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There's One Type Of Person Who's Worse Than The Panic Buyer Right Now

It was like a slow-motion fight scene from a Quentin Tarantino film.

People’s gazes looking from one person’s trolley to the next, examining and evaluating the contents of what was within them, deciding what they would do next.

If their minds deemed the goods as ‘inappropriate’, ‘excessive’ or the worst -- ‘unnecessarily selfish’ their heads would turn side to side. A judgmental shake of the head of the most epic proportion would follow, accompanied by piercing eyes sending out daggers as their lips upturned into a disapproving snarl.

The situation was so intense you could almost hear the scene’s voice over, their inner thoughts said aloud as they not so discreetly gauged the shopping trolley contents.

“She must suffer till her last breath.” -- Kill Bill: Volume 1

But being in the supermarket, it was probably more like: “Toilet paper and tissues. What a selfish panic buyer.”

Shona Hendley. Image: Supplied

While this description may sound a tad on the dramatic side, the sad truth is, this is a very accurate grocery store scenario and a friendly store at that.

It’s not the anger fueled scenes of women physically fighting over toilet paper or verbally abusing each other as they purchase their items or fill up their trolleys. It’s just an ordinary Woolies in regional Victoria.

This ordinary Woolies and this accurate scenario is now typical of what we have become since the coronavirus panic has set in -- judgmental, grocery shopping shamers and it needs to stop because even ‘normal’ everyday non-hoarders are feeling it too.

While yes, it’s hard to forgive and forget those who have panic purchased and have enough toilet paper to create their own version of the Eiffel Tower (to size) made from Sorbent, we need to remember not everyone has done this.

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What’s worse than the loo paper hoarders are the judgmental (and often overtly loud) commentators and disapprovers of those just trying to get what they need or to help other people get what they need.

And that’s the other thing some people seem to forget. Not everyone just does groceries for themselves and their own family, many people also help shop for older or disabled family members or friends who cannot do it independently.

I am one of these.

Although my mum isn’t ‘disabled’ she is officially considered ‘elderly’ (don’t tell her that) and on occasion I will pick up supplies for her, something I have done more of since the virus became a pandemic and her being in the risky age group.

So when there have been two cat litter bags on the shelves, I have put two into my trolley, one for me and one for my mum’s cats. While so far, I have personally escaped any judgment, internally I feel the grocery shopping anxiety taking hold.

I face my own personal judgment which is just as heavy as the rest, so much so it’s as if my two cat litter bags warrant me to be arrested and hauled off for life imprisonment.

That’s the thing now with the grocery judgers, they have created such a formidable force within the supermarkets that regardless of whether it’s you or someone else that you are purchasing for, the grocery shopping anxiety is now well and truly palpable internally.

In fact, I’d say it’s akin to wearing the Scarlet Letter whenever shopping. The feeling as if I am walking around with a giant H (hoarder), especially if I even think about looking in the direction of the toilet paper aisle.

This feeling of guilt and shame for simply purchasing what is needed is so commonly felt now, that people are even defending their purchases. I overheard a man explain to the cashier while shopping on the weekend that this was his “usual” amount of groceries and that he “always” shopped on a Sunday, it wasn’t because of coronavirus.

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While the teenage cashier couldn’t have cared less, the volume of which he shared this information was clearly deliberate and meant that anyone within the next three lines could also hear his justification.

This is what it has come to, everyday people explaining why they needed to purchase hand wash or tissues. It’s sad, it isn’t at all helpful to the already challenging situation we are all in and does nothing to ease the heightened state of panic.

So let’s put the judgment back on the shelf and perhaps pick up some understanding instead.

Featured image: Getty