Wednesday | 01 April | 2020
By Anja van den Berg
As South Africa is getting ready for the Covid-19 lockdown period, panic buying is forcing supermarkets to ration food.
Pictures of empty shelves and long queues have saturated all forms of media in South Africa over the past few days. These scenes are not unlike those in other parts of the world as many consumers succumb to panic buying, in fear of running out of toilet paper – among other essential items.
Retailers, and even President Cyril Ramaphosa, have pleaded with consumers to shop responsibly and within limits. The appeal is based on the rationale to allow all South Africans access to goods like toilet paper, hand sanitiser and canned food.
There is enough food in the supply chain, says John Bradshaw, Retail Executive: Marketing at Pick n Pay. Stores are asking customers to support the country’s efforts by not stocking up beyond what they need.
“Our stores will remain open, safe and well-stocked for our customers during this time so that they can continue to get what they want and need,” Bradshaw says.
A bunch of South Africa’s top artists even released a song in a bid to halt consumers panic buying before the Covid-19 lockdown!
The “Don’t Panic Buy” song, written by Ard Matthews and produced by Theo Crous, urges shoppers only to buy what they genuinely need.
While our daily routines may not be the same, it urged that “friends must not let other friends panic buy, ‘cos you don’t want to be that guy”.
The song features top local artists Lira, DRB singer Madjozi, Kahn Morbee from the Parlotones, Arno Carstens, Karen Zoid, Early B, Jack Parow, Francois van Coke, Loyiso Bala and Zolani from Freshlyground – singing from their homes on a 9-way “live call” stream.
On a more serious note, unnecessary panic buying is hurting South African households. Most consumers are unable to fill up a trolley in the best of times, let alone to finance a drastic stockpile. As essential items fly off the shelves, those who cannot afford to purchase before the next payday are met with an empty shop.
Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.co.za/dont-be-that-guy-friends-dont-panic-buy-pick-n-pay-launches-song-featuring-local-artists-2020-3
The Conversation: http://theconversation.com/panic-buying-in-the-wake-of-covid-19-underscores-inequalities-in-south-africa-134172
Daily Maverick: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-02-21-coronavirus-dont-panic-but-south-africa-needs-to-be-prepared/
Eyewitness News: https://ewn.co.za/2020/03/19/panic-buying-forces-south-african-supermarkets-to-ration-food
* All information was correct at the time of publication.