By Nicole Panzo
What is the new normal for us? Is it staying at home, or is it putting our health at risk to go out and buy our needs during this lockdown?
As the coronavirus continues to spread globally, people are again concerned about lockdowns. In reaction to this, many have sacrificed their mental health at home and started to panic buy food, cleaning materials, and medical supplies.
Aside from vaccine rollouts, panic buying is one of the top news reports of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the government announced the lockdown in NCR and other provinces, many families in the affected areas started purchasing groceries in bulk. These included alcohol, toiletries, protective equipment, food, and other supplies from the market. People rush to supermarkets preparing for a lockdown.
The new normal we’re forced to live in has brought disruption to our behavior as customers. Now, we can’t help but fear that we will run out of specific products or goods, making us buy items in large quantities. This is true not only in the Philippines but around the world. People are quickly going to their local supermarkets to stock up on foods and household items—but should you?
Here are some tips for planning your shopping and avoiding panic buying:
Be smart. Plan your shopping trips well. Shopping for goods is considered an essential service, but panic buying or hoarding is not necessary. Take a look at what you already have in your pantry for you to know what you need and what you don’t need. Most people irrational buy more than they need. But in these times, always remember to shop smart to avoid product or food waste.
2. Make a shopping list
First things first! Make yourself a shopping list and stick to it. Not only will this save you time, but also money. Get started by listing down the essentials that you need to stock up. You may also list their alternatives if ever you find an item out of stock. Having a list is very important but is often overlooked. But a simple note-taking app with all your essential items could save you so much energy at the grocery.
3. Avoid over-purchasing
The goal is to be prepared and buy essential items only. Commit to your list when shopping. This will help you avoid impulse buying and unnecessary roaming around the supermarket.
4. Stock up on essentials
When we say essential supplies, it is a weeks’ worth of basic goods. Prioritize these on your list to keep you well-fed for a few weeks or months. Focus on food that doesn’t go bad in few days. Make frequent shopping trips to the market every few weeks or months than doing a bulk shopping trip once. This way, you leave supplies for other families to buy, and you don’t waste expired food.
Panic buying can have adverse effects on the market. Assess what you have, plan your meals, and take some time to control your portion. Avoid food waste, consume good food, and stay hydrated. It’s essential to resist the urge to hoard supplies.
Supermarkets in critical areas have already implemented rules on the quantity that can be purchased per person. To ensure enough of the supply of necessities and some essential medical supplies in the market, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has set these limits on the sale of all items.
Below is a guide to knowing what you need and what you don’t need in your shopping list during this pandemic to avoid over-purchasing supplies from the market.
Essential shopping items when shopping during a lockdown:
Canned items are great to have around. Canned goods have a longer shelf life. It’s best to stock up canned goods to be prepared in case of emergencies. Do not fill your freezer with lots of frozen foods. Unlike canned items, frozen foods don’t last forever, and you don’t want to be wasteful.
Don’t hoard protective equipment such as face masks and sanitizers. If there is an apparent lack of supply, make sure you only shop for what you need. That means you take what’s enough for you and your family.
Everyone should have a first aid kit at their home. Now is an excellent time to make sure that drugs are in the list of your shopping list. Make sure your kit includes a thermometer, multivitamins, cough medicine, allergy medicines. Make sure you also have the basic medications for common illnesses, especially during the rainy season.
Always remember that thoughts are not facts. Before you panic, always think first and allow rationality to guide you. First, ask yourself what evidence you are using to prove that all your fearful thoughts are true?
Listen more and see reliable sources to offer you accurate information. Check every circulating news or image if they are from reliable sources. They may have been used to spread panic buying on social media. It is essential to keep updated with correct information. Believing in wrong information is what often starts panic.
Stay at home all the time unless you need to leave for essential items. It is a good idea to check out your local option for your shopping delivery to avoid going out of your house.
Wear a face mask and face shield when you are outside shopping. Avoid groups of people.
In times of uncertainty, we often act on an impulse to keep ourselves safe. But in this time of a pandemic, we need to think of safety as a community effort. You can do your part in helping your community by avoiding panic buying. If we only buy what we need, there is enough for everyone.
Shopping can be stressful at the best of times, what more now that we are currently experiencing this COVID19 pandemic, for the people affected during the lockdown, it’s even more challenging to shop. Fortunately, there are house and lots near commercial establishments like Camella’s master-planned communities. Here, homeowners can conveniently plan and shop their needs to avoid panic buying.