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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

People make panic purchases, shops run out of stocks amid coronavirus fear

Neighbourhood stores have reported a steep rise in the number of customers placing large orders over the past two-three days.

Written by Mallica Joshi , Sakshi Dayal | Gurgoan, New Delhi | Updated: March 20, 2020 12:06:47 pm
A crowded Reliance Fresh Store in Safdarjung Enclave Thursday. Photo by (Tashi Tobgyal)

News of bare shelves in supermarkets in several countries that have seen a sizable number of coronavirus cases have started to have an impact in Delhi as well, with people stocking up on grocery items.

Neighbourhood stores have reported a steep rise in the number of customers placing large orders over the past two-three days.

“We have seen a sudden increase in orders for rice, pulses, sugar — almost double. People are primarily buying basics that can get them through for at least a month,” said Chetan Vashisht, who runs Siddhivinayak store in Jangpura Extension.

Online stores such as Big Basket and Prime Now (Amazon) are experiencing a longer turnaround time.

“I tried to place an order for dry goods today to be delivered tomorrow, but was informed delivery will be delayed. Earlier I was able to get things delivered within a two-hour window,” said Raashi Sehgal, 42, a resident of Saket.

In Gurgaon, where malls were ordered shut, stock that usually lasts weeks is running out in days.

At a Safal store in DLF5, for example, employees said their stock, which normally lasts a full day, has been running out in barely three hours since the start of this week.

“We get fresh stock every morning and have been getting the same quantity as always, but the surge of demand each morning has been overwhelming. Things like onion and garlic, which can last longer, run out by 10 am. People are buying things in bulk, everyone is worried,” said an employee.

“At our store, we have today started the practice of allowing only two people inside the shop at a time, in order to avoid a gathering of several people. We have also started using masks and have placed a sanitiser at our counter for people to use,” he said.

At the Le Marche store on Golf Course Road, goods like cooking oil, toilet paper, sanitary napkin, disinfectants and milk are in short supply.

“People have been buying things like flour and milk in bulk since Monday. The situation was especially bad on Wednesday, after it was announced that all shopping malls would be shut. While our store will remain open since the order doesn’t apply to supermarkets, people were either confused or concerned the stock would run out,” said a shopkeeper.

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