As I went to the supermarket, to buy groceries and stuff for that month, I found it difficult for me to stop myself from buying that extra packet of Maggie. I have gone at normal times to the supermarket and have come back with one pack of Maggie. I never felt the need to pick up another packet. But now, during this pandemic, things have changed considerably. I guess you might also have faced a similar situation. The term given to this is Panic Buying.
Dictionaries say that Panic Buying is the action of buying and stocking up of a certain commodity due to the fear of forthcoming shortage or price rise.
So what reasons do we have for Panic Buying?
Fear of Uncertainty.
The fear of uncertainty is one of the major factors for panic buying.
What happens during situations of pandemic or a flood?
When emergency situations like this ongoing pandemic occurs, people fear that the essential commodities may become unavailable or might cost more as a result of lesser stock. The uncertainty of a commodity’s availability or the uncertainty of price of that commodity triggers a fear in the minds of us, “the commoners”.
This fear in turn triggers the panic buying of those essential commodities.
Fear of Panic Buying.
Believe it or not, this is a perfect reason for all the panic buyers.
Imagine this. You are sitting in your home and watching the news. The news announces the government’s order that only two persons can be permitted in a shop at once and also that the shops can function only for a certain period of time as dictated by the government.
Do you know what will happen when you go for shopping next time?
When you go for shopping the next day, this news that you heard the day before will affect you. The first thing you think would be, “If I buy only one today, and in the coming days if the others ”panic buy” these things, there will not be any more of this commodity when I require it. So I should buy two or three of this just to be safe”.
Fear of hoarding.
This fear is quite a good reason for panic buying.
The usual mentality of us will be, “What would happen in the coming days, If someone hoards these commodities? , What will I do if someone hoards all the essentials and then sell them at very high prices? I won’t be able to afford to buy them at that high price. Let me just buy more of it just in case”
Does this seem like something that you have experienced?
This is quite a rational fear. This fear drives us to panic buying of the essentials.
Fear of the situation itself.
As a normal human being, the desire to have control over our lives is what drives us. Sometimes it is also normal to expect some control over our lives. This control leads us to different places. Places which we thought we do not like. But that is what life is.
When a pandemic situation arises, What do you think you lose?
The first thing we lose is, the control we had on our lives over the years. Suddenly, we are not able to go out of our house. We need to wear a mask. We need to sanitize ourselves regularly. We are not able to go to the vacation. All these, just to be safe. We sort of lose all the control which we thought we had.
When we lose the control over our life, we start to fear that “this situation will never allow me to take control of my life anymore” , that we will always be controlled by some virus, that has no vaccine yet.
So we want something to go as per our control. And that is where panic buying comes in. We start to think, “When I buy more of these, I won’t be needing it for the coming months. That way, I can be prepared for this situation.”
Even experts say that, this kind of Panic Buying helps the people to feel in control of this situation.
Now that we know why we panic buy, we need to know, how we stop ourself from this Panic Buying.
- Pause for a moment before buying more quantities of that commodity, and ask yourself, If you are buying this because you need it, or because you want to feel in control of the situation.
- When buying something, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Think what would happen to him or her, when they need to buy something, but it is not available anymore, because you stockpiled it. Think for the society rather than just yourself.
- Seek medical help. The fears that you get are a part of your anxiety. Talk with others about how this situation has affected you. Talking is the best way to get out of stress. Relieve your stress. Anxiety has to be acknowledged and you have to manage it so that no one else is affected by your anxiety.
- There can never be a good argument against your “fear of hoarding”. But if you want to get out of this rational fear, then again talk to someone. Always remember that for every selfish person in this world, there are hundreds of selfless persons in the world, who will help you in the times of distress.
Remember that this same world has been affected by many events, and we have risen from from those events much better. A number of persons have died because of small pox, the plague and many other such diseases. But humanity has always found ways to cure the diseases and have found vaccines for a lot of diseases. So we need to remain optimistic till we get out of this situation.
In this situation, we need to take care of our mental health. We do have a good amount of topics covered on mental health in our well being page. Please take a look at them too. Please take care of your mental health.
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