With the invisible threat of COVID-19 upon the world, it is quite fascinating that a common response within the population has been to run out and panic buy things that are not immediately needed. When the news hit that we could be confined in our homes for upwards of a month or two, industrial-sized packages of toilet paper rolled out of stores everywhere. This irrational behavior was brought about by fear, which in turn, seemed to bring out anger among some seeking paper products thought to be in short supply.
Deemed an essential business, the wine and spirits industry has also seen an upswing in panic buying amid consumers. While I have not seen any fighting for coveted bottles of Chianti, I have observed customers loading up on cases of wine, “just in case”. The unpredictability of current events is definitely making people more stressed and fearful. A frequent worry amongst my customers is being homebound with family without something to imbibe. Quite honestly, I usually hear this same distress when a weekend snowstorm is in the forecast. I can only imagine what the possibility of a month or two of quarantine, without an end in sight, could do to a parent or spouse; wine does seem to be the perfect elixir. Having said that, I will leave the toilet paper anomaly to the professionals to figure out.
For the most part, people have been very appreciative that we are open for business and remain essential; we have cut our hours and have limited customer contact, with shipping and curbside pickups on the rise. To my amazement, there are a small number of shoppers that act as if they have just woken up from a coma and it is business as usual in their world. For those of us that are out there servicing the public, I feel the warm glow of being essential is slowly dimming as this continues on.
I know we, who are working in customer service, are not in the thick of it with doctors, nurses, and emergency workers; I wouldn’t want to be. However, just remember that each day we too are taking chances, venturing out there to assist the community. While it is our pleasure to do so, I just ask that you be extra kind to the people delivering packages, mail and food to your homebound selves. Be a little more patient waiting for your curbside order and in line at the stores. And for the love of God, do not show up two minutes before closing time to browse the store and shop, while you have been sitting home all day long and we have been working a full day.
Stay safe and as always