Survival of the Fittest Left Me Out in the Cold at the Supermarket Last Night
I was probably more worried about stocking up on wine than groceries, and I ended up in a jam last night (don’t judge). By the time I made it to the supermarket before the blizzard, I realized I’m really bad at this storm prep thing. As one of the last shoppers before the place shut down for the night, I couldn't help but notice the ransacked and barren shelves, as well as the staffers that looked downright exhausted.
But why did the place look like a tornado hit? There’s actually a legit explanation for it. Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow reported in a Time/Money News article that we hoard before a storm because we fall victim to the mania that ensues with the survivalist hunt for essentials, or what we think are essentials. When the store becomes crowded, and we see others buying dwindling supplies or the last of a grocery item, it triggers us to buy more, faster. Once we see others buying in this manner we start to do the same and often buy things on impulse in a way we’d never buy normally. This explains how I ended up with catfish nuggets, rhubarb and Twinkies in my cart last night.
Our tendency to panic like this can be attributed to humankind’s need to hunt for food back in the caveman era, where it was truly a situation of survival of the fittest, and fastest.
At least the panic for this storm wasn’t as bad as 2015, when there was a shortage of kale termed Kalepocalypse in New York City (no joke). That storm also caused a shortage of quinoa, which gave rise to some serious hipster hysteria, and it wasn't pretty!