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Who would have imagined that a lowly toilet paper will rock the headlines of 2020. The year 2020 was supposed to be the “Future” and if this is the future then perhaps we have learned nothing from the past. Hong Kong reported armed robbery of toilet paper on 17 Feb and meanwhile in Australia, there was a brawl over toilet paper which went viral.

Shelves in Hong Kong

Earlier I wrote on the four fundamental forces that drive human behavior. Seems like fear is gripping the world right now with the rise of CoronaVirus Outbreak with the world paying too high a price for a plate of exotic meat.

In today’s world of global connectivity, the virus is quickly spreading its fangs. As per the latest count the number of affected stands at 146,368 and counting…..

Meanwhile, a wave of panic buying and hoarding has swept the globe. When Singapore raised the Dorscon level to Orange from yellow on 7 Feb the shelves looked the pictures below – Toilet papers, wine and condoms were the first to be swept away. Rice and noodles were also in low supply.

Supermarkets in Singapore after Dorscon was changed from yellow to orange
Photo Credit:

Fast forward a month, the Western world is now grappling with the same panic with the US declaring state of emergency on 14 Mar and WHO declaring Corona Virus a pandemic on Mar 11.

Shelves in an upscale US Supermarket in Birmingham, Alabama

Panic like this is the exact reason why we won’t get essentials and medicine when needed – everyone will start hoarding, disrupting normal supply. The modern supply chain is extremely efficient – the shop stores keep only enough goods to meet the usual daily demand. This is called Just-in-Time approach. If people start hoarding 2-3 months of supply instead of the usual weekly stock, the system will go in a shock. After the initial few people have swept the stores, the ones coming later will find shelves empty. This will lead to further panic. These people, in turn, seeing empty shelves will start hoarding themselves as soon as the next supply comes in. there are two ways to looks at one’s life and life situations – Hole Mindset and Whole Mindset

Hoarding will only come to bite us back as it only escalates unnecessary panic. This is a global problem. There is no mine. There is no others. We are all in it together. The sooner we realize this, the better for humanity.

What to do – The Ten Commandments

  1. Stay calm
  2. Do not spread panic
  3. Wear a mask so as not to spread virus to others
  4. Do not hoard food items
  5. Do not attend large gatherings
  6. Avoid body contacts with others (such as handshake)
  7. Do not touch your face
  8. Wash hands often
  9. Sleep enough to boost the body’s natural immune system
  10. And lastly, do not hoard masks and medicine

Every time that you take that extra toilet roll or a mask that you don’t need, remember the world has enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed – someone who is sick needs that masks more than you do! 

Coronavirus Part 1: Need vs Greed

Coronavirus Part 2: Are we the virus?

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Aishwarya Nair
Aishwarya Nair
March 15, 2020 2:55 pm

Rs. 100 masks sold in India for Rs. 600. I saw a lady purchasing 10 bottles of sanitizers, leaving the entire section in the pharmacy empty.

March 29, 2020 11:44 am

[…] Coronavirus Part 1: Need vs Greed […]