Panic Buying Comes to Town

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — These are certainly strange times we are living in.

As many of you have probably experienced, there’s a run on certain sanitary and food items. Eyewitness News headed to a local supermarket to see how everyone’s dealing with longer lines and depleted inventory.

The local supermarket is usually a busy place but stores like Schiel’s Family Market are seeing a surge in shoppers because of the coronavirus outbreak. Just how busy?

“Busier than a snowstorm. Busier than floods. It’s just been the busiest we’ve ever been,” store manager Robbie Paul said.

It’s panic buying and it’s happening in our own backyard.

“I kind of expected it in New York or Los Angeles or something but I never expected it here in Wilkes-Barre,” shopper Sherry Ogan of Hanover Township said.

“I never saw anything like it. It’s scary. It’s like a movie. It’s like a frightening movie and it really has me scared,” shopper Rose Yuhas of Wilkes-Barre said.

Some came to shop just for the essentials.

“Bread, eggs, milk. You know, stuff that you run out of every week in general,” shopper Donna Oeller of Laurel Run said.

But in the age of novel coronavirus and cases numbering by the dozens in Pennsylvania, stores are running out of inventory quicker than they can get it in.

“I didn’t realize that it was going to be such a mass hysteria,” Oeller said.

Schiel’s has inventory orders coming in every day but…

“Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, stuff like that, it’s real sporadic. Everything is on. They only send what they have and then they allot you so much and usually we put that out and it’s gone within an hour,” Paul said.

It’s why many shoppers are buying now what they can and preparing to hunker down at home.

“I’m kind of stocking up on food that will last a long time,” Ogan said.

“I’m just a worrywart so I’m better off staying in the house,” Yuhas said.

The manager at Schiel’s Family Market on Hanover Street says because of panic shopping, some staffers are showing up at 5 a.m. They are meeting delivery drivers to get product into the store and on shelves as quickly as they can.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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