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There's plenty of toilet paper - so why are people hoarding it?

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.

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There's plenty of toilet paper - so why are people hoarding it?

There's plenty of toilet paper - so why are people hoarding it?

https://theconversation.com/theres-plenty-of-toilet-paper-so-why-are-people-hoarding-it-133300

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

The obsession with toilet paper

While fighting the new virus, people seem to have got obsessed with toilet paper. However, hoarding toilet paper is nothing new. In 1973 and in 2013 the USA and Venezuela had already gone through similar situations, due to rumors spreading and a drop in production.

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.

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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.

...
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.

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"The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which..."

Epictetus
How to respond

We can’t control the existence of the new virus but we can control how we respond.

  • Practice social distancing as much as possible.
  • Cancel or postpone any events that you have planned, or make them remote.
  • Practice safety measures, like washing your hands.
  • Help others in more vulnerable situations.
  • Hold off on visiting elderly friends or family members.
  • Don’t hoard.
  • Don’t tie up medical resources you don’t need.
  • Use your time wisely. Try a new hobby, or read up on something that interests you.
  • Batch your online orders to reduce the need for inefficient shipments.
  • Don’t spread misinformation.
  • If you get sick, isolate yourself at home as long as symptoms remain moderate.
  • Cherish the people you love.
Anxiety encourages us to shop
Anxiety encourages us to shop

Throughout time research has proven that shopping enables individuals to relax and forget about their worries. 

Anxiety is one of the most often met reasons that make people choose shopp...

Anxiety and panic buying

Feeling anxious can lead to quite harmful behaviors, as one tends to always choose the safe path. 

For instance, when stressed over a certain situation directly related to goods, you might feel the need to buy too many products, a fact which, over time, will result in others not having what to buy or you having bought too much and wasting the very products you bought.

Anxiety and the need to buy luxury goods

When faced with difficult periods, like the pandemic we are all dealing with at present, individuals seem to tend to associate luxury goods to a greater safety level. 

Furthermore, research has shown that people believe to be able to distance themselves from danger only by purchasing luxurious and expensive products.

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Human Behaviour During Crises

Human beings may seem selfish and illogical during times of crisis, but there is evidence that disasters and crises bring out the best in us.

There are reports and sightings of people from d...

Old Assumptions About Human Behaviour

Studying the natural disasters of the past, sociologists agree that while news reports lean towards the negative, a vast majority of people, good samaritans, doctors, nurses, government servants stay calm and help to the best of their abilities. While there can be panic and fear, caring for the other becomes common.

Economists and politicians often have views based on logical projection and past data, but human beings are an evolving race, and many assumptions now need to be overhauled.

Bad Times Are Good

A crisis helps draw awareness towards our fellow human beings, with our starting to embrace dependency, community, and solidarity, something not visible in normal circumstances.

Though we have to keep a physical distance in these strange times, we embrace each other more warmly.

Humor during a crisis

For ancient Greek philosophers, humor was something that had the potential to undermine authority and the good order.

Today, in democratic societies, those in power are mocked and their p...

The power of laughter
  • Humor, in a way, protects us from life's grim reality. We joke because if we didn't, we'd cry.
  • Humor and laughing are also a social vocalization that includes some and excludes others. Jokes establish who is inside the group and who is not. We laugh with people to belong, and at others to exclude.
  • In our current crises, humor is everywhere because fear is too. Laughter binds us together against a common enemy.
When to joke

Poking fun at the ills of the world is only funny if they are considered benign. No one is making memes about child abuse that may increase during periods of enforced domestic isolation.

Observations about people's behavior can be funny if they poke fun at a social norm in a relatively inoffensive way, such as hoarding toilet paper.

Buying endless stuff

Before the internet, we had to set time aside to walk and browse a physical store, which was only open for a certain number of hours.

Now, it has become effortless to buy things online from a...

Dopamine and online shopping

According to research, we get a dopamine surge from buying stuff that causes us to want more and more.

Delayed gratification when the order arrives a few days later also makes is more physiologically rewarding than shopping in stores.

Online shopping 

Some online shops have made it especially easy to shop with a one-click buying process. Most major retailers offer free shipping, and only one in ten consumers return stuff they've bought online.

Americans are also taking up more space with all the stuff they are amassing. Self-storage units are rapidly increasing too.

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Paper Money

The instruments of trade and finance, like paper money, are groundbreaking inventions, put to use by collective acceptance using authority and seals of trust.

Money's Worth

The financial crisis of 2008 showed that the system can buckle anytime and money may not always be worth the same.

As we get hyper-connected, the state-backed authority of currency, and what Money is really worth, is being rethought. Society has historically tried to invent new forms of currency, most recent being Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency.

The Idea of Libra Currency

The idea of Facebook's Libra, an attempt to create a new currency made from the architecture that powers Bitcoin, is that the value of new money is not derived from state authority, but a combination of mathematics, global connectivity, and trust that resides in people using Facebook.

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How you can invest in yourself
How you can invest in yourself

The foundation for every personal pursuit in life is to invest in yourself. It can take years. How you can do it:

  • Learn to build something. If you can create something valuable w...
Income generation

Once you have ideas, you want to put your ideas to work. If you do that, you can start creating value. When we create value, we generate income.

During the pandemic for example, most restaurant owners had to focus on other ideas to generate income. Building wealth is not easy. We need a constant supply of ideas.

Asset investing

It is anything that will increase your wealth without personal labor.

  • Businesses. This is a broad asset class. You can buy dividend-stocks on the market, and then the companies will pay you a share of the profit. You can start your own business. You can buy into other private businesses.
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  • Books. A good book will generate cash for a long time.

Assets that don't generate cash, but might increase in value.

  • Land. A piece of land generates cash when you rent or lease it.
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Hoarding
Hoarding

Severe hoarding afflicts about one in every fifty people.

Their compulsion causes the hoarders to suffer mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. Relationships ...

Hoarding is a type of OCD

Hoarding is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Hoarding is accompanied by varying levels of anxiety and often, depression as well. Peculiar commonalities among hoarders include severe emotional attachment to inanimate objects and extreme anxiety when making decisions.

Symptoms of a hoarding disorder

Hoarding can be just a personal preference, but it can be viewed as a disorder when that behavior starts to negatively impact daily functioning. Symptoms of a hoarding disorder:

  • There is difficulty getting rid of possessions, regardless of their value or lack thereof.
  • The difficulty in discarding possessions is due to distress associated with getting rid of them.
  • The difficulty in discarding possessions leads to clutter and compromise of living spaces.
  • Hoarding creates clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning, including the ability to maintain a safe space.

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The First Electric Metro Trains
The First Electric Metro Trains

Electric metro trains first became operational in London back in 1890, as a part underground and part overground network.

Called the London Underground, this is a 402 km network with 270 s...

Budapest Metro
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The Glasgow Subway
  • The same year when the Budapest Metro opened(1896), Scotland inaugurated the world’s third oldest metro system.
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  • The subway network has seen a number of upgrades and makeovers including extensive modernization of all the stations and replacement of trains and ramps.

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