On panic buying

Type
Cartoon

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Sam Wallman is a unionist and cartoonist based on unceded Wurundjeri country. He is a member of the Workers Art Collective. You can follow his work here.

Miroslav Sandev is a poet working in Sydney. His poems have appeared in a range of publications including Meanjin, Cordite, Rabbit, Southerly, Otoliths, Westerly, Snorkel, Red Room Poetry and others. His work was also included in the anthology Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry. He’s currently working on his first full-length collection.

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Comments

  1. sorta stuff to be expected under the reign and rule of heavy thumb of Capital, no?

  2. and, if stuff has meaning only if things can be said or put differently, who’s to say the so-called phenomenon of panic buying is not a cynical example of deliberately constructed panic selling to begin with?

  3. hmmm …

    actually I’m beginning to suspect it has less to do with immediate health concerns that a greater long term fear of complete economic collapse. when supply chains break down completely, then we’ll know who thinks stockpiling early was a mistake.

    (and just quietly, anyone who works in banking and finance knows that those discouraging panic are generally those who are moving first behind the scenes)

    • It causes all round shortages. Zimbabwe was ‘the bread basket of Africa’, so rich it was in food stuffs. Under the socialist reforms of Zanu PF the results were predictable enough; the country is now in the brink of starvation.

  4. The problem is not shortages. When our leaders spend years making people paranoid, spying one them, lying to them, telling them the neighbours are crazy, promoting an atmosphere of meanness and selfishness, what do they expect people to do?

  5. PSA: due to sudden unforeseen threats there is predicted to be a general scarcity of generosity, community mindedness and regard for others. Do not delay. Get yourself together. Grab what remains of this quickly evaporating human dignity. Do not be the one left behind. Stockpile and hoard your fellow man in your heart. Grab that last remaining, lonely individual on the shelf. Hold them close. Battle through to the checkout. Leave no one behind. We. Are. Running. Low.

  6. This is…not untrue. But the image that came to me when hearing about the Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020, was of Fortress Australia: we will build a stacked wall of giant toilet paper packs to defend ourselves against vile Oriental germs. Their inherent purity and whiteness will keep us safe from foreign bacteria. It’s like a disaster movie script written by Peter Dutton.

    Or we could all just be shitting ourselves, and our anxiety about climate change and economic precarity is being neatly displaced onto a rampaging virus.

    What sort of people, when a pandemic is on the loose, rush out and immediately buy all the toilet paper available in the country? Answer: Australians.

    • What sort of people, when a pandemic is on the loose, rush out and immediately buy all the toilet paper available in the country?

      The amount spent on toilet paper would have been enough to invest in a bidet, were it not that ‘Where
      id was, there ego shall be’ (guess too the thought of a world sans toilet paper just gave gave them the shits on the spot).

    • There are toilet paper shortages all over the world, including countries like Japan. So that’s two demonstrably wrong generalisations in the one post.

  7. How does this explain the fact that it is the relatively well off who did the hoarding? Just like the now infamous example of a person from Adelaide, who was refused a refund on $10,000 worth of toilet paper and hand sanitiser. I know scores of people who were financially unable to buy even a week’s worth of groceries, let alone prepare for the entire year.

    And how do we explain this phenomenon, while acknowledging that: 1. people are not cultural dupes, and have agency; 2. Covid-19 spread (at least in WA) was initially concentrated in the most affluent areas of Perth, ie. where those with the means to panic-buy live; 3. there are classes of people who participate differently – for its direction and message, this debate is actually patently unable to distinguish and ask questions about the class of people who do most of the panic-buying. Relying on the tired category of ‘the people’, tends to obscure more than it reveals about this particular event.

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