California grocers want shopper to remain calm

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
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California's grocery group is among those urging shoppers to kick the hoarding habit.

The California Grocers Association this week joined the chorus of voices urging consumers to remain calm and not engage in overbuying when grocery shopping.

"We want to assure customers that the supply chain is healthy and there is enough for all. But with the increased demand, the grocery stores need a chance to catch up to restock the shelves," the organization said in a statement. "We encourage consumers to remain calm and exercise sensibility when shopping. Overbuying is a concern as a customer who buys more than they need could prevent another customer’s preparation."

The grocery group's statement follows a similar message earlier in March from Leslie Sarasin, CEO of FMI: The Food Industry Association. She shared a compassionate appeal for calm and sought to explain how the food supply chain is flexible and adaptable, encouraging shoppers to be patient about purchasing their favorite products. 

Also in mid-March, two of the nation's largest, more broadly focused retail trade organizations felt compelled to issue a joint statement that spoke to the unique circumstances facing the country. A plea for calm and responsible consumerism was issued by the heads of the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

“If you don’t need an item in the next two weeks, leave it for someone who does,” said NRF president and CEO Matt Shay and RILA president Brian Dodge. “Hoarding and stockpiling creates unnecessary gaps between the time that someone who truly needs a product can find it back on retailers’ shelves. This is particularly important for our most vulnerable neighbors – the elderly and those who are struggling with other health issues.”

Shay and Dodge also noted that, “hoarding products only contributes to the fear surrounding the virus, and any hoarder acting with malicious intent to drive up prices on a secondary market should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The pair made their plea as shoppers continued their assault on the nation’s retail stores in the wake of the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic on March 11 followed by President Trump declaring a national emergency on March 13. More recently, shelter in place orders and the closure of many retail stores deemed "non-essential," have stoked more fear.

“Retailers – particularly grocery providers – are working with manufacturers, suppliers and government agencies to make certain essential products and services remain readily available to customers. Retail supply chains remain strong and retail employees are working around the clock to meet consumer demand,” according to Shay and Dodge. “We know this is a challenging time for everyone. But by partnering against fear and doubt, shopping responsibly and following important instructions on how we can help stop the spread of this virus, we will successfully face this challenge. Together."