Let’s Talk About Hamsterkäufe
If you are confused about the word “Hamsterkäufe”, let me explain the word to you. In short, it’s a German term that describes people rushing into supermarkets to purchase things and stockpile (hoard/store) them at home. It is a combination of two German words, the animal “Hamster” (the German and English word is the same) and the word “Käufe” (purchases/buying). Have you seen a hamster eating? Right, it seems like their cheeks are stuffed when they eat and that’s basically the root of the saying “Hamsterkäufe” (plural) or “Hamsterkauf” (singular). We sometimes also just say “hamstern” as it is the verb for it.
Causes For Hamsterkäufe
Usually, you would probably see that mass hysteria happening in times of severe catastrophes, like in wartimes for example. But these days it can also occur for other reasons. Today, the main cause for this can sadly also be the scaremongering media coverage. What makes it worse is that many citizens aren’t able anymore to critically evaluate information’s, thus, they fall victim to the low-quality media coverage. But this is not how it ends. What is worse is that it starts a vicious cycle and even the most rational person will eventually start doing Hamsterkäufe as well, mainly as the irrational behavior of everyone else leads to a shortage of certain but important products. That’s when rational people get fear as well because when they see that products visibly run out of stock, it causes uncertainty. So, in short, at this point, everyone is rushing into the supermarkets to purchase as much as they can, in case the shortage will persist for a longer time.
How It Looks Like
Now I will share some snapshots I’ve taken when I went shopping in my city during times of Covid-19 news. This weekend I went into different stores as everyone did so to get the last available things. I’ve been to several stores of five different supermarket chains and in all of them, there was a shortage of very important products. Quite a lot of important products have either been sold out completely or there were only remainders. At the moment, very scarce products are milk and dairy goods in general, mineral water, canned food, baked goods, potatoes, rice, pasta products, flour, fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, plant oil, loo rolls, and soap. The cheapest products were scarce the most while expensive products often had a few remainders. Here are some pictures…
When most of the popular baked goods ran out, out of a sudden there was a high demand for flour as well. So, it seems like people actually start to bake their own bread in these times. The meat was still available last week but this changed during this weekend and with the high demand, it was now also difficult to get plant oil, which makes sense. All kinds of mineral water brands ran out but sugary drinks such as Coca Cola and soda are still available. This makes me think that people actually live a healthier life today. Same observation counts for fruits and vegetables. When rice and potatoes ran out, the wrapped products like wrapped fried potatoes ran out shortly after as well. Pasta became scarce too but this is a product group where you still can get a few packages. That makes me wonder if people are afraid about the fact that many of those products come from Italy, the European country where the Covid-19 cases quickly increased first. Finally, people are very concerned about loo rolls and soap!
My Personal Opinion
We should take Covid-19 seriously. Even if it might less likely to be dangerous for healthy people, it can be very dangerous for elders or those who have certain medical conditions. On the other side and as I mentioned previously, we should critically evaluate information because there is quite a lot of misinformation spread, even by established media institutions. And I don’t think that panic is a good idea. As seen in Germany right now, the “Hamsterkäufe” introduce very new problems to the whole situation. Now, not everyone can get what they need, this includes people who aren’t able to stockpile things, for example, those in need. While I try to stay updated on the whole Covid-19 situation, I must say that I am actually more afraid about the fact that a small panicking flock of sheeple can cause a vicious cycle and problems for everyone else, than I am afraid of Covid-19.