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  • You've probably seen the videos of people in long lines waiting to shop.

  • Or perhaps stood in a long line yourself.

  • In recent days, panicked shoppers in America and several other countries have cleared store

  • shelves.

  • So what are the most purchased items?

  • What foods do we think still suck even in the midst of a pandemic?

  • In the US, when data analytics firms compared dollar sales from the first two weeks of March

  • 2020 to the same period last year, there was a huge rise in the purchasing of a number

  • of items.

  • Let's tackle the obvious one first, shall we?

  • Toilet paper.

  • The purchase of toilet paper went up 60% in the first week of March over the same time

  • in 2019.

  • By the end of the second week of March, toilet paper purchase was up 212.7%.

  • It's a real head scratcher, in the majority of Covid-19 cases, bowel problems have not

  • been an issue.

  • Yet for reasons unknown, some of us went wild, panic buying enough toilet paper to last a

  • year.

  • It's like westerners decided that the dividing line between civilization and falling into

  • chaos was toilet paper.

  • Don't get us wrong, toilet paper is one of the great inventions of mankind.

  • Prior to toilet paper becoming commercially available in 1857 and mainstream in the 1920's,

  • people used a wide variety of tools as bathroom aid.

  • It generally depended on how rich you were or where you lived in the world.

  • In colonial America they used corn cobs, moss or whatever paper goods they got their hands

  • on.

  • Beginning in 1792, a popular household book, the Old Farmer's Almanac came with a hole

  • punched in the upper left hand corner so you could hang it on a string on a hook, to keep

  • it handy anywhere you might need it.

  • That included the outhouse where it was both reading and butt cleaning material.

  • Today, in some places toilet paper is a luxury, you might use leaves, or your left hand and

  • a bucket of water.

  • In other places, toilet paper is wasteful and unsanitary--bidets are preferred.

  • What we're trying to say is even if we do run out of toilet paper--which is not likely,

  • we'll figure out other good solutions.

  • We won't revert to using tersoriums like the ancient Romans.

  • You don't have to look it up, we'll tell you: a tersorium was a natural sponge--usually

  • harvested from the Mediterranean--on the end of a long stick.

  • When not in use the tersorium was kept in a pail of heavily salted sea water in the

  • communal bathroom...yes, that means exactly what you think it does--you shared the sponge

  • on a stick with everyone who used the latrine.

  • [NARRATOR: Clears throat]

  • Anyway, back to the most purchased items during a panic list.

  • As you can guess, in mid March there was a lot of buying aimed at combating the spread

  • of the virus: Aerosol disinfectant was up 518.9% over last

  • year as was: Rubbing alcohol up 277 % Multipurpose cleaners up 242.9% and bath & shower wipes up 221.6 % Does this mean that people are stocking up?

  • Or is this a sign that people weren't properly disinfecting before viruses dominated the

  • news?

  • Gross.

  • Some people thought it prudent to have health and medicine items on hand in case someone

  • in their household got sick:

  • Thermometers went up 497.7% Cold & flu remedies up 158.8U00:03:00,189 --> 00:03:08,319 Facial tissue up 195% Cough remedies up 120.2% and vitamins up 93.2V00:03:08,319 --> 00:03:14,049 While hand sanitizer sales were unusually high the second week of March at a 207.5W00:03:14,049 --> 00:03:19,090 increase over last year, they actually plummeted since the first week of March 2020 when purchases

  • were up 470%.

  • The drop in quantity sold wasn't due to a lack of demand though, but from stores not

  • being able to keep it stock.

  • As for food, many households stocked up on shelf stable staples many of which are commonly

  • purchased prior to hurricanes and blizzards.

  • Bottled water purchases went up 99.4% Powdered milk products were up 126.3d00:03:41,000 --> 00:03:46,980 Dried beans up 230.5

  • soup was up 126.6% Oat milk continues to have a real moment,

  • with purchases up a whopping 347.3h00:04:02,920 --> 00:04:06,989 Quite a few people thought it was very important to keep extra snacks on hand:

  • Popcorn went up 47.7% over mid March 2019 as did:

  • Pretzels at 46.7% Potato chips at 29.6q00:04:16,140 --> 00:04:22,720 Pastries at 23.6% Ice cream at 23.1% and chocolate at 19r00:04:22,720 --> 00:04:27,190 At the Infographics Institute we did some social media analysis and also sent our least

  • favorite intern to a nearby grocery store for some eyewitness investigation.

  • Based on our completely non scientific research: Shoppers stocked up on liquor, all except

  • for one particular brand of beer which will probably have to change its name in the future.

  • Though perishable, milk, eggs, butter, cheese and bread were also popular items that stores

  • sold out of quickly.

  • Things eager shoppers left behind in ravaged stores were: Manhattan clam chowder--yeah,

  • the tomato based kind, pickled herring, chocolate hummus, unsalted baked potato chips and refrigerated

  • spinach pasta.

  • Frozen pineapple and ham pizza, frozen and canned lima beans, vegan cheese and nonfat

  • milk were also left forlorn on shelves.

  • Last but not least, data shows that shoppers bought 17.7% less perfume and 17% less sunscreen

  • than mid March of 2019.

  • So the majority of us are planning to hang out inside and practice social distancing.

  • Excellent!

  • Why don't you chill and watch another video?

  • Ever wonder what would happen if you ate nothing but junk food?

  • Check out this video to find out: Or if you've ever been curious about how

  • prisoners buy items.

  • Check out how do prices work in the prison economy?

  • If you've been standing in a shopper's line for the supermarket while you watched

  • this video, perhaps you'd like to watch both videos, you probably have the time.

You've probably seen the videos of people in long lines waiting to shop.

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B2 US toilet paper toilet paper march purchased milk

Most Purchased Items During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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