… and the devil take the hindmost.

As many Cats will know, local supermarkets have run out of toilet paper, pasta, rice, and flour.

This is due to panic buying over COVID-19.  I can only surmise that many people expect to be confined to their homes for a period of time.  It’s not immediately clear to me why people are buying up so much toilet paper in the first instance. But the Davidson household has stocked up in the second instance – we went out and stocked up so we’d have sufficient supply to tide us over until everyone else calmed down. I imagine many others are doing the same. On that note, the Davidson household has not stocked up on pasta, rice, or flour.  We always have a stock of coffee and alcohol to hand.

Anyway – I digress.

Showing that they have zero understanding of how people think the Victorian Council of Social Service put out this communication today.

Their message is, of course, entirely correct. But the argument is wrong. Nobody is thinking of ‘others’ when panic buying. Now we can tut-tut and carry on about our fellow human and all that crap, but the empty shelves speak for themselves.

Rather the message should be one of keeping calm. Down-playing the hysteria. It is extremely unlikely that Australians will be confined to their homes. It is extremely unlikely that we’ll be looking at a death rate akin to the 1918 flu epidemic. Yes – those individuals who are immunocompromised and elderly are at risk and the statistics do show a high death rate for them.

Everybody else should calm down.

Is now the time to suggest that menu pricing is inefficient? That if the price of toilet paper were allowed to rise that we’d see fewer empty shelves?

Maybe not.

What I would like to see, however, is the institutions of civil society broadcasting the importance of remaining calm and not over-reacting.

Civil society within Australia is robust and we are a wealthy economy. Societies with those characteristics can well withstand external shocks.

This entry was posted in civil society, Libertarians don't live by argument alone. Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to … and the devil take the hindmost.

  1. TFX

    It is interesting to see this but what happens when they run out of electricity in the future. Good training for a potential real disaster.

  2. Rob MW

    It’s not immediately clear to me why people are buying up so much toilet paper in the first instance.

    Sinc – that should be the second instance, the first instance is eating ! If one doesn’t eat one doesn’t shit therefore no need for toilet paper. Another one of the world’s wonders I guess, when in a panic shit first eat second.

  3. Don

    The apocalypse always makes me think of toilet paper

  4. Pete of Perth

    Mark this day in your diary.. As you show your great great grand children the glittered polished turd on your mantelpiece you can tell then what you where doing when the great bog-roll led recovery kicked off.

  5. Some History

    Civil society within Australia is robust and we are a wealthy economy. Societies with those characteristics can well withstand external shocks.

    … said the man with no toilet paper. 🙂

  6. RobK

    It’s amazing what a high fibre diet can do.

  7. Candy

    It is the lower income earners and welfare recipients, disabled etc who simple cannot stock up on anything because rent and other bills, who have to be the stoic ones in this case. They simply cannot afford to panic.

  8. Some History

    It’s not just in Straya

    Hong Kong residents hoard toilet paper, noodles as coronavirus fears mount

    https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/consumer/hong-kong-residents-hoard-toilet-paper-noodles-as-coronavirus-fears-mount

    Armed Gang Steals Toilet Rolls In Panic-buying Hong Kong

    https://www.ibtimes.com/armed-gang-steals-toilet-rolls-panic-buying-hong-kong-2923384

  9. calli

    Times have changed. The Australia we thought we knew has disappeared.

    Stoic, anglophone messages of “keep calm”, with all their history of heroism and self-sacrifice, mean nothing in the post-modern world.

    Meet the whirlwind.

  10. calli

    I’m being unfair.

    In every crisis (even manufactured ones) there have been winners and losers and people who take advantage and do unconscionable things.

    Perhaps it is the market speaking.

  11. vlad

    I found an outlet with more than I or my immediate family could afford or needed. Where? That would be telling …

    And I didn’t clean them out. I bought a week’s supply.

    The picture here, on the other hand, is madness:

    https://twitter.com/SoniaCrestpac/status/1234772991700979712

  12. JC

    But the argument is wrong. Nobody is thinking of ‘others’ when panic buying.

    Well actually they are in sense, Sinc. They’re thinking.. I

    better move now because others will come and take it all.

    It’s like a herd of elephants going through a key hole at the same time.

  13. Some History

    In an emergency, first things first

    https://imgur.com/tbKKngc

  14. Charles Rasp

    Jesus wept, hasn’t every home got a bucket and almost every Australian five fingers on the left hand?

  15. It’s not immediately clear to me why people are buying up so much toilet paper in the first instance. But the Davidson household has stocked up in the second instance – we went out and stocked up so we’d have sufficient supply to tide us over until everyone else calmed down.

    Um,… think about how the second instance leads to the first instance.

  16. Bruce in WA

    Have they never heard of a shower, garden hose, bucket of water?

  17. The moment has finally arrived the vintage collection of Pink Pages in the shed has come back to save the day ……… A One Ply non-absorbent treasure in these troubled times …… Who’s laughing now !

  18. Bruce in WA

    Currently on board Silver Spirit. Ship denied entry into Sri Lanka or Myanmar. No COVID-19 on board.

    Plenty if dunny paper but!

  19. Caveman

    Ha classic you’ve stocked up and telling others not to panic, spoken like a boss.

  20. Chris M

    It’s not immediately clear to me why people are buying up so much toilet paper…. we went out and stocked up so we’d have sufficient supply

    Ummm OK. It probably makes sense, just have to figure this out.

    And butt wipes but no food stash? Ah well, fasting is good for you. Keep ammunition and flame throwers handy for the zombies.

  21. Pickles

    Was accosted by a deranged old crone in the bakery today who told me that Woolworths was out of shit tickets. I told her that it was because every time someone coughs the ten closest peopl shit themselves in fright.

  22. Tekweni

    There is plenty of panic buying of hand care products and disinfectants in the health care sector. The company I work for manufactures and sells these products We have had a run on these products that is cleaning out ourselves and our competitors. Unlike the FMCG sector the health sector is regulated by the TGA which ensures that products that make claims to kill certain organisms actually do so. If you run out of a product you can’t just knock something up as a substitute while you wait for your next consignment to arrive from factories overseas. Fortunately we don’t make these products in China. Making my life somewhat hectic at the moment in juggling stock. But what concerns me is that although this market sector is going ballistic we also supply products to hospitality and that’s hurting!

  23. Stimpson J. Cat

    Why would anyone listen to Sane people?
    You f®cking idiots got us ALL into this mess.
    Shut the f®ck up.

  24. Crossie

    Paul
    #3343489, posted on March 4, 2020 at 10:01 pm
    The moment has finally arrived the vintage collection of Pink Pages in the shed has come back to save the day ……… A One Ply non-absorbent treasure in these troubled times …… Who’s laughing now !

    Not going to work, at least not for many flushes, and in a crisis you don’t want to have to call a plumber who may charge for his services in toilet paper.

  25. Crossie

    Pickles
    #3343516, posted on March 4, 2020 at 10:23 pm
    Was accosted by a deranged old crone in the bakery today who told me that Woolworths was out of shit tickets. I told her that it was because every time someone coughs the ten closest peopl shit themselves in fright.

    I noticed something quite different in my local Woolies, a whole section of bakery shelves was empty. It’s the section that normally stocks various specialty sourdough breads. Could it be that even that was coming from China rather than being produced locally/in Australia?

  26. Tel

    Can someone please point out a few items of good advice that the Victorian government issued over the past four weeks, during the time when we all got clear warning that this was coming? I will use this past information as a gauge to decide whether they are likely to provide anything useful going forward.

    How much preparation did they do when clearing fuel to protect against bushfires? Oh barely any.

    How many new dams have they built … you know just in case we have a dry spell? Oh none.

    How many new baseload power stations … ahhh as a bit of a precaution for those times when the power grid gets unstable.

    Are people on low income not capable of putting anything aside for times of difficulty? Doesn’t cost much to learn to cook instead of buying take away … that’s what I did when I was on low income. Bags of flour and sugar cost two tenths of bugger all so I would say they are available … no excuses. All of these food items keep well if stored properly and that’s very little effort. How many of these people who the Vic govt are so concerned about also smoke (and pay outrageous tax in the process) quite a few I bet … skip one pack of smokes and you can buy a big pile of no-brand noodles I can tell you for sure because I’ve lived with those choices.

    Has the Victorian Council of Social Service ever encouraged any person to pull finger and work their way out of poverty? Maybe perhaps one or two people who might put their hands up and say, “Hey we really got our lives together and went and took responsibility after we got some good advice from the Victorian Council of Social Service” … anyone? Anyone at all?

    When you consider price of basic supermarket food items vs income (even basic centerlink income) nearly all of our grandparents had a more limited food budget and fewer options than the poorest of modern Australians. Yet our grandparents managed to have something put aside … because they had no other option. So the answer is everyone, other than the severely mentally handicapped, could have prepared weeks ago, or even make it a normal thing to have some savings since sooner or later something bad always happens. They just couldn’t be bothered and now it’s everyone else’s fault, like it always is.

    Finally I should point out that very likely at least some of the supplies of groceries are leaving the country heading for China … and there would be quite a number of families in China significantly poorer and worse off than anyone the Victorian Council of Social Service has ever met. I reckon they never even stopped to think about that.

  27. Leo G

    It is extremely unlikely that Australians will be confined to their homes.

    It is extremely unlikely that all Australians will be confined to their homes.
    Lockdowns are most likely in enclaves with new cases where there are significant proportions of people over the age of 55 years and last until several incubation periods after the last new case finalises in each such location.
    What surprises me is that there haven’t been reports of motor vehicle fuel stockpiling.

  28. Pyrmonter

    Thoughts

    (a) we have markets. If this hoarding is irrational (which is to say, this virus doesn’t trigger dysentry), we can expect either (i) reduced demand through conventional retail channels in the near future or (ii) that it will re-appear, initially priced at a premium (no doubt the large scale purchasers expect they’ve found an aribtrage opportunity), and later at a discount (if, as I expect, the Doomlord and various ministers, their officials and minions are right).

    (more seriously)

    (b) what does it say about the citizenry’s confidence in institutions that the way to guarantee panic is for those in authority to seek to reassure? As a believer in small government with libertarian leanings, I think healthy skepticism is usually called for in the face of government pronouncements, but I cannot remember something quite so directly contrary to the attempts of the authorities to placate fear than the responses we’re seeing now. Have we reached the situation the eastern European members of the Warsaw Pact arrived at, where no pronouncement of any sort could be relied on?

    (c) apropos of (b) – the ‘chief medical officer’ has been offering repeated reassurances. Yet to date there is no evidence of what exactly he or the government propose to do, beyond recommending better hygiene. Perhaps the authorities don’t have a plan. If so, that will probably be clear soon. If they do have plans, surely they should be sharing them with the community in order to assuage fear and allow the rest of us to work out what impact they are likely to have, and how we adjust to them?

  29. Tel

    But what concerns me is that although this market sector is going ballistic we also supply products to hospitality and that’s hurting!

    Once we go past the first few hundred deaths in Australia your customers running restaurants and pubs will be fine to close up shop for a while … because I doubt too many people are gonna be socializing.

  30. Howard Hill

    So please stop and think about others before you empty out the supermarket shelves

    LOL, This world has gone truly mad. When people think they are faced with death, do these morons really think people are going to stop and think about others less fortunate themselves? I mean from the very top, the leaders of this once united country have done nothing but sow the seed of diversity and deceit, they have done nothing but look after themselves and implemented every criminal scheme they could come up with to enrich themselves and steal from the people. They have nurtured a dog eat dog world where they use the minority of losers and scoundrels to justify their crimes and now they want people to think about others. Give me a break!

    People who get this virus should march straight to their closest council office or better yet, government office and start coughing over every door knob, person they come into contact with. These wretches have never ever given one thought to the benefit of others, all they have ever done is sponge of the created misfortune of others, their comeuppance is now due!

  31. Lazlo

    But the price of toilet paper on eBay has apparently skyrocketed. Just markets at work Sinc and JC?

  32. Big_Nambas

    FMD we have had a bidet for over 20 years. Can’t imagine living with shit spread over my arse by toilet paper all day. Quick warm water wash after my dump and I don’t need any paper. So buy all you want I don’t care.

  33. NoFixedAddress

    On that note, the Davidson household has not stocked up on pasta, rice, or flour. We always have a stock of coffee and alcohol to hand.

    all well and fine but what brands of coffee and alcohol?

    its all good to prove your prepped but standards need to be maintained.

  34. Roger W

    The interesting thing is how easily modern society is spooked by a panic induced entirely by the MSM, which endlessly searches for the next apocalypse, because we all love to be terrified (hence the popularity of scary rides at theme parks), aided and abetted by weak politicians who do not have the courage to call out the mass hysteria for what it is.
    Give or take from year to year, roughly 500,000 people die each year around the world from the various “normal” ‘flues. Yet we seem to live from day to day and year to year without an endless and mindless fear. With the coronavirus, it is now estimated that maybe 80% of people who get it show few or no signs, so the initial high estimation of fatalities was greatly exaggerated, because it was based on those who were obviously infected – in other words, on 20% of the total infected, at best/worst (depending on your point of view). It may even be less virulent than many ‘flues that regularly infect us.
    Never mind, when we all get back to normal, the MSM and our politicians can go back to predicting exactly when the earth will fry. They seem to have temporarily forgotten all about that in their desperate search for toilet paper and rice/noodles but I’m sure normal service will be resumed soon.

  35. Rockdoctor

    Written in English. Targeting the wrong demographic…

  36. Scott Osmond

    Comes of importing millions of low trust people in to a high trust society. The natives soon learn to lower the level of social trust. Secondly has there been any policy that the state and federal governments haven’t completely screwed up? Dams? electricity? regulations? trust these people? you would have to be mad.

  37. Scott Osmond

    Something I haven’t worked out is if this is a nothingberger, why did the CCP take a sledgehammer to their economy? Supply chains disrupted so foreign corporations are repatriating factories or diversifying. Growth stalled and one would imagine a massive hole blown in the budget and worse from the CCP’s view people questioning the party.

  38. Mother Lode

    Nah, first and second ‘instance’ are correct.

    First there is the panic buying, and Sinc’s stocking up is in response to that. And he only said stock up, not hoard. (Mind you, those freaks that hoard stacks of newspapers in their house might make a motza – if you don’t mind your 1983 vintage Sydney Morning Herald smelling of cat piss).

  39. mundi

    Toilet paper we use is made in australia, it’s not worth importing because of its low density and low value. The transport cost is greater than just making it locally.

    It is only the very short term supply line that is fickle (the once per week truck load to a super market). By next week this craze will be forgotten.

  40. bespoke

    It is the lower income earners and welfare recipients, disabled etc who simple cannot stock up on anything because rent and other bills,

    Save your concern for those the cut back on the booze, smokes and hooch and don’t have late model cars etc.
    If you did that there would very few and the many services that are provided would be way more effective.
    The safety net is failing not because of lack of funds it’s failing because the autocratic state depends on it.

  41. Pyrmonter

    @ Scott

    Are there ‘low trust people’? ‘Culture’ – the norms and expectations of everyday life – is a two-way street: we both exist in it and influence it. If you mean ‘opportunistic, norms of honesty and propriety-breaching’ people, let me assure you that Australian commerce and public life has had such people for centuries. To give but a few examples in the public sphere, that is a good description of Askin, Wran, Bjelke-Petersen, Grasby and Burke. All of whom were native-born.

    There is however an idea of social trust. The sort of trust you have in your neighbours to do the right thing; the sort of trust you have that those wielding power are doing so for the purposes those powers were created. There is some evidence that in those societies where power was most centralised, trust is weakest: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/11/lingering-trauma-east-german-police-state/601669/

    Is what we are seeing (I speculate) the outcome of a century of ever-increasing attempts at state control, which has been accompanied by a commensurate decline in the trustworthiness of those who seek to exercise those controls?

  42. Mother Lode

    I think this is apposite.

    Wondermark

  43. A Lurker

    No toilet paper?

    Adopt the ancient Roman method, use a sponge on the end of a stick which is washed off in a gutter of running water.

  44. Ed Case

    Toilet paper was No. 1 on preppers lists a few years ago because its supposedly a barter essential. Some jiggery pokery put it at the top of an internet search for ”barter”?
    Low info people didn’t need to be told twice.

  45. shatterzzz

    Having watched every single episode of The Walking Dead I can honestly say, “Not once have I seen Rick Grimes, et al risking life and limb in quest of dunny accessories .. then again it is only a TV show .. not REAL life .. or it used to be LOL!

  46. Up The Workers

    Maybe the hysterical “Do as I say, not as I do” nannying panic-buyers of the Left would need far less bum-wipe if they spoke far less crap…

    Just a thought!

  47. egg_

    Civil society within Australia is robust and we are a wealthy economy. Societies with those characteristics can well withstand external shocks.

    Didn’t Thatcher say there is no such thing as Society?

    One Million chi nks in Sydney thinking of self and family first will ensure a bog roll famine.

  48. PB

    “What surprises me is that there haven’t been reports of motor vehicle fuel stockpiling.”

    maybe most people still don’t get just how much refining capacity there no longer is on-shore.

  49. Ellie

    I only have one roll left, Sinclair. I may need to use your loo. Hope you have 3 ply minimum. None of that 1 ply stuff – I have a sensitive tooshie.

  50. Chris M

    What surprises me is that there haven’t been reports of motor vehicle fuel stockpiling.

    I always keep a stash and am currently turning it over & topping it up! Just because the government / industry has very limited supply in Australia.

  51. Diogenes

    What surprises me is that there haven’t been reports of motor vehicle fuel stockpiling.

    Normally I fill up every two weeks, I now top every few days (50c/l swings in price of fuel from day to day is another reason) .

    As we live literally 20 houses away from our local Coles we do not normally keep a lot of food in the cupboard, fridge or freezer, we now have a two week supply of various proteins in the freezer, and the same’s worth of carbs in the pantry, as well as some tinned veggies, stews and soups in case we have to self isolate . As I was leaving Coles yesterday a lady was going out through the checkout with a cartons of baked beans and tinned spag.

    Mrs D normally keeps a 6 month supply of bog roll, and other toiletries and laundry items as she plays the “spend $70 for the next 4 weeks to get 5000 flybuys” game, by buying these when they are on special

  52. Porter

    Lovely to see you again, Ellie. I hope you are well. Many here missed you.

  53. Driftforge

    Going to be hard on the toilet paper companies in a couple months when nobody buys because they are using up their stocks. I suppose that could correlate with the periods where all their employees are home either sick or avoiding becoming so – fortunate!

    Make hay while the sun shines.

  54. Colonel Bunty Golightly

    I’m sure when push comes to shove the bludgers/welfare recipients will be bailed out by the government while the rest of us are left to pay our own way (and theirs of course) as usual.

  55. OldOzzie

    When Covid-19 Kills 18,000 People Call Me, But Until Then Stop the Scaremongering

    Yesterday, Dr. Fauci, one of the authors of the editorial I cite above, was at a hearing of the Senate Committee on on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

    Here are some highlights from Dr. Fauci’s remarks.

    “If you look at the now 90,000 people who’ve been infected and the number of deaths that have occurred, about 80 percent of individuals who get infected do really quite well without any specific intervention. Namely, they spontaneously recover,” Fauci said in his opening statement.

    “However, about 15 to up to 20 percent of individuals – usually those who are elderly and in risk groups wind up getting serious disease requiring supportive care. That could be oxygen. That could be intensive care. That could be intubation or even more dramatic interventions,” he said.

    “So we want desperately to have a therapy for these individuals. There are a number of candidate therapies that literally as I speak to you today are being tested in randomized control trials. One of these is called Remdesivir, which was developed by the Gilead company. It is being tested in a large trial in China, and it is also being tested here in the United States in an NIH-sponsored trial in collaboration with Gilead,” he said.

    What he’s saying is that unless you are in an at-risk category, for instance, someone who is already seriously ill or who is immune compromised, if you get Covid-19, you’re going to be sick for a short period of time and you’re going to get well.

    And there was this exchange between Senators Lamar Alexander and Rand Paul with Dr. Fauci.

    “Are children getting the coronoavirus?” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked Fauci at Tuesday’s Senate Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

    “To a much lesser extent than adults, and for reasons that are still unclear. It may be that they are getting infected, but they’re symptoms are so low they’re not being recognized, but in a number of reports that have come out from China, there are very few cases less than 15 years old. You’ll always find the exception, but most of the cases are a mean age of about 50,” Fauci said.

  56. Iain Russell

    Multi-culti Australia and resale. Simples.

  57. OldOzzie

    “However, about 15 to up to 20 percent of individuals – usually those who are elderly and in risk groups wind up getting serious disease requiring supportive care. That could be oxygen. That could be intensive care. That could be intubation or even more dramatic interventions,” he said.

    Inogen™ One™ G5 Portable Oxygen Concentrator

  58. Leo G

    Here are some highlights from Dr. Fauci’s remarks.
    “If you look at the now 90,000 people who’ve been infected and the number of deaths that have occurred, about 80 percent of individuals who get infected do really quite well without any specific intervention. Namely, they spontaneously recover,” Fauci said in his opening statement.
    “However, about 15 to up to 20 percent of individuals – usually those who are elderly and in risk groups wind up getting serious disease requiring supportive care. That could be oxygen. That could be intensive care. That could be intubation or even more dramatic interventions,” he said.

    What’s not being discussed is the specificity problems with the testing of those people reported to have been infected.
    Rapid diagnotic tests for virus infections are intended to minimise the chance of failing to detect an infection, but that comes at the cost of increasing the likelihood of a false positive result. Once hospitalised other tests can be performed to verify results- but these also have false positive and false negative risks.
    The obvious comparison is with the rapid diagnostic tests for influenza viruses. Those tests can have false positive results in up to 95% ( of total positives) when overall infection rates are low in the early stages of a flu epidemic.
    Is coronavirus detection any better?
    It’s possible that at this early stage in the epidemic, a significant number of the confirmed cases do not really have the infection, and this has led to under-estimating the death rate (whether as a proportion of active cases or finalised cases).

  59. “What surprises me is that there haven’t been reports of motor vehicle fuel stockpiling.”

    Shhhhhhh!!!!!!

  60. Kneel

    “…panic buying…”

    I am reminded of two fictional exchanges:

    “Don’t panic Mr Fawlty!”
    “What else is there to do?”

    and

    “I think the most important thing is that we don’t appear to be panicking”
    “Whereas I think the most important thing is to actually not be panicking”

  61. Chris M

    What he’s saying is that unless you are in an at-risk category… you’re going to be sick for a short period of time and you’re going to get well.

    The death rate is bad but not the biggest problem in Australia. The issue you brushed aside is how our hospitals might cope with a 15 – 20% hospitalisation rate for this high contagious disease. That’s your problem right there Ozzie, even with Army tent hospitals (and they will come) there is no way this system will cope and meanwhile the rest of the population is still requiring treatment for heart disease, stroke, cancer, accidents etc etc.

    This article spells it out. Biggest danger is the health system being swamped and the economic / life disruption.

    Before this year is out the Chicom government needs to bow down and ask forgiveness of the rest of the world.

  62. Arky

    Panic is a perfectly rational response to having fucked everything up.

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