More Thoughts about Supermarket Hoarding during the Coronavirus Crisis 

The Los Angeles riots caused fear, destruction and kept people in their homes.
Photo: Encyclopedia Britannica

We moved to West Los Angeles in January 1992 with a newborn baby girl. Three months later the riots erupted and went on for almost a week.

People were worried about going out of their homes, stores were closed. According to CNN, more than 1,000 buildings were damaged in the Los Angeles area and the cost of the damages was more than $1 billion. Fifty people were killed and 2,000 injured.

This was before Netflex and other streaming services: people still rented videos. After three nights of nonstop “riot” news on television and radio, I couldn’t take it anymore and I sent my husband to a video store on empty streets to get a movie. We were out of luck, all that was left was an exercise video.

The current run on toilet paper and other “necessary supplies,” with hundreds of frantic shoppers lined up in grocery stores, made me think of the riots.

Now that schools have cancelled classes, high school, college and professional sports are cancelled and many businesses are requiring people to work from home, will we succumb to “cabin fever?” Or as long as we’re tethered to the internet and social media, maybe we really don’t ever need to leave again.

The social panic of people rushing to the supermarket is almost scarier than the virus or the prospect of catching it. “Every man/woman for himself!” seems to be the mantra.

There’s an interesting website ( that allows you to click on a country and see the number of cases of coronavirus.

For example, in China, Active Cases are listed as 13,386. Of those cases, those considered mild are 9,466 and those in serious or critical are 4,020. Of the 67,329 Closed Cases, those who recovered are 64,152, and there were 3,177 deaths.

In the United States, Active Cases are listed as 3,611; of those, mild cases are listed at 3,601 and 10 are considered serious or critical. Of the 141 Closed cases, 73 people recovered and there were 68 deaths.

On March 14, the website said there were 696 new cases reported in the U.S. on that day.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the website, but it does give a different perspective that for most people the coronavirus isn’t a death sentence. The people most at risk are those over age 60 or with compromised immune systems.

On Sunday evening, there was still some toilet paper available at Gelson’s.

What I don’t understand is the nastiness of people during this time when we should all be coming together. As a woman wrote on Nextdoor Palisades:

“Over at Gelson’s, lots of folks with overflowing carts (of, yes, toilet paper, among other things). Rows and rows of empty shelves. We finished our shopping and wheeled over to the checkout. I was in a line, standing slightly back, trying not to block the way for others.”

“A woman, late-50s or early 60s, with blonde hair, swooped in front of me, I told her kindly that I was in that line. ‘I didn’t see you standing in the line,’ she said.

“‘That’s because I was trying not to block anyone’s way,” I said.

“‘Well, you weren’t in line,’ she said, essentially dismissing us by looking away, clearly not going to budge. My husband tried to explain to her that we were standing a bit back because we were trying to be courteous.

“To no avail. At this point, it was clear we would have to move to another line. Which, folks, was not the end of the world. Here’s what happened next. She looked me up and down in disdain and then turned to my husband and said: ‘You must be new Palisadians.'”

“Yes, it was rude, and it was unnecessary, especially given that she cut us off. But here’s the worst part: since my husband and I are both people of color, we heard it at best as incivility and at worst as barely veiled racism. And in fact, we are third generation Palisadians. Not that it matters or should matter. No one deserves to be treated as ‘other’ or less than.”

People, we all are more similar through DNA and biology than many would believe. No one person is superior because of physical or mental abilities or through possessions.

The one thing that separates us from another person is the soul, the heart. Please treat others with kindness, politeness, an elegance of manners. Let your souls connect with humanness.

Years ago, while I tried to puzzle out why our newest rescue dog sometimes barked and lunged at people and other times went up to different people for a pet, my son said, “Dogs see souls.”

Let us be people who see souls, not only during this current crisis, but daily.

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3 Responses to More Thoughts about Supermarket Hoarding during the Coronavirus Crisis 

  1. Jackie Clark Mancuso says:

    I’m new to Circling the News. Thank you Sue.
    Dogs have souls.

  2. Deb Hydon says:

    Wow, what disgusting behavior. Embarrassing.

  3. Bronwen Sennish says:

    Thanks for the suggestion that we recognize the service that grocery workers are providing in this crisis. They are a wonderful part of our community. Don’t be so overcome with fear that you can’t offer a word of thanks and encouragement to whomever is helping you!

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