Herd Mentality Causes Unneeded Panic

Covid-19 has caused many products to become hard to find


Betsy Fries

Empty shelves like these at Jerrys have become commonplace.

Ben Lim, Staff Writer

     Picture this, you walk into Target. You go to pick out your favorite toilet paper… Charmin Ultra Soft. You’re looking for the Charmin Ultra Soft Mega Roll since not only do you get more paper, but it’s, “2x more absorbent so you can use less than the leading bargain brand” (as advertised). To your dismay, Target is all out of Ultra Soft. No matter, you can get the other stuff, its not as good but it’ll work. Unfortunately Target is also out of other Charmin toilet paper. In fact Target has no toilet paper left. How could this happen you wonder. Why would anyone buy out all of Target’s toilet paper?

     But, it’s not just the toilet paper that’s gone, it’s everything else: cleaning supplies, canned goods, frozen goods, cereal, even the weird stuff like twinkies. The reason why its all gone is because of herd mentality and panic buying over Covid-19.

     Wikipedia defines herd mentality as people basing their reactions and opinions on others rather than forming their own. Better known as the target for many political speeches given by seniors. Herd mentality plays a factor in panic buying because it perpetuates the cycle. For example, if you see someone buying a lot of fruit snacks you might think, “Hey I want some fruit snacks too. I better buy a bunch so that I can get a lot before someone else takes all of them.”

     While it seems like a good idea at first, if you step back, you’ll realize that this is possibly the worst thing you could do (besides buying Motts). By buying a large amount of supplies other people will have the same thoughts about needing to buy a lot. This creates a cycle of people buying more than they need and increasing panic buying. This cycle continues across the nation and stores start running out of supplies for people. That is when problems start occuring because some people might not be able to get supplies.

     Companies have combated panic buying by putting limits on the amount of items people can buy. Costco has put a two unit per day limit on products, and Walgreens limits customers to only 4 of an item a day. Walmart is working to direct more products towards areas that need products more than others.  It is going to take more than companies limiting how much you can buy to slow panic buying.  It will also take customers making the active decision to only buy as much as they need and then there will be enough for everyone to buy the essentials. So remember the next time you’re looking for Charmin Ultra Soft, maybe only buy one or two packages.