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The psychology of panic buying

Panic Buying

Panic Buying

The world is seeing panic buying in supermarkets, with items like toilet paper, milk, soda, hand sanitizers, etc. flying off the shelves, especially in places with confirmed cases of the virus.

Panic buying is a psychological mechanism fueled by anxiety along with a herd mentality. People hoard stuff in panic, due to fear of the unknown, according to experts.


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The psychology of panic buying

The psychology of panic buying

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200304-coronavirus-covid-19-update-why-people-are-stockpiling

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Panic Buying

The world is seeing panic buying in supermarkets, with items like toilet paper, milk, soda, hand sanitizers, etc. flying off the shelves, especially in places with confirmed cases of the virus.

Panic buying is a psychological mechanism fueled by anxiety along with a herd mentality. People hoard stuff in panic, due to fear of the unknown, according to experts.


Downsides of Panic Buying

  • Panic buying makes people feel in charge of the situation, while seemingly mundane measures like hand-washing, which are actually impactful, seem ordinary.
  • The problem comes when people overbuy in their over-panicked state of mind (irrational stockpiling), making the shortages worse than they really are.
  • Speculators also take advantage of panic buying and raise prices of essential items like face masks, forcing companies to take appropriate measures.

Loss Aversion

..is a principle which makes people do things so that they don't feel regretful later. 

People are panic-buying for the same reason too, with social media and news media amplifying the sense of scarcity.

Fake News And Lack Of Trust

Experts point out that panic buying can be a result of a lack of trust in the government.

If public fears are not addressed on time, fake news can induce panic. Better preparedness at all times for possible emergencies can be a way to reduce this among the public.

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People's need to hoard toilet paper

Even though the US has been mass-producing toilet paper since the late 1800s, people still seem to have an issue with this very product and, therefore, buy it in huge quantities, especially during pandemic times.

This is known as 'zero risk bias' by risk experts and it describes a person's behavior when trying to eliminate a superficial risk entirely rather than just reducing a big risk, everything in order to feel safer.

Successfully dealing with shortages

While we are all facing the biggest challenge of our life, the 2020 pandemic, our behaviors are slowly starting to change. For instance, hoarding toilet paper is not something common, at least not in modern societies. Still, it is happening worldwide these days.

Among the most efficient ways to handle shortages of any kind, shops could introduce rationing certain products or even individuals could try and convince each other that there is no real need to hoard staff, such as toilet paper, as we are not talking about unlimited resources here.

Follow the Rules

This is the most important thing you can do t help health care providers and emergency workers: Stay home! And if you really need to get out,  maintain social distance.
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Help Procure The Needed P.P.E.

The virus has exposed all front-line workers to an extreme shortage of masks, gowns and similar protective equipment.

Some providers have taken the unprecedented step of begging on social media for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Repurpose a Hobby or Skill

  • If you like to sew, join the existent movement to make masks for hospital workers. Cloth masks don’t meet N95 safety standards, but providers may use them if they’re all they have available.
  • People with a 3-D printing hobby are also stepping up, turning out masks and face shields based on open-source designs.

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State Of Emergency

The ongoing pandemic is more than just a gigantic health crisis. The global economic order, for the first time in several decades, is on the path to an imminent restructuring.
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Resolve

The measures to stop the spread of the virus are well-known by now: staying home in lockdown, working from home as a default option, schools switching from physical classrooms to e-learning models.

Not every country has been able to make these choices fast, due to a combination of hesitation, inaction, and paralysis. Before any decision is made, the first thing to do is determine what needs to be done and at what pace and scale.

Resilience

As the current health crisis steamrolls into an economic crisis unparalleled for the last 100 years, the decline in economic activity is already at par with the great depression.

This crisis of global proportions requires resilience, both for near-term issues like liquidity and cash flow, as well as long-term issues like uncertainty, personal financial stress and recovering from multiple challenges that were already present and are now further complicated due to the pandemic.

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