Panic Buying in Singapore Supermarkets: Facts vs Myths



Are stocks running out in Supermarket?
If you walk in a Supermarket last evening or this morning, you would probably think the end of the world is near, either that the whole nation is having diarrhoea, having craving for rice or turn into instant noodle nation.

The main 3 items that are flying off the shelves are Toilet Rolls, Rice and Instant noodles. If you want to understand why this is so, this post on the reasons behind panic buying might help.

If you look around, you would wonder if this is really an Apocolypse, wouldn't food and medical supplies ran out first?



The good thing is that we are seeing shelves full of vegetables, frozen food and fresh meat. We are also happy to report that diapers and milk powder are well stocked in most supermarkets.


We visited 3 supermarkets located within walking distance from one another in Marine Parade. This is our observation

Fairprice
Snaking Queue
It was a scene taken from Armageddon. Ok maybe more like shopping for reunion dinner X 10

Queues were snaking long. The trolleys were 100 % used up. There were trolleys of food discarded to one corner because the queues were too long.

Toilet Paper, Instant Noodles and Rice were totally wiped out from the store.
Instant noodles
Rice Section
Toilet Paper Section
Handwash was empty too.
Replenishing


Vegetables, fruits and meat products were well stock. In fact, we saw the crew replenish those products that are running low

Cereals
Looking at the crowd, you would expect the store to be half empty. In reality, only the 3 items were snatched up, everything else looks normal

Cold Storage
Queues were significantly shorter. In fact, it felt like a normal weekend crowd
Instant Noodles still available
Toilet Paper, Instant Noodles and Rice are still available. The stocks are limited but they would probably be replenished.

Limited Toilet Paper
Other than that, everything looks normal. The baby section of milk and diapers look relatively untouched.
Untouch Milk corner

Giant
Similar to Cold Storage. The frozen section is almost empty... with people. The number of meat products for both fresh and frozen are well stock
Well stock vegetables
Frozen Food Aplenty


Toilet Paper are still available in limited stock.
Toilet Paper Giant
Rice shelves are 80% empty, but some popular brands can still be found. We were here the night before and it seemed like they had restocked for today. It will probably be restocked tomorrow
Rice Shelves at Giant
Handwash section was emptied.
No Handwash - Giant
Other than that, everything looks normal. The queue is about twice as long as a normal weekend crowd but it looked like a shorter wait compared to NTUC

Among the three, NTUC is the most crowded. However, if you just walk across the street to Parkway Parade, the crowd resembles a normal weekend crowd. The scene is similar throughout the island. Your best chance of a short queue and sufficient stock will be at Cold Storage or Giant.




Fact 
There are queues at the Supermarket
Yes, there are queues. From what we gather, they are usually at NTUC, Giant and Cold Storage are relatively normal

Some stocks are running low
If you need toilet paper, instant noodles and rice, it is low. Other than that, we see healthy stocks around the 3 supermarkets.

Myth

Stocks are running out. 

Nope, sorry to burst your bubbles hoarders. We could still find stocks in other supermarkets despite the earlier mad rush for the items. It will probably be replenished tonight.Other than Toilet paper, rice and instant noddles, everything else seems normal with healthy stock. Unless you have massive diarrhoea, insatiable crave for carbs or planning to lose your hair, the excessive purchase is unnecessary.



Given that supply lines for Singapore remains healthy and unchanged before the onset of the virus, it was a curiosity to see Singaporeans reacting in this manner. We had seen people carting away 10 bags of 10kg rice.

For the record, 10 kg of rice can probably make about 60 bowls of rice. 100kg is equivalent to 600 bowls. In a family of 4, that is about 150servings. If you only eat once a day (most will be working and kids studying), that is almost a 5 months supply of rice. A tad excessive given that we are not in a state of war. The same maths apply for those who purchased 100 toilet rolls and 100 packets of instant noodles.
No Queues- Neighbourhood Discount stores

The other alternative, if you really could not find the supplies is to check out neighbourhood stores. We found a neighbourhood discount store with relatively untouched stock of toilet papers and zero queues!

We investigate the so-call panic buying here



You could also order your products online from the following links. Delivery may take a while to the current increase in orders, but give it a week or two and delivery will normalise. You probably do not need the bowl of Maggie for the next few days.

Online Deliveries
Amazon.sg

All for you 

Cold Storage

Eamart

Fairprice

Giant

Redmart

There will be a delivery charge, but it would probably cost the same if you travel to buy your groceries.

Given that the Coronavirus had evolved to community spread, it is actually much safer to stay at home than to risk yourself in a crowded area. From what we see, there are scores of people in the queue without masks. Add that to the constant touching when you are browsing the products, supermarkets can be a potential cluster if someone(who is unknowingly affected) shops there for supplies.

Wear a mask if you are going to queue for 2 hours in a crowded place, wash your hands if you are going to grab the last bag of rice. Alternatively, stay indoors until this blows order. Can always order online with delivery 1 week later.

Stay Safe!

Related Readings
Wuhan Virus Singapore Daily Updates





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