Friday, March 13, 2020

To hoard or not to hoard

My country has a Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB in Swedish). They work with issues concerning civil protection, public safety, and so on. For years, they've been trying to tell people that we need to be prepared, that we are responsible for being able to look after ourselves, and that everyone should have a contingency plan for at least a week in case something happens.

Up until now, they've had a hard time getting traction. They've sent out brochures to all Swedish households. They created a TV series, like a reality show, with a simulated crisis. They sent out lists of what to think of what to keep in the house, how to rotate groceries so your supplies are edible in a time of crisis, and so on. 

Most people went "Meh, whatever." 

Right now, even we Swedes have noticed supply chains may be shut down in a time of crisis. We're having to wait for our purchases from China, and some things are sold out in the stores. I think it triggered a collective hoarding instinct where everyone realized we may need supplies for a two-week period.

Last night on TV, a reporter called a representative from this agency to talk about the hoarding. I'm pretty sure the angle was supposed to be that people shouldn't hoard, but it became pretty funny.

The woman from MSB said, "We want people to be prepared. We've been trying to make everyone stock up for years."

Journalist: "But store shelves are getting empty. Doesn't this worry you?"

"They will be restocked."

"Not hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is out."

"People can use soap and water."

"But, aren't you worried about permanent shortages and delivery problems?"

"Not at this time. People may not get exactly the brands they're used to eating, but we don't predict a shortage of food."

And so it went. This probably wasn't as funny as it seemed to me, but her attitude was so refreshing. 

Have you stocked up on anything? Do you think you will need to?

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