The current hysteria to buy massive quantities of toilet paper, medical supplies, and other health-related necessities is going to cause problems for vulnerable members of our community whose health may be already at risk.
The people most at risk during a pandemic are the elderly, families with infants, and folks with chronic health issues.
These are the same people who most need toiletries and medical supplies; who often cannot afford to buy such things in great quantities; and who should not be forced to go from store to store in desperate search for such necessary items while a virus is going around.
Yet, if store shelves are empty due to hysterical hoarding, this is exactly what will happen.
The rush to overstock homes with toilet paper and other such items was sparked by a situation in Australia where an alleged shortage of toilet paper resulted in fighting and chaos.
Some countries rely on imported goods from Asian factories; the shortage of staff in some factories due to the COVID virus has affected the production and availability of some goods.
Our toilet paper, however, is made right here in British Columbia. There is no such shortage.
But, if a store sells out of an item, there is a delay between the production of that item and when it hits the store shelves. During this interval, those who legitimately need it will have to do without.
Not everyone can afford or has the ability to stock up on medical supplies and bulky items like toilet paper in case of shortage or quarantine.
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People on fixed incomes, including the elderly and folks on disability or welfare, may only be able to buy a week’s or month’s worth at a time.
People who live alone, do not drive, or have mobility challenges may not be able to do large shopping trips.
But when store shelves are empty, who is going to suffer – the households that could afford to buy items online if needed in the case of shortage or quarantine, or folks who are elderly, chronically ill, have disabilities, or otherwise might not have such financial freedom or access to alternate retail resources?
I encourage shoppers to consider those other than just themselves and think of the more vulnerable members of our community.
Do you really need that fourth or fifth pack of bulk toilet paper, or that third bottle of pain killers, or yet another bottle of disinfectant soap “just in case?”
Or, are there those who need it more than you do?
If you have the privilege of having the ability and financial resources to buy necessities in bulk, do so within reason, instead of hoarding.
Leave some on the shelves.
Susan Cormier, Langley