Self-Distancing, Panic Buying: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

It’s calving season in Central AZ. This is just one of the cuties I saw on a drive about a week ago.

I started staying home last week so I’m about a week and a half into my isolation. Hubby excepted, of course. Most of my friends are doing the same. I saw a friend of mine walking her dog by my house the other day and I ran out to say hi, ten feet apart, of course. Sunday I ate the last of my homemade coconut milk yogurt so I made some more. It will be ready on Monday. Hubby does the shopping for us, and reports the stores still with many empty shelves. To keep busy I found a Youtube site, Lunch Doodles by children’s author Mo Willems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmzjCPQv3y8  The series is set up for children but it thought it was fun and some good practice for me to illustrate my own children’s story. I’m also involved in a Pixar workshop on storytelling. You can find it at https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar/storytelling. I figured that Pixar has a great storytelling set up and is very successful at it so I thought I’d check it out. I’ve done two sections so far and have really enjoyed it. So if you’re looking to strengthen your writing skills, check it out. Both the doodles and the storytelling are free! Final thing, if you aren’t doing Facebook, you might want to come back. Tons of people are posting recipes, (I can’t eat regular bread but the post on cast iron skillet bread looked so good!), games and exercises for you and the kids, fun links to games, movies, art, music, and so much more. Just scroll by any post that you dislike and get to the good stuff.

Stay safe. Stay well.

I don’t often do this but with the store shelves continuing to be empty I thought I’d post this piece by author Angela Chrysler www.angelabchrysler.com. The entire newsletter is full of great advice, but this part of her post seemed especially significant to me.  It’s on panic buying and to be honest, I’ve found myself doing the same things, the last time I was in the store. So, with many thanks to Angela, here’s her post on:

The 5 Stages of Panic Buying.

I first started seeing panic buying two weeks ago in early March. Was 7 March really only that recent ago?
I didn’t panic buy in Stage #1. I stood back, wrinkling my brow and asked, “What? Toilet paper?” I didn’t panic buy in stage #2 when herd mentality kicked in. I knew how to recognize the lemming stage. I did however panic buy in stage 3 with the, “Oooh! I finally found this!”
Here are the multiple stages of panic buying and how to control them as they hit.
 
Stage #1 – “How we feel in control when things are out of control.”
Summary:
I see Olaf in Frozen II sitting in the forest with children who proceed to shove crystals into his face. “This is how we feel in control when things are feeling out of control.” It’s an old instinct that runs deep and, if you can’t recognize it, you most likely will have it. If you’ve ever been without, it will hit you harder than most. Think of those who lived during the First Great Depression.
The problem with it:
This is the stage that sets off the chain reaction to all the other stages. It leads to economic downfall and an imbalance of supply and demand. This Stage is the stage that starts all other stages. It is the catalyst. The cause that creates the effect.
How to recognize and stop it:
Are you buying what is not on your list? Do you need it now? Are you being emotional or logical? First and foremost, are you scared? Every one of these stages is a fear response, but this one more than most because it is the least logical. Nothing more. Be honest with yourself. Be aware of it, and remind yourself that buying that extra gallon (or five) of milk will not solve the issue. You will still have a possibly lethal virus running rampant around you. You may still get sick. You will just have one (or five) more gallons of milk to store in your fridge. Buying that milk will not stop the virus.  
 
Stage #2 – The Lemming Stage.
Summary:
“Everyone was buying the giant balls of butter, so I got on for each of us!” This is one of my favorite lines from 3rd Rock from the Sun. Sally Solomon came home with four turkeys when she experienced her first Thanksgiving in Season 1. We do this because when monkey sees, monkey does. We don’t understand WHY everyone is buying toilet paper, but we assume they have news that we don’t have and stopping to ask for an explanation could result in you losing out while others grab and run. Act first. Ask later.
My husband is an Aries: the one astrological sign that likes to mess with people…because he can.  “Ooh!” My husband said and dramatically snatched up a kitchen sponge, clutching it to his body protectively, then, slunk away as if someone would wrestle it from him. “What’s that?” Shoppers around him instantly zoomed in to the wall of sponges and started stocking up. Seriously people, pay attention to your emotions specifically the impulses driven by fear.
I also call this stage the “lemming” stage as these are the panic buyers who buy because they see everyone else doing it.
The problem with it:
This stage feeds the next lemming beside you. Panic breeds panic. While Stage #1 launches the downfall, the lemming stage builds the momentum and keeps it going until nothing is left. Still largely fear-based, this stage doesn’t have a drop of logical thought around.
How to recognize and stop it:
This one is easy. The ONLY reason why you would panic buy in stage #2 is because you consistently saw the same item in everyone else’s cart OR you went to a store, saw that the shelf was almost bare and you grabbed the last two cans of dog food before remembering that you don’t even own a dog. Or you were one of the ten shoppers who saw my husband clutching the sponges to his chest. Ask yourself, am I buying this because I need it or because I saw what others are doing?
 
 
Stage #3 – The Adrenaline Stage –
“Ooh! I haven’t been able to find this!”

Summary:
Still fear based and still no logic in sight. I did this yesterday at Target. I found THE LAST packs of tissues!! (I didn’t need them). They were travel sized, BUT THEY WERE MINE (I didn’t need them)! “At Last” played in my head. I cried, actually cried, with relief. I wouldn’t even put them in the cart. They were MINE (I didn’t need them).  
The problem with it:
This one is tricky because it has the illusion of logic attached to it…even though it doesn’t. Did you read the part where I said I didn’t need them? Yes. Buying something because you finally found it looks logically, but if you’re buying something for anything other than need, it isn’t logical. It’s emotional. I have $6.00 less in my wallet than I had yesterday for something I don’t need, and I took from someone else who actually may need it. It was this event yesterday that led me to writing this article.
How to recognize and stop it:
Recognizing this stage is simple. Did you ever use the phrase, “I found it!?”Before you buy ask, “Do I need it?” If the answer is no then yes, you are in stage #3. If you DO need it, you’re not panic buying UNLESS…You are buying more than you NEED. Logically determine your need before you buy. Not sure if you need it? Then ask yourself, “Can I do without this?”  
 
Stage #4 – The Stage of Overthinking Foresight –
“I found it NOW, but what if I can’t get it when I need it?”

Summary:
This is the stage that has not happened yet…but it will. This stage will hit alongside Stage #5. You can and probably will have Stage #4 and Stage #5 at the same time. There is one subtle difference: Stage #5 can last for years, even a lifetime. Stage #4 will only last for a month or two after the demand drops and supply can finally recover.
This stage will hit when toilet paper does make its way back on the shelves. This is the one I feel the most. I could easily buy 3 dozen packages of toilet paper when they FINALLY hit the shelves…just because I can’t trust they won’t be there. I know others will have the same feeling. If we don’t keep Stage #4 in check, we could easily start the whole cycle over again, prolonging the supply deficit.  
The problem with it:
This will keep mandatory essentials scarce. It will continue to keep the bare shelves bare. It will start panic buying over again from Stage #2.
How to recognize and stop it:
This is the first stage that is not only emotional, but it is VERY logical. This is why Stage #4 is so dangerous. One could easily convince themselves why they need to buy and will stock up. It is easy to recognize, but not so easy to stop. In fact, it’s downright DIFFICULT to stop. It’s simple. Imagine the paper product aisle in Walmart fully stocked. What would you do? If you answered, “Buy it all” you are probably in Stage #4. What I recommend is the following:
Consult an old grocery list. One you used March 2019.
Buy only what is on that list and ONLY in the quantities you would have purchased in March 2019.
This stage truly is the “it looks easy on paper, but in practice…” I know. I’m right there with you. This stage is going to be hard.
 
Stage #5 – Trauma Induced Stage –
“I missed you! I’m getting you now because I finally can! I finally feel empowered! I will never live without you again!”

Summary:
This stage will arrive alongside stage #4. But, when stage #4 dies out, stage #5 will stick around a little (or a lot) longer. This one is the one that could stick with any one person for the rest of their lives. This is where the trauma of having no toilet paper for 3 months could easily result in keeping a year’s worth of toilet paper for the rest of your life. Do you remember that weird quirk your grandmother had where she always saved every last piece of wrapping paper no matter how mangled it was? Or your grandfather who kept every newspaper because there was always a way he could use it later? Yeah. That is what Stage #5 looks like years later.
In short, Stage #5 is what the trauma of doing without leaves behind.
The problem with it:
It is a trauma that, if left unchecked, could result in a mind or severe case of hoarding. It can lead to storage problems, financial ruin, or, in some cases, severe forms of clutter.  
How to recognize and stop it:
Does the thought of not buying 6 months’ supply of toilet paper renew feelings of panic? Do you literally fight back tears or violently lash out if someone tries to prevent or question the quantity of toilet paper you purchase? If any part of this stage fills you with a massive waves of emotion, you’re probably in stage #5.
If it is a mild case, to stop it, apply the methods of stage #4. Again, easier said than done. If it is an advanced case, a licensed therapist may be in order.

I know that made my blog post longer than normal but I thought it important that we examine our own emotional situation and work together to get the supply lines back to normal.

Giveaways:

Hooray! The St. Patrick Day giveaway still live! This is one of our shortest giveaways and sure to be shut down any day now, so be sure to click on the link right away. As always, we ask that to win, you follow us on one or more of several social media, or our newsletters, or our websites. You don’t have to join all of them, but to find out more about the many wonderful authors, you’ll want to do that. Here’s the link. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ or go to https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2703c98f110/  Sign up today!

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, April 27th at 1pm. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

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Newest Releases:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on AmazonAppleBarnes and NobleKobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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