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I shopped for toilet paper amidst COVID-19 hysteria (PHOTOS)

Just how bare are our shelves in Metro Vancouver?
covid-vancouver-empty-shelves-tp
Empty toilet paper shelves at Walmart. Photo Sandra Thomas

In the past week, I’ve watched viral videos of crowds rushing through Costco in search of toilet paper, I’ve seen photographs of empty shelves where toilet paper once stood, and found posts on Craigslist from low-lifes attempting to make a gain from Coronavirus fears by selling toilet paper and hand sanitizer at massively over-inflated prices.

So, for the sake of research, I spent Friday morning checking out a few stores I know had toilet paper just last week.

And, while I was shopping around took note of other items also running low on the shelves.

I started my quest at the Walmart at Queensborough Landing Shopping Centre and was relieved to see shoppers leaving the store with toilet paper in their carts as I arrived at 10 a.m.

I was obviously a few minutes too late, because when I walked to the toilet paper section there wasn’t a roll to be had, but there were a dozen annoyed shoppers questioning staff about when their next shipment would be in.

walmart
Even with limits of two packs per family, Walmart was sold out of toilet paper by 10 a.m. Friday morning. Photo Sandra Thomas

To be clear, there had been four massive shelving units filled with toilet paper not long before I arrived, but even with a limit of two packs per family, they had been picked clean.

In desperation, shoppers were grabbing the multi packs of Kleenex on sale for just under $8. (For the sake of full disclosure, I bought one too.)

I honestly hadn’t been worried about an actual toilet-paper shortage until that very second, but at that point it became a mission to find some.

Toilet paper
The last two packs of Beyond Beef at Walmart. Photo Sandra Thomas

I did a quick trip around the store to see what else was in short supply before heading to the Canadian Tire in Market Crossing, which I heard had stacks of toilet paper last week.

toilet paper
Empty shelves that once held toilet paper at Canadian Tire. Photo Sandra Thomas

But, once again the cupboards were bare and disappointed shoppers wandered out of the store empty handed.

From there, I hit Save-On-Foods and again was excited to see shoppers leaving with toilet paper in their carts.

toilet paper
One lone pack of toilet paper at Save-On-Foods. Photo Sandra Thomas

I rushed over to the toilet paper section and sitting on a long line of empty shelves was one single pack of toilet paper ­– and it was on sale! I felt like I’d found the holy grail.

As a matter of fact, all of the toilet paper at Save-On had been on sale, so there was definitely no price gouging going on. A friend from Chilliwack told me this week she found packs of toilet paper at a major grocery store there for $25 a pack and that is just shameful.

My tip for anyone searching for toilet paper is to stop by when the store first opens.

Here’s just a few of the other items I found in short supply during my search:

 

Toilet paper
Sanitizing wipes were sold out at Save-On-Foods Friday morning. Photo Sandra Thomas
 
bacon
Things are getting real when Walmart starts getting low on bacon. Photo Sandra Thomas
 
Water
Despite the fact we have some of the best water in the world pouring from our taps, some shoppers are feeling compelled to hoard cases of the stuff. Photo Sandra Thomas
 
Ramen
Ramen stocks getting low at Walmart. Photo Sandra Thomas
 
Toilet paper
The BIC lighter display at Walmart was dwindling at the time of my visit. Photo Sandra Thomas
 
Saline
The saline shelves were near empty at Walmart during my visit. Photo Sandra Thomas
pasta
Pasta was almost sold out at Walmart Friday morning. Photo Sandra Thomas

sthomas@vancourier.com

@sthomas10

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