One of my womb fruits jokingly suggested a few weeks ago that people would soon start brawling over loo paper and that there would be a crazy black market for the elusive bog. My kid was right. I said there was no way people would fight over toilet paper! It was too ridiculous for my brain to entertain that this could ever be a reality. Seriously, in a country that manufactures it’s own toilet paper?! Adult people fighting in the supermarket aisles over a pack of Sorbent?!?!
I did my usual weekly online shop. Toilet paper was available as I clicked items into my virtual cart. I ordered my usual 24 pack for $8.50. That usually lasts us for just over a week as there are six active wipers in our house 😉 Before my shop was delivered, however, I received an email informing me of the various items that were unavailable and that I would be refunded for. My one pack of toilet paper was among those items. Also missing were bath soap and laundry liquid and my hand wash refill. I thought okay no problem, I can pick some up during the week.
However, that was not to be. I made several trips to my local supermarket, which, luckily for me is only a five minute drive from my house, and I have a car with fuel in itEvery time I returned empty handed. It was okay because we still had a few rolls kicking around the place.
It got me thinking though, that with all the panic buying going on and the empty shelves, what about the people not as fortunate as me. The people who can only make one trip a week to the shops because they can’t get around themselves? Or they only have enough money to go out once? People who need help to do their shopping?
I know people are trying to prepare and are afraid. I get it. It’s called panic buying because people are afraid and are trying to deal with the uncertainty of the situation caused by what has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. It seems, essentially to be a response based on fear. Fear of both the known and unkown.
People are afraid. We need to behave with more compassion, not less. Also every person has their own history which can also inform thier behaviour. By that I mean that some people have dealt with scarcity before and this can initiate or cause them to panic and stockpile. Simultaneously, in many places we are being advised to be prepared by having enough supplies of food and presicription medication to last our families and pets at least two weeks. This is in case of the request to either quaratine, self-isolate or take part in more aggressive measures of social distancing that may be deemed neccessary to slow the spread of the virus, thus preventing our health care systems from becoming overwhelmed and negatively affecting their capacity to manage cases requiring hospitalisation adeqautely.
If people can be reassured that supplies of food, prescription medicine and toilet paper will not be depleted indefinitley, they may find it easier to make a more measured response. Be calm, use common sense and buy only what you need. Leave some for others. Here in Australia our food supplies are not going to run out and honestly neither is our toilet paper. Even though we are now being advised to begin to practice social distancing, we still have enough time to make sure we have what we need to live for a two week period. Those of us lucky enough to have the money and means at least. That is an important point to realise. Not all people have access to the same resources. Let that knowledge inform your behaviour and choices. In fact, on a global scale, those of us lucky enough to live in developed communities with access to the best health care, have a fundamental responsibility to do whatever we can to slow the spread in an effort to help people in less wealthy and devleoped nations be less negatively impacted. I hope that all Governments will unite and help those less fortunate than themselves.
When you are at the supermarket or doing your online shop, please remember not everyone can get to the shops everyday and that not all people have the money to stockpile certain items. Leave some for the next person and take only what you need. Unity, generosity and compassion for others will see us all through this time of uncertainty. As you go about your day and shopping, spare a moment to realise that your actions can have an impact and you get to choose whether that impact is negative, or positive. Be Kind. xo