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  • The Coronavirus Panic Thread

    So, if you've been watching the news lately, you may be aware that the world is on the edge of a coronavirus pandemic. IMO, the media is seriously overhyping things - the virus is more aggressive than the common cold or flu, but the overwhelming majority of people who contract it are going to be fine. Seniors and immunocompromised people are dying of it, which is terrible, but most people are going to be OK.

    However, this past weekend, it became known that the virus was circulating in This Particular Part of the Country, and the first deaths in this country linked to the virus occurred among several elderly patients at a nursing home. It's currently being speculated that the virus has been circulating in the wild here for at least a month. (It's entirely possible that I've already had it - I had a pretty nasty cold about three weeks ago that was worse than the ones I usually get, but not so bad that I felt like I had to miss work because of it.)

    As a result, our customers have been losing their shit. You'd think the Black Death was upon us or that we're living in the opening chapters of The Stand. People seem to think the stores are going to go full Venezuela and/or they're going to be barricaded in their houses for months.

    Since Thursday, we've been consistently beating our sales projections by ridiculous amounts. We were up almost $100,000 on Saturday. We've been sold out of hand sanitizer since then - the warehouse is limiting us to five cases per day, and we've been selling them within an hour or two of them getting stocked. We're having runs on Clorox wipes, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and anything else that could conceivably be used as a disinfectant. We're selling so much bottled water that our standard delivery of a literal truckload every two days is struggling to keep us stocked.

    Nonperishable food is flying too. We've sold out of everything from cans of corned beef hash, to 20 lb. bags of rice, to MREs, to ramen, to dehydrated vegetables. It's literally gotten to the point that, even though we have plenty of product on backstock, we haven't been able to restock it because we've had to put everyone in the checkstands to ring people up.

    I swear at this point that the panic is going to cause more damage than the disease itself. My co-workers and I have been joking about the madness to keep spirits up - my favorite sarcastic rejoinder at the moment is that if one more customer asks about hand sanitizer, I'm just going to start coughing in their face. (Not that I'd actually do that - it's just funny to imagine.)

    Anyone else out there having their job thrown into disarray because of the crisis?
    Last edited by Smapti; 03-25-2020, 12:50 PM.

  • #2
    Quoth Smapti View Post
    Since Thursday, we've been consistently beating our sales projections by ridiculous amounts. We were up almost $100,000 on Saturday. We've been sold out of hand sanitizer since then - the warehouse is limiting us to five cases per day, and we've been selling them within an hour or two of them getting stocked. We're having runs on Clorox wipes, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and anything else that could conceivably be used as a disinfectant. We're selling so much bottled water that our standard delivery of a literal truckload every two days is struggling to keep us stocked.
    Over here in the land Down Under, it's been toilet paper for some reason .
    I originally thought the news was exaggerating until I visited the local supermarket this afternoon to get some munchies before a training session and discovered that the entire toilet paper section of this particular supermarket (which wasn't too big to begin with) was cleaned out. Even the cheap, crappy (heh) 1-ply stuff.

    In terms of my work, while my hospital does NOT have an emergency department (Thank god) and we're a private hospital, I found out this morning that all of our duck-bill face masks have disappeared, as have our high-level TB masks. Apparently a few people have also nicked our hand sanitizers as well (they're just pump bottles on wall brackets) and people have been complaining as a result. So now the new stock is being kept under lock and key by our supply guys. I'm half tempted to ask if we can start getting those automatic dispensers that spray a mist onto your hands instead.

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    • #3
      Every other year it's the same fucking thing...some new virus is trending, and everyone goes into PANIC MODE!!!...for a month or two, then the news moves onto something else, and people stop washing their hands and sanitizing every surface like hypochondriacs.

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      • #4
        I waited too long to get hand sanitizer. Even Amazon is mostly "how about next month?"

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        • #5
          Yeah, I'm not sweating COVID-19. Just like I didn't sweat H1N1. Or the bird flu before that. Or any of the other perennial flu panics that come down the line. I'm blessed with a robust immune system, I don't tend to get sick often, or if I do, I'm only down for a day or so before I'm well again.

          Mom, bless her, is in paranoid mode about COVID-19, like she does. I understand why she would worry-- she tends to get any bug that comes down the line-- and she sent an email around to me and Sis, telling us to stock up on foodstuffs and all the rest.

          But me? Nah, I'll carry on doing as I do, coughing and sneezing into my sleeve and generally avoiding contact with sick people.
          PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

          There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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          • #6
            Not my job, as I've been out of retail over 30 years now, but apparently people are buying up dust masks. I was in Home Depot the other day, and that section was almost completely empty. There was also a sign saying that they were limiting sales of the masks to two per person.
            Sometimes life is altered.
            Break from the ropes your hands are tied.
            Uneasy with confrontation.
            Won't turn out right. Can't turn out right

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            • #7
              I haven't been to the store since Saturday and everything was normal then. But six deaths in my state since then may have changed that... There seem to be two major categories of reactions. There's "we're all going to die" and "calm down, it's serious but not the apocalypse." At work people are talking about it non stop. I only look at the CDC and state health site.

              Grocery shopping this weekend will be fun...
              Replace anger management with stupidity management.

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              • #8
                The world counter I'm keeping an eye on says the death rate is 6%...and it was something like 9% a week or so ago. Keeps going down.

                Really unless you have a compromised immune system in some way, or are very old, you're not likely to die from it. It'll just kick your ass like any other flu.
                My Guide to Oblivion

                "I resent the implication that I've gone mad, Sprocket."

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                • #9
                  I'm gonna echo something I saw elsewhere online:



                  If soap and sanitizer are selling out, how many of those buyers were not washing their hands regularly before this?!?
                  "For a musician, the SNES sound engine is like using Crayola Crayons. Nobuo Uematsu used Crayola Crayons to paint the Sistine Chapel." - Jeremy Jahns (re: "Dancing Mad")
                  "The difference between an amateur and a master is that the master has failed way more times." - JoCat
                  "Thinking is difficult, therefore let the herd pronounce judgment!" ~ Carl Jung
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                  • #10
                    Chaos Theory in 2020:

                    "A butterfly coughs in China, and public gatherings get cancelled worldwide."
                    PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

                    There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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                    • #11
                      Our shipments from Italy have been impacted...I suspect that USDA/Customs is delaying imports from certain regions/cities and there are some products that we just can't get at all (production may be affected by the quarantines). Stock has been flying out the door--mainly staples such as pasta, rice, canned tomatoes, etc. The front end has been fielding a few complaints of price gouging...hahaNO. It's not price gouging if we haven't raised our prices and "but it was on sale last week!" doesn't count. So far I've had five people at work try to steal my personal hand sanitizer and another department swiped a case of antibac surface wipes that our manager bought out-of-pocket. So many people wearing those paper surgical masks that don't work.

                      I indulged my twisted sense of humor yesterday...I'm one of those people that sneezes in bright sunlight for no reason. I was sitting on the train platform waiting for a friend and sneezed quietly into my arm (once, I had no runny nose or anything else). The bench I was sitting on and about three feet at each end cleared out.
                      "I am quite confident that I do exist."
                      "Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up." The Doctor

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                      • #12
                        Quoth LadyofArc View Post
                        Over here in the land Down Under, it's been toilet paper for some reason .
                        I originally thought the news was exaggerating until I visited the local supermarket this afternoon to get some munchies before a training session and discovered that the entire toilet paper section of this particular supermarket (which wasn't too big to begin with) was cleaned out. Even the cheap, crappy (heh) 1-ply stuff.
                        According to Sora News [used to be Rocket News] the reason for the panic [?] is that a rumor started going around that TP was effectively the same stuff used in masks ... and one could theoretically make masks out of TP. Yah, no.
                        Quoth MadMike View Post
                        Not my job, as I've been out of retail over 30 years now, but apparently people are buying up dust masks. I was in Home Depot the other day, and that section was almost completely empty. There was also a sign saying that they were limiting sales of the masks to two per person.
                        If I am that worried about it, I will go downstairs, break out my air pack and grab some anti-cs and deal.
                        EVE Online: 99% of the time you sit around waiting for something to happen, but that 1% of action is what hooks people like crack, you don't get interviewed by the BBC for a WoW raid.

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                        • #13
                          Quoth AccountingDrone View Post
                          According to Sora News [used to be Rocket News] the reason for the panic [?] is that a rumor started going around that TP was effectively the same stuff used in masks ... and one could theoretically make masks out of TP. Yah, no.
                          The Store hasn't been in any danger of running out of toilet paper. The local newspaper is reporting that some of our competitors have, though.

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                          • #14
                            8,200

                            Number of US deaths from influenza. Nobody is freaking their shit over that.
                            Life is too short to not eat popcorn.
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                            Toys for Tots at Rooster's Cafe

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                            • #15
                              I'm having trouble getting really worked up. Seems like every year there's some "OMG world's about to end" virus or other panic. I feel like I'm dealing with the boy who cried wolf.
                              "Crazy may always be open for business, but on the full moon, it has buy one get one free specials." - WishfulSpirit

                              "Sometimes customers remind me of zombies, but I'm pretty sure that zombies are smarter." - MelindaJoy77

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