‘It’s crazy’: Customers crows Winnipeg grocery stores in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

By | March 13, 2020

WINNIPEG — Empty store shelves and long lineups greeted crowds of shoppers at the Costco on Regent Avenue Friday.

“It’s crazy! It’s so crazy! People are pushing each other,” said shopper Kelsey Scott. 

“No one is really nice. It’s pretty bad.” 

Lineups formed in front of the store before it opened in the morning. 

Once the doors did open, customers told CTV News Winnipeg the aisles were quickly packed with people looking in vain for supplies. 

“They’re all out of toilet paper, and paper towels, and Kleenex right now” said Patricia Johnston. 

Some shoppers are all out of patience too. 

“People are getting agitated, excited and a little aggressive,” said customer Bob Johnston. 

“I almost watched two guys get in a fist fight just trying to get in line.”

It isn’t just Costco experiencing heavy demand for toilet paper. Shoppers have been confronted with empty shelves at various Sobeys and Walmarts too. 

“If I had enough staff, one person, all they would do all day is fill this section up with toilet paper,” said Munther Zeid, owner of Food Fare. 

His Portage Avenue and Mount Royal location still had toilet paper on the shelves Friday afternoon. Zeid said to be fair, he is limiting customers to two packages per person. 

“I think we will have enough to last the weekend. But it depends on how the day goes.”

Zeid said, just like the virus is spreading, so too is fear and that is leading customers to panic-buy all sorts of items in addition to toilet paper. 

“They’re stocking up on food now. Canned goods, fresh meat, everything seems to be moving right now. Everything.”


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