It has finally happened in Malaysia.
After laughing at our friends in Singapore and Australia, panic buying
has now officially spread to Malaysia.
The decision made by the government on Monday (16 March) to put into effect a nationwide 'movement control order
' has prompted Malaysians to head to their nearest supermarket or convenience store to stock up like it's the end of the world.
The situation has gotten so bad that three major supermarket operators in Malaysia have pleaded with Malaysians
to not engage in panic buying as it could do more harm than good.
But is panic buying really necessary, though?
So, before you race to your nearest supermarket to stock up, ask yourself this really important questions:
#1 Do I really, really need all these items?
Unless you're the unofficial mayor of Kuala Pilah and you're in charge of feeding 500 people every day, you probably don't need 20 packets of rice, 40 rolls of toilet paper and one tonne of vegetables. So, why hoard all these essential items? Be a considerate Malaysian and just buy what you need. Your favourite Mykuali Penang White Curry Noodles will still be waiting for you on the shelf the next time you head back there, we promise.
Please do not be like this guy who stocked up on 17,000 bottles of hand sanitisers to resell them
at a higher price, only to end up not being able to move them and is now under police investigation. You do not want to be known as that guy who bought 20,000 eggs and now they are hatching in your house, do you?
#2 Is there enough stock left for those who really need it?
You have enough money, you have a big car and you are healthy enough to go on a three-hour grocery buying spree; good for you. But have you thought about poor single Aunty Lily who's living alone and has to take the bus to the nearest supermarket every week? Or the friendly kakak
who always ensure that the pantry is clean, but only earn enough to buy one packet of rice every two weeks?
There are plenty of underprivilleged Malaysians, elderly people and those from high-risk groups out there who can only afford to buy a small amount at one go, so please think about them before you clear out the shelves at your nearest convenience stores. Keep an eye out for them and ask them if they need anything. There's no harm giving them something from your own trolley, kan?
#3 What's going to happen to all the food after the lockdown is lifted?
If you want to stock up on biscuits, canned food and snacks, that's absolutely fine, but do you really need to buy all the fresh meat or fruits from the supermarket? Meat and fruits do not last long, so there's no point filling your fridge with food items with an expiry date when you have only three mouths to feed at home. Again, buy what you need and go back later if you need more.
What's worse than panic buying and hoarding essentials is panic buying, hoarding essentials and letting perfectly fresh food expire because you can't finish them in time.
#4 Will I be safe even if I have enough food, hand sanitisers and face masks?
To answer this question: not really. That only means you have a cleaner butt because you have 40 rolls of toilet paper, that's all. Sure, you're a little bit more well-protected, but you can't really prevent how the virus spreads and you're still at the mercy of those around you (hence why you shoud stay at home as much as you can). You can be safe, but you can't really be 100 per cent safe until those around you are clean and safe as well.
Remember, guys; even if you have all the essential items you need, you'll need others to be clean and healthy to curb the spread of the virus. How can they be clean and healthy when you're hoarding all the essential items, right?
#5 Am I really an inconsiderate a**hole?
Unless you answer 'yes' to this question, then you really shouldn't be an inconsiderate a**hole during this testing times. Actually, there's no appropriate time to be an inconsiderate a**hole, but this is the time where we Malaysians need to stand together and be considerate. We can get through this tough times by sticking together, and helping out whenever we can. Look out for each other, especially the elderly and the vulnerable.
Think of it this way: it takes the entire Rebel squad to blow up the Death Star. One incosiderate a**hole probably wouldn't be able to beat a group of Stormtroopers.
So, stay calm and don't panic, guys.
Always remember to practice good hygiene: wash your hands as often as you can, sanitise whenever possible and don't touch your face (leave that to your bae).
Stay safe out there.