Stores Limited the Amount of Water Each Customer Could Buy

Full cart of waters in a grocery store
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Full cart of waters in a grocery store

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the country, people began to stockpile supplies in case of a long-term lockdown. Just like when bad weather is forecasted, it triggered hoarding for the people of the United States. And one item that seemed to be at the top of everyone's list was water.

During the beginning of the frenzied water buying, people rushed to stock up before the supplies ran out. It was not uncommon to see people pushing shopping carts filled to the brim with cases of bottled water or filling up jugs and containers at the store's water stations. While it didn’t get the same amount of publicity as toilet paper did, it drew attention.

But why all the fuss over H2O? To understand this phenomenon, we must first look at the psychology of panic buying. When faced with a crisis, our brains tend to go into survival mode. We become more risk-averse and prioritize the acquisition of resources that we believe will help us weather the storm. For some, this meant stockpiling water.

Some people feared that if their state was ordered into a lockdown, they would be cut off from basic supplies. Water is a particularly important resource, as it is essential for human survival. Without it, we would quickly become dehydrated and suffer from a host of health problems. It's no wonder that people were eager to stock up on as much water as they could get their hands on.

After the initial wave and complaints from other shoppers, many stores stepped in and imposed limits on how much water each person could buy. It seemed that no matter where you went, there were signs reading "2 gallons per customer" or "limit of 4 bottles per purchase." This was a good step by the stores to place the priority people over profits in these situations.

The only logical flaw in all this panic buying was that most of the United States’ drinking water is very good, and nearly endless. There also wasn’t a single instance of COVID-19 attributed to water-based transmission. The decision to stockpile water didn’t come from a sound position, but rather from some human instinct to hoard supplies during times of uncertainty.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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