Supermarkets Preparedness – All about Toilet Paper and Staples’ Story

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Supermarkets Preparedness – All about Toilet Paper and Staples’ Story

 Supermarkets Preparedness – All about Toilet Paper and Staples’ Story

The globally prevalent wave of coronavirus has swept away so much from our lives in a very short period, and people are currently living in trauma. The coronavirus has claimed thousands of human lives, swept away trillions of dollars from global stock markets, caused a lockdown of cities and states, economic slowdown, and a not-so-easily-fading cloud of anxiety amongst the people.

With an increasing number of confirmed cases for coronavirus and the disease been declared as a global emergency, there has been a panic among the people as they start stockpiling daily hygiene products and staples in a rush to secure themselves with enough supplies at home.

People in other countries have been a witness to the lockdown situation in China, and the limitations that were imposed regarding stepping out of the house have taken people into a state of ambiguity.

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So, one more thing that the coronavirus wave has swept away is the consumer staples, and the shelves of the departmental stores bearing a deserted look. Multiple cases have been reported of people fighting for supplies in departmental stores and being adamant about sharing a part of it with others, especially toilet papers.

Yes, toilet papers have become a precious possession for the people across the globe and over-stocking of the same has resulted in shortages. As toilet paper shelves and some basic supplies at supermarkets go empty one after the other, the disheartened customers have nothing to do but take a chance at the next store.

There have been heated arguments amongst people at the store, and while some say that it is sensible to have extra groceries and staples at your hand, others argue that there should be enough left for the ones who do not have ample.

ALSO READ: Are Australian supermarket stocks relatively immune to global market turmoil?

Just One of Many Incidents

On 06 March 2020, a fight broke out between the customers at Woolworths (ASX:WOW) store at Chullora where two women were seen fighting with other women over a toilet paper roll. Calling the attention of the store staff; the women with a whole trolley full of toilet paper denied sharing even a single roll of toilet paper with the women who urged for one piece of the disputed staple.

In light of the above two points, people are compelled to make sure that there are enough hygiene products available on hand. However, this sense of securing oneself has costed others as they are left with nothing but the wait for the refilling of the stocks in the stores.

This greed at the consumer end has further increased the burden upon the supermarkets and storekeepers to maintain enough inventory to cope with the demand in times of panic buying.

WOW’s Quantity Limit and Dedicated Shopping Hours

In an attempt to ensure access to the products by more customers, Woolworths applied a quantity limit on toilet paper packs on 04 March 2020 limiting the purchase of four packs per customer transaction applicable in-store as well as online.

In times when suppliers are ramping up domestic production and deliveries in response to satisfy a higher than predictable demand, this shall help to keep up the stock levels.

Moreover, to deliver toilet paper directly to the elderly in the community, Woolworths has started working with Meals on Wheels in New South Wales via their network of volunteers to overcome challenges in securing essential items like toilet paper, due to recent unprecedented customer demand.

Priority Access to Older Shoppers

In addition to the above, the company introduced a dedicated shopping hour for the elderly and people with disability as a temporary measure to help support the shopping needs of the elderly and people with disability in the community.

In current times of exceptional demand for the staples, the company noticed that numerous elderly and vulnerable people in the community were unable to gather or buy crucial items they may need while shopping.

The elderly people and those with a disability shall now be able to shop from 7 AM in the morning till 8 AM, where permitted starting from 17 March 2020 till at least Friday.

Moreover, WOW urges the people to help each other, especially to those who are most vulnerable and be mindful of those who require extra hand for help.

Government’s Attempt to Keep Shelves Stocked

The Department of Home Affairs, Australia stated that foreign students currently working at supermarkets should be able to expand their working hours temporarily to help meet the high demand for vital items and help keep shelves stocked.

Although international students are generally subject to a maximum 40 hours a fortnight during the term, the changes are made citing the struggle of supermarkets to keep shelves stocked with the essential items and meet the immediate high demand.

At the countrywide level, the government is taking measures to contain the disease and limited the same from spreading further. The government has extended the travel restrictions on travellers arriving from any part of mainland China, Iran, Republic of Korea and Italy.

Moreover, the government has placed several restrictions on any person travelling from abroad and entering Australia, which includes an order to self-isolate himself/herself for 14 days while the government has also placed a ban on cruise liners from foreign ports arriving at Australian ports for 30 days.


In times of high anxiety among the people, there is a chronic need to maintain individual calm. Times like the current ones of coronavirus outbreak are a threat to everybody. People are urged to be empathetic rather than being selfish and greedy. Staying safe and taking precautionary measures are a must but not at the cost of making others vulnerable to the disease.

This website is a service of Kalkine Media Pty. Ltd. A.C.N. 629 651 672. The website has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a complete source of information on any particular company. Kalkine Media does not in any way endorse or recommend individuals, products or services that may be discussed on this site. Our publications are NOT a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. We are neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice.


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