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Hoarding does make more sense now


At the time I write this in November 2022, there are still two things that stick in my mind from not-so long ago, as in under 2 years ago.

That time when paper towels and toilet paper vanished from store shelves, and that other time all the aerosol disinfectant products (such as Lysol disinfectant spray) vanished from store shelves. Yes, both came back, but neither came back quick.

Very recently, a toilet bowl cleaner I use (one I like very much because it does such a good job) stopped appearing on store shelves. I won't even say what brand it is just in case I find a bottle of it elsewhere. For the time being, two bottles of it were acquired after looking around, and that should last a while. However, any time I see a common household product I use suddenly become hard to get, I run out and buy several of the whatever-it-is; I do this whether news reports a shortage of the whatever-it-is or not.

Is this hoarding? Yes. True, it's just 2 bottles of cleaner. Not exactly a big hoard by any means. But those 2 bottles were bought because of my experience with common household item shortages in the not-so distant past.

If somebody has 72 rolls of toilet paper in their house (bought as four 18-packs) and/or 32 rolls of paper towels (bought as four 8-packs), I won't even make fun of them even if there are just 2 people living in the house, because I know. I get it. I understand why they have a ginormous amount of paper product. It's because they remember when it was unavailable and don't want to be caught without again.

It's not even a money issue, because this stuff isn't expensive. It's an availability issue. Even if you make six figures a year, it doesn't matter, because if Everyday X Product isn't available, it's just not available, period. The only way to get around that is to stock up in advance when Everyday X Product is available.

Back in my childhood, I do remember older people from that time that did the hoarding thing. They would buy a year's supply of anything they used even on a semi-regular basis. Paper products, cleaning products, toothpaste, brushes, you name it, they had a ton of it. I would see those large quantities of product in their homes and thought it ridiculous.

I don't consider it ridiculous now, because again, I get it. They dealt with a shortage of everyday stuff in their younger years and learned to prep after that by buying in bulk. It didn't matter whether they would use the stuff or not. What mattered was having whatever Everyday X Products they needed just in case of a shortage.

Stocking up that way now isn't as crazy as it used to be. Not crazy at all, actually.

Does this mean hoarding everyday items is now the smart thing to do?

Published 2022 Nov 17

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