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Retail Workers Share The Craziest Things They've Seen People Doing To Prepare For The Pandemic

True story: I just went shopping for the first time amidst all the this doomsday prep mentality we're in. While I was expecting empty shelves and crazed people, I only found the former. Instead of yelling at employees, everyone seemed to be shopping in utter silence, aware that their choices have serious consequences in the coming days. Everyone felt on edge, as if a fist could be thrown any second if you took one too many bags of chips.

But no one was mean to the employees. Rather, I saw customers asking the staff how they were, politely asking where items were found, and telling them how much they appreciated them being open during this time.

Not everywhere is like that, however, as noted in the stories below.

Reddit user, u/MoonHaunter, wanted to hear tales from the front lines when they asked:

[SERIOUS] Fellow retail workers - what apocalypse prepping induced insanity have you guys seen so far?

Enjoy The Spectacle

I work at a supermarket in the UK. Over the last 3 days people have been frantically buying toilet rolls, pasta, baked beans, chopped tomatoes and lots of wine. There hasn't been any hand gels or soap in for days. It really is like they are shopping for an apocalypse


I know that feeling, We've had exactly the same.

That said, Our day got cheered up by someone wearing a Full Hazmat suit turning up.


Not This Time

I just quit my job at a dollar store because I kept getting yelled at for enforcing the limit 2 rule. Not that I have much of a chance to since we were out of everything.

The worst was this man with his three kids who I though was going to come across the counter at me because I told him that he couldn't buy three big packs of tp and couldn't do a separate transaction to get the third pack. I'm a very short woman who had resulted in keeping the box cutter we used for stocking within arms reach at all times. People are crazy.


This Is America

I work in a sport store. You'd think we would be dead, you know with sports being canceled and no one wanting to go out and do group things, but my lord, the ammo sales. It's been crazy we've been swamped, the other day I dont think we made a single sale that wasnt ammo/firearms, wasnt unusual to see people buying 500$+ worth of the bulk ammo. Apparently people are being told that the factories are being shut down and theres going to be a shortage?


How Else Are We Supposed To Drive Away From The Apocalypse?

Business has not slowed down.

I am a glorified retail worker, I work a parts counter at a Ford dealer. We were expecting service appointments to be cancelled left, right, n center, but nope. We're going hard as f-ck right now.

Edit: Thanks to the media circus, everyone is a prepper now.

Edit #2: My car was broken into last week, and my hand sanitizer was stolen from it. F-ckin' nuts, man.


Bake And Bake And Bake

Completely out of hand sanitizer and flour.

Yes flour! I live in Transylvania, people often bake their own bread.

I guess all the seclers thought they have to stock up flour :D


Shades Of Black Friday

Ralph's first sold out their fake meat products in this hipster neighborhood where I work.

The line this morning was around the block. Security was only letting in a dozen people at a time like Black Friday at Best Buy


Not The Same Mentality Everywhere

Working at a grocery store, I'm seeing a ton of toilet paper being sold. Funny thing is is that nobody seems to care about other basic necessities.. water shelves are stocked full, paper towel shelves are pretty full as well, along with the medicine and hygiene aisles. It's pretty crazy right now, stockers need major help and we've had people called in left and right. I've never seen anything like this before


Even During The Apocalypse, We Still Have Standards.

At the Food for Less in Hollywood (CA) it's shades of armagedden..... Entire shelves empty, everything strewn about, looks like it was ransacked during a robbery. Don't even think about getting bread, eggs, cereal, pasta. All the canned beans were gone except for the organic Goya black beans because we would rather starve than pay $2.99 for a can of beans apparently.


Why Even Bother Unpacking?

I work in the frozen department and the frozen vegetables are always gone in 30 minutes to an hour. We just left them all in the boxes or on the end caps.

We just gave up


None Of This Adds Up

This is a story my coworker told me. She works on the service desk of our store and all our cashiers are wearing gloves. He brings up a few items to be rung in and he is wearing a mask and full paint suit.

She grabs the first item to scan with her gloves hand and surfaces we disinfect every hour and he SCREAMS at her. Telling her not to touch his items at all and that he works closely with people who could die.

I don't think a crowded hardware store is really a place you should be going to in the first place but what do I know.


Recycle. Reduce. Reuse.

During one of our big rushes I was stocking produce up near the cash registers. Heard my boss ask a guy if he wanted his receipt, to which the man replied "only if I can use it to wipe my a**."

I just about died.


Canada, Eh?

The funniest thing I've seen as a Canadian is the canned beans aisle.

There are baked beans. There are BBQ beans. Plain beans. Beans in tomato sauce. Chili beans. Lots of 'em.

But there's a 2ft column of the aisle that's completely bare. That's where the Maple beans used to be....


Oh sh!t. I wonder what the spam aisles in Hawaiian grocery stores look like...


Only The Essentials

I saw someone buying two large crates of beer and a giant brick of cheese. Nothing else.


well if alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills the virus outside our body, i wonder what BAC level would be necessary to kill the virus inside our body?


Elmo = TP

People at my store treating a pallet of toilet paper coming out of the back like it's 1997 and we just wheeled out tickle me Elmo.

Not a single pack made it to the shelf


We had ONE case of lysol wipes come in yesterday, according to the guy in housewares it was at the bottom of the pallet, but he had a line of people waiting for it. More people than there are tubes in the box. There's a limit two, but you can guess how that went.

We keep TP up on the high wall because it's big and light and makes a pretty good display.... at one point we had one guy up on the stair ladder dropping them down and people were just lining up to catch. Its stupid.


Carbo Load

No pasta, no hand sanitizer, no paracetamol or ibuprofen, no antibacterial wipes, no toilet paper, no hand soap.

Yet we still have plenty of regular soap and pasta sauces. Apparently people don't care if their hands are clean if it's a bar of soap that cleaned them it's not good enough. And they plan on eating plain pasta until it gives them explosive diarrhea.


No, Forget That. THIS Is The Carbo Load.

Yesterday we got an entire pallet of assorted ramen and I decided to just unwrap it and drag it to the sales floor. The vultures picked it clean in about an hour.



Four carts of crap. Over $1,000 worth. 'I NEED PEANUTS. WHERE IS THE SOAP, I NEED TO STOCK UP ON KOMBUCHA'. all the frozen stuff, bread, beans LOTS of beans. Meat. Its like Doomsday Preppers


The largest order I ever bagged (boxed, really) when I was a courtesy clerk, was a little over four thousand dollars.

That was literally the military.


At Least There's A Rebate?

every single mask we sell is gone. Then our store started selling 2 masks (that dont do anything just crappy paper ones) for $40. I died a little bit.

edit- mail in rebate to save 20 bucks. Still pretty bad.


Slap It Out Of His Hand

We have a sign. 2 hand sanitizers limit per person.

Dude just walks up trying to take two cases.


How do you even plan on using 2 cases of hand sanitizer?


People resell them since they're sold out most places.


It wouldn't be America if people weren't doing everything in their power to get rich off the misery of others


Hahaha, Please...This Is Florida.

In Florida we're pretty calm. Normally this kind of mania happens yearly at the start of hurricane season, so a lot of people are decently stocked already. Plus quarantined doesn't mean losing electricity or having to put up metal shutters so this is downright easy in comparison.


"Watch out for toilet paper looters."

I work at a home Depot in Maryland, and yesterday when the announcement went out that the schools were closing everyone went nuts. We sold the rest of our stock of toilet paper (six whole pallets) and most of our other cleaning supplies in the three hours after the announcement

I never thought that I, a worker at a hardware store, would have to listen with a sense of realism to the phrase "Watch out for toilet paper looters"


On The Other End Of The Spectrum: People Downplaying It

Probably the usual for most. Two cases were found in my area (Metro Detroit) on Wednesday I believe. By Thursday afternoon my fairly large Kroger was gutted. Cleaning supplies, paper products, water, canned goods, pasta, rice, bread, and a majority of frozen foods were all gone. They were restocking a fair amount as I was leaving last night but that will probably go quick as well.

The hoarding is crazy and annoying but was completely expected. I'm more floored with how many customers openly downplay it or try and shame people who are taking precautions. I started wearing nitrile gloves while I work and an elderly lady told me I was overreacting and if I caught it I'd probably recover fully. I told her I'm less concerned about getting sick myself, and more worried about potentiallty spreading it to someone more vulnerable. I could already have it and be asymptomatic, who knows! She literally just laughed and said her time is almost up anyway and rolled away in her power scooter.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.