frozen fruits and vegetables gone at Stop and Shop. Photo by Caroline Champa '20

  • The pasta aisle out of stock at Stop and Shop. Photo by Caroline Champa '20

  • Meat section empty at Stop and Shop. Photo by Caroline Champa '20

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and create turmoil, madness has struck, not in isolation but at local grocery stores – people are hoarding.

Over the past few weeks, many have instilled fear of city lockdowns or just not being prepared for household quarantine for any amount of time, if contracted.

I think it’s fair to say, this virus spreads as fast as rumors. For a little while, people believed Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker planned to order a two-week shelter in place.

On top of this rumor, a Kentucky man, believed to have contracted COVID-19 refused quarantine rules and was forced by a guard stationed outside of his home.

The man’s wife explained to the press, “[Her] family has been threatened and not able to stock up on food for six adults and pets in the house ahead of the quarantine.”

In an address to the public on Sunday, Baker said that many officials had been in contact with them about the shelter in place, however, he assured the public, “we had no plans to do that.”

While there are no plans of a shelter in place, many all over the world have become stir crazy and have hit the local grocery stores to stock up.

People are buying like they could starve.

Grocery and local stores have been filled with people purchasing items such as toilet paper, non-perishable foods, hand sanitizer, and other hygiene products.

According to President Trump, people are buying “three-to-five times what they normally buy.”

Purchasing food has reached a new level – hoarding.

Hoarding has become so popular that stores have ordered limits to the number of products people can buy. Stores like Target, Walmart, Stop and Shop, and more have instituted new hours and rules.

In a statement on its website, Target will continue to stay open during the normal hours but as of March 7, a limit was set in place for the number of items purchased, making supplies available to everyone.

Stop and Shop has implemented new hours. Started on Thursday, the store will now open at 6 am and close at 8 pm with a 60+ age group time slot from 6 am to 7:30 am.

In a press release statement, President of the company, Gordon Reid explained, “We’re making the decision to offer this every day of the week to allow for community members in this age category to shop in a less crowded environment, which better enables social distancing.

Reid also says that another reason for the alteration in-store hours is for the protection of the workers. The stores close earlier so that workers are able to restock the shelves more easily. Throughout the day, cleaning and disinfecting efforts will not stop.

When I went to the store, there were many empty shelves and I was amazed. Some people actually need to buy food as children are coming home due to schools and universities opting to remote learning.

I think that people are being selfish when it comes to purchasing food. You do not need to buy four packs of toilet paper unless it is very necessary. During this time, people who are young and healthy should think of the elderly who are scared and unable to purchase food due to large crowds.

The next time you enter a store, and you buy ten boxes of pasta or three packages of hand sanitizer, keep in mind that your actions will impactful to an elder or someone in need.