Officials are issuing warnings over “panic buying” in light of the fights that have been breaking out thanks to the coronavirus scare. Authorities say panic buying needs to stop and that it is “not proportionate or sensible.”
Staff members at a Woolworths supermarket in Australia called police over a disturbance involving a man, a woman, toilet paper and a knife. The woman was the one who wielded the weapon.
People have been going into panic-mode as the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, resulting in store shelves being stripped of basic necessities. Some stores have had trouble keeping items like discount paper towels, toilet paper, and bottled water stocked. Panic buying has caused supermarkets to start enforcing strict restrictions on certain purchases.
It was earlier on Wednesday that Woolworths announced to customers that they could only buy four packs of toilet paper per person. Fearful customers soon raided the store shelves of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, rice, pasta and bottled water as a result.
On Wednesday around 1:30 pm, employees at the Westfield Parramatta Woolworths store called in a disturbance. A New South Wales Police spokeswoman said six police officers soon arrived at the scene. There, they spoke to the woman in question.
Police had trouble getting information from the woman. A Woolworths employee said the woman involved had a hard time communicating.
Someone who witnessed the scuffle said, “There was a fight over toilet paper – you could hear a commotion coming from down the end aisle. There was a knife pulled and the people started running around. It was all over in a few moments, security was here and the police came and talked to a woman.”
The fight didn’t result in any injuries.
Footage showed shoppers at a separate Woolworths supermarket in Revesby, where crowds madly pulled toilet paper off the shelves. Witnesses recall a “stampede,” with some shoppers carrying two packs of 12 at a time.
Sustainable toilet paper company “Who Gives a Crap” said purchases were up 800 percent. They have run out of inventory for all products.
Scalpers have also started selling toilet paper through avenues like Facebook Marketplace, with marked-up prices.