Sunday 9th of August 2020

we were the best panic buyers...


Australia outperformed the world dealing with the coronavirus pandemic - and the nation's consumers out-shopped their international counterparts when it came to panic buying.

New research by two University of New South Wales academics into coronavirus-related panic shopping shows that Australian consumers were the quickest in the world to raid supermarket aisles in search of toilet paper and canned soup.

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Now is not the time to become complacent and drop our guard about the coronavirus as the pandemic is still growing globally, World Health Organization officials have warned.

Despite some improvements in infection rates in Europe, the global Covid-19 situation is “worsening” yet again, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday during an online press briefing. Sunday, June 7, had most reported cases in a single day so far of the outbreak, he added.

According to Tedros, active surveillance and contact tracing are still essential to ensure the virus doesn’t rebound. “More than six months into the pandemic this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” he warned.


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Now that the REAL stats are in, that is to say that "oldies", and those with "pre-conditions of morbidity" (what an awful word), were the most affected by the virus, most countries have "taken their foot off the pedal" — except on international travel. 


New South Wales has not had a new case of infection for 14 days and the anti-racist protests around the world have not added to the tally of deaths, apart from those in Chicago and elsewhere due to the violence. But WHO needs to justify its existence by warning about a second wave of infections. So what? Most of the people who were susceptible to the virus have gone to better pasture (condolences to the families) and we are careful enough as not to become part of the next "second wave" statistics. 


And while panic buying made Australian retail get its best figures in March, it has gone south since considering that online shopping has become a way of life and the panic has passed... This also shows Aussies were lucky to have had enough cash (or credit left on their plastics) to buy something. Oh and talking about cash:



No government announcement can be taken at face value, but there are some federal ministers whose every word and deed should be approached with an especially high degree of caution – the journalist’s equivalent of personal protective equipment. Think of Angus Taylor, for example. Think of Stuart Robert. And think of Michaelia Cash, who simply should not be entrusted with a portfolio after she misled parliament five times over her office tipping off the media about a raid on the Australian Workers’ Union offices by the federal police. Then there was her prosecution of one of the most execrable scare campaigns ever devised during the last election, when she warned that a Labor policy to encourage electric vehicles was somehow a war on utes, tradies and weekends generally. Unfortunately for tradespeople everywhere, however, Cash remains minister for skills. 


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number of toilet rolls defined someone’s personality...


People who were organised, and felt more affected by the perceived threat of the coronavirus pandemic, tended to be the biggest hoarders.

In fact, it is a means to partly determine someone’s personality.

“Partly, this effect was based on the personality factor of emotionality—people who generally tend to worry a lot and feel anxious are more likely to feel threatened and stockpile toilet paper,” the researchers wrote.

“Other observations were that older people stockpiled more toilet paper than younger people and that Americans stockpiled more than Europeans.”

But the researchers admit their research is far from complete.

“Subjective threat of COVID-19 seems to be an important trigger for toilet paper stockpiling. However, we are still far away from understanding this phenomenon comprehensively,” they wrote.

In Australia, on March 2 we began buying toilet paper like never before, baffling supermarket workers, retail industry insiders and the global population. It was a demand which was instantaneous and unpredicted.

It led to brawls, with one mother-daughter duo in New South Wales being charged with affray after an alleged violent confrontation caught on video over a packet of Quilton went on to become a viral sensation seen around the world.

Meanwhile, one would-be profiteer tried to return more than 150 packs of toilet paper for a refund once the hysteria subsided.


It didn’t go well.



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living within one's means...

still leading in the toilet paper sweepstakes...

Excess buying of toilet paper has become a leading indicator of public alarm about COVID-19. This week in Victoria, people were heading for the shelves again.

Just when Australians' march out of our dark months was accelerating, Victorian numbers of new cases started ticking up. The State Government reimposed some restrictions and declared dangerous hotspots.

Daniel Andrews asked the military to help on both the logistical and medical fronts. Other states were ready to assist. More negatively, the Berejiklian Government, which has been insisting Queensland should lift its border restrictions, suddenly wasn't too keen on traffic across the open NSW-Victorian border.

"Please reassess where you're going in the next few weeks," Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday. "If you have a planned trip to Melbourne, please don't go. Please do not welcome your friends, who may be intending to visit from Victoria, in the next few weeks, into your home."

Australia remains balkanised.


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the hunt for toilet rolls is back on...

Australia’s major supermarkets have reinstated nationwide limits on toilet paper and paper towels following a surge in demand linked to the coronavirus.

The move comes two days after Coles and Woolworths imposed purchase limits on toilet paper and other essential groceries in Victoria, after an escalating spike in new coronavirus cases there led to a re-emergence of the panic buying seen in the early days of the pandemic.

With the state reporting its 10th day of double-digit coronavirus infections on Friday, the retail giants expanded some limits to the rest of the country.

The decision means shoppers across Australia are again restricted to buying just two packs of toilet paper and paper towels at Woolworths – and only one at Coles.

“We’ve regrettably started to see elevated demand for toilet roll move outside Victoria in the past 24 hours,” Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Claire Peters said.

“While the demand is not at the same level as Victoria, we’re taking preventative action now to get ahead of any excessive buying this weekend and help maintain social distancing in our stores.”


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unable to fulfil orders fo rolls...

When toilet paper was flying off the supermarket shelves around Australia in March, subscription companies like No Issues and Who Gives a Crap saw their orders skyrocket.

Key points:

  • Toilet paper subscription companies like No Issues and Who Gives a Crap saw a roughly 50-fold increase in orders
  • Consumer demand has been so high that these companies have been unable to keep up with orders, causing long delays
  • Complaints to regulators have increased and many customers have sought refunds

Sydney-based business No Issues went from being one that received a couple of hundred online orders for its product in the year ending 2019, to 10,000 orders between late March and early April.

That's about a 50-fold increase in a matter of weeks.

Fulfilling those orders proved difficult for the company and some customers remain without the supplies they ordered more than four months ago.

"I have not received anything yet," Kellie Skinner from Queensland's Sunshine Coast told ABC News.


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