Expert says grocery store supply shortage is temporary

Shoppers have left some grocery store shelves empty amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Store shelves are empty across the country. Items like toilet paper and soap are hard to find. But there is some good news if you are in need of supplies: experts say the shortage is temporary.

Call it the “Toilet Paper Tirade” or the “Stark Sanitizer Situation.” Whatever you call it, we’ve all been seeing it for weeks.

“I went in the store and it was absolutely nothing,” said shopper Christina James.

“The most wiped out I’ve ever seen it in the last two weeks at least,” said shopper James Rankin.

Panic buying is happening at grocery stores across the country amid the coronavirus outbreak as folks stock up for quarantine and self-isolation periods.

University of Central Florida marketing professor Dr. Axel Stock is an expert in supply chains. He says panic buying is a vicious cycle. “As you observe in the media that there are more and more confirmed cases, you increase the chance in your mind that you’re actually getting it as well,” said Dr. Stock.

That’s why people keep going to the stores and buying more. Everyone keeps following everyone else. “You think that others have more information than you do and you just engage in the same kind of behavior.”

Dr. Stock says the good news is that, at least for toilet paper, it’s produced here in the United States. “They racked up production and the shortage is basically anticipated to be temporary.”

He says there would only be a long-term shortage if enough people became sick with coronavirus to shut down or stop production. But he says that’s a long way off and anticipates items to be better stocked in a few weeks.

Thank goodness because some folks need it.

“Toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizers, alcohol, whatnot.”

Dr. Stock says the best time to shop at the grocery store is early in the morning right after the store has been re-stocked and when there are fewer crowds and less likelihood of spreading the virus.