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.


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Maybe that is why that song struck such a chord... we can all relate to family secrets and family crazy.

Even though every generation has gotten a little more open and willing to discuss trauma, we still have a long way to go.

There is something to be said for not airing out all of the dirty laundry.

Everybody doesn't have to know private business.

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