Readers outside of Australia might not be aware of the slightly mad scenes in some Australian supermarkets over the previous week, with panic buying (“hamsterkauf” as the Germans call it) in preparation for the inevitable COVID-19 impact on daily life.
This is the status of the flour section of our local supermarket:
There’s suddenly been a spike in interest for home baking. They’ve wiped out both the plain and self-raising flour shelves.
Walking around the neighbourhood, the olfactory delights of home-baked sourdough and delicious sponge cakes are everywhere.
No, not so much.
The same scene is repeated in the dried pasta section.
Panic buying flour and pasta at least makes some sense; they’re sources of food with very long shelf life that wouldn’t be regretted if there were to be shortages later. You’ll use it all up eventually.
Toilet roll, however?
Nobody wants to be caught short of bog roll but, seriously, that’s the item you want to fill your spare room with in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse?
If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of a billion Indians typing into Google, “toilet paper kya hai?”.
Imagine a world where, simultaneously, this happens:
In this age of “big data” it would be fascinating to learn what the Venn Diagram looks like describing the relationship between two schools of thought; those who believe Australia is about to enter a period of shortages and mass sickness and those who believe the price of property will continue to increase at multiple percentage points this year.
Speaking of which, our tracker is updated below.