Stores across the country face depleted shelves as thousands of shoppers lined up outside supermarkets and grocery stores to buy essentials in preparation for coronavirus disruptions.
Alexis Coppol, a Washington D.C. resident shopping at Costco told interviewers, “It’s crazy. People have gone crazy. I mean, I’m not too worried, but if we get put on a lockdown I want to make sure I have food.”
Americans have been stockpiling goods for days, but the severity of the widely spreading coronavirus started to sink in only after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday.
This resulted to shoppers rushing to stock up on supplies to prepare themselves for long periods of isolation, which puts a strain on the distribution of consumer goods nationwide.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said at a White House press conference, “Hand sanitizer is going to be very difficult to have 100 percent on stock on for some time.”
“We’re still replenishing it and shipping it, but as soon as it hits the stores, it’s going,” he added.
McMillon assured that “All the retailers have been working hand-in-hand with the suppliers to bring that to the markets as fast as we can.”
Stores are directing supplies to areas that needs it most, and started applying or giving store managers authority to set limits on the number of individual items a consumer can buy in a single trip.
A Costco spokesperson told interviewers, “As always, our focus is to have merchandise available for our members at low warehouse prices.”
Target issued a statement stating their team is “working around the clock to make sure that the products you want are available when you need them. As demand for cleaning products, medicine, pantry stock-up items and more remains high, we’re sending more products to our stores as quickly as possible.”
Ananth Iyer, a professor of operations management at Purdue University pointed out, “The real reason for things running out is this ‘run.”
“They believe they need more of it and are not sure if it will be available when they want it. Retailers, given demand, will find a way to generate supply.”