How Can We Solve The Supermarket Shortages?

Panic-buying has come to absolute insanity. I can't even buy the most essential everyday items. With limits in place. it seems like it won't stop the panic?

What can be done?


    • +2

      The government just restricted medicine supply today

  • +6

    Its simple, you either oversupply to the point that people cannot possibly buy everything, so you are restocking the same shelves hourly till demand is exhausted and supply outstrips it. Or you stagger release hourly to prevent the same people buying it all up.

  • +8

    Personally I feel its a tough one. Its not just frenzied buying, theres a complete change to the current system. People are working from home now, which means they're buying more food and cooking more. People are also going out less to restaurants and takeaways meaning even more buying at home. Online postage and grocery deliveries have also dropped/dropping and thats even more in-shop buying. Coles near me has also reduced hours from 8am to 8pm, so you have an excessive amount of people buying within a shorter time, which is already a massive switch to normal logistics.

    Now add the fact that people are seeing whats happening over the world where people aren't allowed to leave their houses easily, making it harder to buy food and the talks that Aus will get worse due to winter etc. Which then ADDS to the above panic buyers, hoarders or even people trying to get 2 weeks worth of food backed up.

    Its hard because at the end of the day it does need to come from us (people) chilling a bit, relaxing and buying more based on essentials to leave enough for everyone. But I just feel that human behaviour is natural, and its easy to say "do this, do that" but if nothing comes from it, I just feel smugly right, but not helped at all.

    Maybe we need more direction from upper leadership, ones that talk about what would happen if something was going on? One that lets people know that people will still be able to buy food even if everything does close down. One that lets people know that essentials may even be more available to shoppers. And that certain areas may still be open and available so people won't be worried about missing out?

    • +12

      When toothpaste, oil, wipes & even seretide and ventolin are out of stock everywhere, it's hoarding. Has nothing to do with people working from home.

      If pubs & restaurants are closed, their produce will make it's way to retail consumption but that's not happening

      • +1

        I didn't say there wasn't hoarding? I said theres people working from home AND there's people hoarding all of which wasn't part of previous supply chain/logistics.

    • +4

      Your reply rings true to how I feel about this situation. People are also buying more at once so that they don't have to leave the house as often to decrease chance of exposure, especially if they live with older family members. People also tend to eat and snack more at home too. A fair chunk of people doubling the amount of groceries they're buying plus buying a 2 week buffer has definitely left an impact. It's easy to say only buy what you need now but given that you can be fined for breaking quarantine rules most people will want to prepare ahead.

      More direction from leadership would be great but people also have doubts about transparency and capability of government to support people, especially after how the bushfires and flooding has been handled. At the start of the toilet paper shortage, supermarkets were quick to reassure people there would be enough stock but now the situation appears even more dire in stores. Queensland is allowing for 24-hour warehouse to store deliveries now, which hopefully all states will follow with soon. It's unfortunate to think that a lot of panic buying and empty shelves could have been avoided if the laws preventing deliveries at night (to restrict sound levels) were worked around earlier given that it appears warehouses are all stocked to the brim.

    • +2

      Maybe we need more direction from upper leadership

      The leader of the country saying "STOP IT" wasn't enough for you?

      • +2

        If the leader of the country would share the information he has and make an effort to communicate effectively with the people he is supposed to serve it might provide understanding of why we need to change our behaviour and alleviate some of the fear.

        A lot of people are really frightened, if the authorities can communicate clear consistent information and share everything they know, it could help.

        Theres 2 main camps of people, those panic buying and hoarding through fear and misinformation.
        Those at the opposite end of the spectrum, who are carrying on with their usual business like nothings happenning and not social distancing.

        Bondi Beach was packed yesterday, there was so many people, it looked like the height of summer, you couldn't even get into the beach car park.
        Simultaneously, the government is announcing that it is closing our borders for 6 months. These people are not getting the message and its probably the way its communicated.

      • If he said it early enough and didn't say stock up enough for 2 weeks at the same time maybe people would listen to him. Hoarding is an actual disease, At the moment I think there are far more terrified/panicked people and people who want to minimise outside contact, plus of course the greedy ones.

  • +2

    By stop posting this kind of thread.

  • +8

    I asked my mom who lives near the city if she needed me to bring food supplies over since the shops there are bare.

    She gave me that look like I am a simpleton.

    "I am not helpless. I can grow my own food."

    No one to rescue. Can't even give away bloody grapefruit.

    • +4

      You have a mom?! I'm learning so much about you lately. I've also started reading your comments with an American accent in my head and it's weird.

      • +5

        Took me over a decade to change my Zs to Ss.

        Give me another decade and I'll change the mom to mum, and another for tire to tyre.

        • You once said:

          Nobody believes it until they see it.
          Even if you see it, the mind rather you believe the more comfortable possibility.

          So true… Still can't believe you're a yankee.

          Edit: I've edited my original response. You're so eminently quotable that it was hard to pick just one quote from you.

        • And how long for feet to metres?

          • @RockyRaccoon: Even Americans don't know how to use that weird measurement system.

          • @RockyRaccoon: 1.83m to 6 feet.

            I just think of it as a little less than 1:3.

            • @tshow:

              1.83m to 6 feet.

              Not on dating apps, apparently. There 'ft' and 'inches' are relative. A colleague aske us to critique his tinder profile once. He described himself as being 6ft tall when he barely reaches my shoulder and I'm 182 cm. The other measurement look pretty dubious too.😂

        • -5

          As an Aussie-born, I still prefer Zee's.

          Like in Sanitizer.

          • +1

            @capslock janitor: Oh. You're gonna get negged.

            Good luck.

          • +1

            @capslock janitor: Why? Because you don't know how to change the keyboard language setting on your computer?🙄

    • +2

      This is so relevant.

      • Lol finance classes for my kids

    • +1

      A friend who is precautionary self-isolating currently had her brother (an organic farmer down the coast) offer to bring her a bag of his version of toilet paper, leaves off of his trees that they use and then compost the result. :)

      • +1

        Not sure if I want human waste compost. :S

      • +2

        Does the organic farmer brother have clearance from the authorities to do this? Human waste contains viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that are unlikely to be effectively removed by standard home composting processes. You would need extremely high temperatures for an extended period of time to produce safe humanure.

        • humanure.

          Oh dear…

        • high temperatures

          I think it's something like a cubic metre of compost is required to generate those temperatures.

  • Put MDMA in the water. People will feel the love and wouldn't have a big appetite (weed wouldn't work!)

    • +10

      Putting MDMA in the water supply is a pretty bad idea when you want people to keep their distance from each other.

  • +2

    How Can We Solve The Supermarket Shortages?
    Snap your fingers like Thanos.

    • Dont forget to buy the gauntlet with the gemstones first before snapping

  • Supply will match demand. There could be six months of pandemic, and people will use more paper when they have diarrhea, they will eat more when they are at home all day. It stands to reason, if restaurants are serving 100 million dollars less food per month during the pandemic, then people will be buying 100 million dollars more food and eating it at home instead. Hand sanitiser doesn't cost anything to make in bulk, and people will be using that a lot more. People are saying that stocking up won't result in more used in the long run so there's no point ramping up production, but clearly people are suddenly using more sanitizer, and they will want to keep buying more during the pandemic. Woolworth's, Coles, and Aldi aren't clever enough to solve this, so I think they will lose about 30% of their customers to businesses who can figure it out, like Amazon or Officeworks.

    • It stands to reason, if restaurants are serving 100 million dollars less food per month during the pandemic, then people will be buying 100 million dollars more food and eating it at home instead.

      Which would make the on-the-shelf food that much more scarce, because it needs to fill the 100 million void that restaurants are no longer serving.

      People are saying that stocking up won't result in more used in the long run so there's no point ramping up production

      The problem is, all that stock is sitting in someone's garage somewhere not being used and inaccessible to someone that actually needs it.

      Yes, the amount produced is equal to the amount needed, but not distributed correctly. Some have more than they need, others not enough.

  • +4

    Public floggings for hoarders?

  • +2

    Limit the amount of trolleys so people have to use baskets should slow down the hoarders a bit.

    • -1

      What about people who shop for a family of 8+ people?

      • Why 8+, what about 12+ and few dogs as well

        • +3

          Because obviously that's FAKE, the most kids you can put up with is 9 and a few dogs

      • +1

        They get supplied with free condoms.

    • They are already doing that at my local but they still have those baskets on wheels.

  • Preorder with scheduled pickup times. With heavy limitations on goods quantities.

    • I can assure you this would not work. A store gets 50 packs of pasta in, 200 people place an order for pasta. People are going to miss out still. Woolworths already have heavy limitations on goods, the problem is they don't have enough trucks and drivers to get enough stock to stores.

  • +14

    In the olden days a really effective method of disrupting shopping was to put one wobbly wheel on each shopping trolley.

    • Ah, the good olden days and wobbly wheels.
      Now they need some artificial hair to clog them up

  • How Can We Solve The Supermarket Shortages?

    Well, increasing the price would work…

  • -1

    No truck restrictions/curfews creating 24 hr delivery should cut into stock problems I would think in around 3-4 weeks .

  • +1

    What can be done? Buy what you can find and be creative.

    • +2

      As I’ve indicated elsewhere, by using an old water bottle to moisten the TP I seem to use less.

      • Thank you :) The truth is we're better off than most. My wife is a natural-born prepper seeing as she comes from a tiny, little island which is frequently visited by cyclones.she may have lived here for close to 2 decades but old habits die hard and our pantry has always been stocked to the brim. Add to that that she can't resist a good bargain …I think we should be set for at least the next 6-8 weeks.

        • +4

          Absolutely. If this gets into refugee camps, slums, etc then the death rates will soar.

          However, people need to look at the Who figures on mortality.

          The figures are “scary” but, the vast majority of people under 50 will live and they will need to clean up the mess afterwards. In 12 months time we will be looking at all the failed businesses, soaring unemployment, etc and wonder why we were fighting over Toilet Paper. The issue is the uncertainty right now. The first priority should be ring fence the old people and ensure they have the means to survive. Keep them away from the disease vectors so they don’t clog up our hospitals.

          We need to fast track test kits, bring in rationing, keep hygiene up. I’m sure the storm is coming but, right now, what I’m not seeing are actual sick people when I’m wandering around. The irony will be if we end up saving more people, by ensuring they don’t get regular flu, than we lose to the Coronavirus. I might be optimistic but the odds are in my favour to survive. I’m cautious but not panicking, yet.

          The other advantage you have is the tiny little island is home to some very delicious food, I’m sure you have enough spices to make shoe leather taste fantastic.

          • @try2bhelpful: Tiny island has plenty of delicious food considering they don't have to share them with the tourists anymore.The panic has started to spread there too though , now that they've recorded their first 3 cases.

            And yes, completely agree : people are being selfishly short-sighted. The worst is yet to come.

            • @DisabledUser102420: Now might not be the best time but do you know any places that stock stuff from Mauritius? I live in Melbourne but I would be happy to order online.

              • @try2bhelpful: My MIL often visits us and brings the goodies with her. We've rarely had to buy anything here. However, I've heard good things about this place in Dandenong. Its a mom-and-pop shop. So nothing fancy but food is good. They also have an online store . Otherwise, there's a Mauritian bistro on Bligh Pl in the CBD, which is pretty pricey but closer to what you would get in the hotels in Mauritius.
                The thing is, nothing taste quite the same without the view, the gentle crashing waves and the salty sea-breeze :)

                • +1

                  @DisabledUser102420: Thanks for the info, will try them out.

                  We spent three delightful weeks there, the man had work to do for one of the banks. Stayed at a fancy place in Port Louis. Going out on the hotel boat to the private beaches. Went parasailing off the back of a boat, snorkelling, etc. But the best bit was just hopping on the, really impressive, local bus system and just wandering around to the towns and markets and trying things. Incredibly friendly people; most people understood my accent. Wonderfully exotic place with an overlay of English “practicality”. Not cheap but great bang for buck. I

                  • @try2bhelpful: Yes, very friendly people. Very resilient too. Hope they make it out of this ok.

              • @try2bhelpful: MU would've been my guess too!

                Our receptionist at the Physio has striking blue eyes with natural brown hair DA'YUM

          • @try2bhelpful: There already isn't many old people left in refugee camps and slums, they already died of other things. So impact may be lower there.

            • @trapper: Now, wouldn’t the be “ironic”.

              In America, with the extent of their car accidents, you were in less danger being a soldier, in Iraq, than driving on their own roads.

  • +8

    Saw some absolute flog today pick up the last 5 CASES (24 count) of passata and head off without a care in the world. I'd have no problem with an unannounced guard on the other side of checkout with a shotgun that simply offed any greedy mofos who exited. It's a small percentage that ruin it for everyone.

    • -1

      No good without pasta sauce and mince lol.

      Just take a photo and post it to shame. Then find where the hoarders live, and go rob them.

  • +1

    I propose we all line up daily outside coles/woolies and buy tickets to enter a shopping gameshow.
    Like a cross between Battle Royale and Running Man.
    10 (un)lucky names are drawn. You have the option to auction your lucky ticket off for a few rolls of tp and some mince if you are too old to take part.
    Players draw straws and get to drop in aisle or section of their choice. One trolley and one weapon. Powerups (like mines, night vision gear and light kill switch) hidden in strategic places.
    An aliens style tracking device strapped to your wrist. Lights camera action. Winner takes all the groceries they can haul. Have a professional league going and have a line-up of special guests as contestants. Peter Dutton vs the hoarder allstars!
    Build a gambling industry around it. That way people who are quarantined can make live bets and not miss out on the fun.

  • +2

    Probably the most unhelpful comment, but sometimes you just gotta eat other things.

    Most of the stuff I usually buy were out, but there were still plenty of meat pies in the frozen section. No meat, but plenty of fish and other seafood. No regular plain bread, but there were brioche buns and croissants. No white rice, but plenty of Basmati. Deli seemed reasonably well stocked. Plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.

    • +4

      but sometimes you just gotta eat other things.

      I've wondered why people aren't stocking up protein shakes. They last for a long time, don't require refrigeration, probably better than caged chicken for most people (isolates at least). It's all good tho, the price hadn't gone up and will probably go down when gyms close.

      • I was concerned that protein shakes would sell out so grabbed an extra tub. But no, turns out everything else has sold out but protein shakes are still there. Sweet!

      • The huge tubs were on sale at woolies even. (I didn't get one because I still haven't opened the last one I bought…)

        • If you are getting it from the super market, make sure you check the ingredients. Watch out for fillers and random sugar.

  • I'm surprised no-one has mentioned; BIKIES, enforcing a shopping trolley height/weight limit?

    • how would the height and weight limit be enforced? and isn't that just the same as putting a limit on certain items?

  • Drone deliveries of care packages to homes of elderly people

  • +5

    What can be done is to understand grocery products now broadly fall into 3 categories:

    1) Those where supply is probably affected and buying has increased. Examples: Most pasta, pasta sauce, pesto, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, passata, green olives. All mostly made in Italy. Italy has major problems right now, plus we're stocking up. So for this category: take a spoonful of concrete, and harden up; just accept it may be difficult or impossible to get these items for the next period, and for some things you can switch to an Australian equivalent, e.g. woolies home-brand spaghetti is Australian-made, and they have heaps of stock in our local supermarket.

    2) Things made overseas, where supply has not been interrupted yet, but we should be prepared for it. Examples: canned tuna (Thailand), sauces (various, such as China), coconut cream & milk (Thailand), some canned fruit (various, such as Philipines), some meal kits (various, including Thailand), some cheeses (Italy or France or UK), and Brioche Buns (France). These items may become hard to get if production gets interrupted, or if transport gets interrupted, or if customers stock up excessively. So don't freak out if you can't get some Gorgonzola to spread on your brioche for the next 6 months; Enjoy it now, but accept it as a medium-term temporary interruption if supply stops.

    3) Things made here. The good news is that HEAPS of stuff is made here, and there is no fundamental shortage. Items include: Toilet Paper (if you want an extra pack, fine, but storing heaps really is pointless), Paper Towel (ditto), Brown rice, most dairy products (milk, yoghurt, most standard cheese, butter, etc), most fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, grapes, apples, etc), most meat (beef mince, veal, pork, chicken, etc), most vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc), flour, bread, eggs. Once people get up to 2 weeks worth of these food items, and give production a chance to catch up in paper products, they will realise that it's pointless buying more, because it's like trying to drink from a firehose - we grow/manufacture enough for our needs, there is no fundamental shortage. Things in this category are just a temporary problem if they sell out, so don't worry about it, they will come back into stock in the near future.

    So the good news is none of us will starve, because there is plenty of food. However we will have to adapt what we eat/use in some categories, primarily by eating/using more fresh local grown/manufactured product when supplies of overseas product are interrupted or delayed. And that is what can be done.

    • -4

      You need to work on your bedside manner.

  • +5

    Increase item prices exponentially for each additional item. I cant remember which country tried this and it worked out pretty well. So 1 packet of pasta will cost the shelf price, the second pack will cost 2X as much, third pack 4X as much etc.

    Instead of buy 2 get 50% off etc, it's buy 2 and get charged extra 50%.

    • So easy to get around this. Buy one, put it in the car, go back to supermarket. Repeat.

      • +1

        If you want to stand in the queue.

      • by the time you come back, it will all be gone.

    • +1

      A Danish supermarket has discovered a novel way to tackle their hoarding situation. One supermarket has placed a sign informing customers that anti-bacterial gel would cost DKr40 ($9.70 AUD) for the first bottle, and spike immensely to DKr1000 ($242 AUD) each for every bottle after. Someone from here should email supermarkets in this country to do similar.

      • +1

        This should be sent as a message to major supermarket

        But the problem with….people they will bring family members to buy one each or multiple attempts….

    • Increase item prices exponentially for each additional item. I cant remember which country tried this and it worked out pretty well. So 1 packet of pasta will cost the shelf price, the second pack will cost 2X as much, third pack 4X as much etc.

      This wouldn't help at all. A lot of items already have a one item limit, and it's already never in stock. So charging more for the second one wouldn't make a difference. You won't find a second one. If you can even find a first one.

  • I read a good point on this, that it's likely there are a lot of people who have 4 condiments and a 6 pack of beer in their fridge and simply eat out all the time. Now they realise they need to actually have food in the fridge and have stocked up a (possibly) normal amount.

    Not saying that there aren't hoarders, but it's not the entire picture.

  • Herp a derp derp let’s create more jerrbs instead

  • +2

    Danish supermarket has discovered a novel way to tackle their hoarding situation. One supermarket has placed a sign informing customers that anti-bacterial gel would cost DKr40 ($9.70 AUD) for the first bottle, and spike immensely to DKr1000 ($242 AUD) each for every bottle after. Someone from here should email supermarkets in this country to do similar.

  • +3

    Simple close all supermarket, online delivery only with applying the restrictions.

    Minus….delivery mistakes

    Problem solved

    • I live 25-30 minutes from a supermarket and the 2 big players don't deliver to my town but drive through it to deliver to a town 10 minutes down the road.

      They refuse to do it but would consider it if we demand it but the drivers live here and could do it so go figure.

      The place 25 minutes down the road has busloads of hoarders rock up to ransack the store, and the place 30 minutes up the road has lineups of 100 plus people just to get into stores.

      The place where I work 45 minutes up the road is a major city, but you also have to shop hop to get what you want.

      I can't bulk buy anymore and now under your idea I can't buy at all. Myself and others would starve so thanks for that.

      • Hmmm shouldn't be a problem to add special conditions to deliver to your area

        The government should pay for special delivery and this will eliminate your nightmare
        "The place 25 minutes down the road has busloads of hoarders rock up to ransack the store, and the place 30 minutes up the road has lineups of 100 plus people just to get into stores.)

    • they don't have enough delivery vans to handle that kind of demand. Not to mention it will put a bunch of people who work in stores out of jobs.

  • +1

    What can be done?

    suggestion 1 - hire some huge muscular security guard to slap down on any hoarders they see

    suggestion 2 - everything are behind counter, staff grab things off the shelf for you

    • Going to need some very big counters if you're going to keep toilet paper behind there. And it will make it very difficult for them to handle the load. There would be huge queues at the counter just to pick stock.

  • +1

    Kill all the idiots.

    • Before you do that, do consider the other professional pathway.

      You can start by registering as a villain with the league of evil people, progress with a 3 years degree course in being evil, next a masters class of pure evil and progress to be a super one if you have the presentation skills to hit the benchmarks of Phd of World of evil geniuses like Hitler and those with the same ranks.

  • Shop In other places. I went to a Gaganis Bro’s close to Adelaide CBD yesterday on the off chance that I could restock flour (we make our own bread).
    Pretty busy, but no shortage there at all!! Pallet loads of flour, rice, pasta, sauces. They have heaps of stuff.
    Just think outside of Woolies and Coles. They obviously restock each night with forklifts!
    There is no shortage…..

    • +6

      Yes, people tend to think Coles/Woolworths/Aldi/IGA is the only place to buy food. Several times this week I checked these stores for instant noodles. All sold out. Walked over to Reject Shop and saw they had plenty of stock. A similar thing happens with Asian grocers that often have similar products and plenty of stock while shelves at regular stores are bare.

      There was no soap at Coles and Woolworths today. Reject Shop? Plenty of stock. Cheap as Chips had a shelf full of it.

      As for the shortages in general, here is what I would do: Nothing. The problem will solve itself when people take a long hard look at what they've bought and what they'll need to throw out, as they don't fancy eating instant noodles every night for the next three months.

      The best thing the major supermarkets did was suspend change of mind returns on certain products. You bought enough TP to build a decent Taj Mahal replica and now want to return some because you lost your job? Tough luck. Should have thought a little harder earlier on.

  • +1

    There is a shortage? Last night I went to Woolworths. 7pm. Bought myself a roast chicken, some pasta salad, milk, couple bottles of Pepsi, some bread, cereal, and muesli bars.

    Sure there isn't toilet paper, pasta, fresh meat. Missing out on these items isn't going to stop you from living day to day. Most people seem to be complaining as if they are going to have nothing to eat or drink.

    • how are you going to shit? You going to use tree leaves?

  • +1

    I don't understand why I cant order these essential non perishable items online for pickup. I pay for it when I make the order. When stock arrives then I get contacted that it is ready. Pretty much how every online shop works. What am I missing? is it the storage of these items?

    • Not enough stock to go around. Many orders would be cancelled and there would be so many amendments to every order.

    • They seem to stock the shelves then send staff out to pick the stock. So if demand is high from shoppers in store then too bad.
      Others might know the system but it seems that extra stock isn’t allocated to the store after pickup orders are made. I ordered TP to pick up in 7 days thinking that would be enough time to have the stock arrive and be held aside for my order. But no. I tried this 4 times. Coles twice Wolllies twice. All TP cancelled on the day of pickup.
      Now we will have an oversupply next week from amazon because I ordered extra thinking they would also cancel orders. But luckily amazon seem to keep more accurate stock levels.
      The oversupply will be donated to (disability and aged) clients, family and friends. Maybe to local charities.
      I have no doubt there are supplies available but sadly our supply chains are less than robust

      • yeah thats whats wrong with their system. they only pickup your groceries when you tell them you are coming and charge you that same day. So effectively it is like you going the grocery and picking things up yourself. I don't mind making payment when I order, I don't mind waiting for a week for stock to appear. But as soon as stock arrives they should reserve the items for you because youve already paid for them a week ago

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