It Started with….Toilet Paper

By Laura Herrera

This might sound familiar……An emergency has been declared in your area for a pandemic. And rumors abound that a “shelter in place” may be declared soon.

What do some people do? Panic? Worry? Fret? Understandably.

It starts with folks converging on local grocery stories, Costco, Walmart, and Target. What disappears first? Toilet paper. Seriously!

Water, bread, eggs, milk, nuts, cereal, ramen noodles, tomato sauce and pasta might be sold out or scarce. So then folks go to Plan B and order goods online, overwhelming Amazon, Instacart and other similar stores. You want a box of regular pasta from Amazon? Forget it. Not available and no assurance as to when it will be. And when you do find some available pasta, instead of it being $.99 or $1.50, that same box of pasta now costs upwards of $4 or more. Incredible price gouging. (As with hand sanitizer, bleach wipes, etc.)

What does a person do if they need supplies? Are there conversations happening with our neighbors and friends (social distancing, of course – over fences and through doors)? Maybe it is a text asking if you have butter, diapers or wipes. Or a phone call asking for some sugar, rice and flour. Do you willingly offer to share some of your supplies? Or are you that neighbor who immediately blurts out, “NO! I don’t.”

Last night, before the entire state of California was in a “shelter in place” order, we decided to try and find some basics at the grocery store. Lo and behold, there still wasn’t toilet paper, and there were several aisles that were stripped of their contents. No soup to speak of. Very few bottles of “tomato” sauce, unless you count butternut squash sauce as an equivalent – and for about $10 a bottle. Bread, not much of that. Milk – very little whole milk, and few gallons of milk (of any kind) available. We got what we could and were extremely thankful. Our checker let us know that the last couple of deliveries received were 50% of normal. As soon as they stock the grocery store, supplies run low – or out – in a matter of minutes or hours.

This is our new normal. It isn’t comfortable, and yes, I’m scared and it is surreal.


Get 20% Off purchases of $150 and more

Just Use Promo Code: GOCWPUB20

at checkout

You have Successfully Subscribed!