Hamsters, squirrels and other creatures that go into hibernation ensure that they have stockpiled their nests with food to help them over the winter period. Other creatures overeat (like bears) to ensure that they can survive with extra body fat (by eating copious amounts of salmon for example). This is nature and how things are done. Going with the natural flow of their winter sleep and the colder weather.

But now we have Human Hamsters who despite everything have gone completely mad and are stockpiling beyond all comprehension. It is a very much ‘me first’ way of thinking with little compassion for other people. And they stockpile the strangest things. Corona is a virus which affects the lungs and respiratory tract, so please someone explain to me why you then stockpile huge amounts of toilet paper? I had to smile at something on social media, that someone wrote, with a great sense of humor that: ‘If I sneeze near anyone, everyone around me poops their pants’ ! 

But come on everyone. Where is your empathy for others? We are just all behaving like a herd of sheep. You know follow the leader and do not think for yourself at all. I mean how dumb is that.

And it is so easy to allow the spreading worldwide panic to make us all fearful. Of course, the things I read in newspapers and see on the television affect me. I then start to worry about the older generation who is not so mobile, often at home alone and how are they supposed to beat their way through the overcrowded supermarkets for their small amount of shopping. They probably only use a small amount of toilet paper on a weekly basis, but the shelves are empty. 

My son told me that our local supermarkets were so incredibly busy. You could hardly park your car anywhere and people were in the shops, far too many as the limit was 100 people maximum in one place at a time (Governmental rules) and my husband stood behind a person yesterday who had 20 loaves of bread in his trolley. People are pushing trollies about that are overflowing, stocking up on pasta, rice, tinned foods, toilet paper of course, hand soap (now this is sensible to may be have a little bit more in house), but the rest is completely ridiculous.

Supermarkets have issued page full statements in the national press that there is plenty of supply in the warehouses and that shops will be stocked again as soon as humanly possible and yet the ridiculous overbuying continues. People are just not listening and only thinking of the ‘me first’ attitude.

I have to think now (as I type) about the Albert Heijn chain of supermarkets here in the Netherlands, who often have campaigns like you all know: buy 2 get one free! And we all do it. The thought of getting something for nothing is something no one can resist. This is actually called here: ‘hamsteren’ which refers of course to the beginning of my blog.

It seriously worries me that people are behaving in this way. There is no thought whatsoever for people who are working and maybe want to do their shopping later, finding the shelves plundered, empty and nothing available. These are people, like our Prime Minster said this week in a press conference, who work in hospitals and care homes. That is why shops are open longer hours these days. So that people who work in shifts can still go to the shops. People doing important jobs, like police, firemen, doctors and nurses, process operators, people in the food industry and so on, ensuring that companies keep going to keep stocks up.

What I really found scandalous was that some shops had put up prices by several hundred percent. 3 bottles of hand soap for Euro 41, something which normally costs Euro 2-3 a bottle.  How much crazier can it get! But hey, there is always someone who looks for the opportunity to make money at another’s expense. And then I think about the more vulnerable groups of people, people with handicaps, chronic illnesses and the elderly who are confined to their homes.

Even online shopping has been affected. The enormous demand means that there are delays and again people are stockpiling. Isn’t it time to install a limit to the amount people can order? 

To my mind the most important advice is be sensible and do not blindly follow the herd. Think for yourself and make up your own mind. Think about what is important and what not. Of course, if you feel ill and have symptoms, stay at home, do things that you never have time to do. This is a common human courtesy not to infect others. Follow your own intuition. And follow the rules that governments and experts have advised. 

Is it really important at the moment to go out for dinner, when in actual fact now a lot of restaurants and cafes are closed? One really good initiative I saw was that restaurants were still cooking and offering a free delivery service. At least some people are thinking.

Yesterday I just happened to be working on a blog translation for a good friend of mine. It was another totally different look at the panic about the Corona Virus. You can find this on his website on this link if you are interested to read. Whilst working on this some strange things happened around me. I won’t go into too much details as there are many sceptics who will comment, but I just know that when this happens, there is a special message coming through. It has happened to me before when I was working on other things for him.

In English and Dutch

Summarizing: I can only say, let’s stop reacting in such an irresponsible and stupid way. Be sensible and also think about other people. This is not a virus to test our ego’s it is, to my mind, a learning moment to actually think about others. Cupboards full of toilet paper, pasta, rice and tinned goods will in no way protect you from catching the virus. But by taking note of rules and decisions made by experts will. If everyone listens to the advice and actually does it, it might be possible in the next three weeks to stop this pandemic going even further. There are a lot of vulnerable people out there. It is just tough luck if sport events are cancelled, tough luck if you cannot do things you might like to do, this is all about thinking of others and respect.

Remember you are not a human hamster. You are not in winter hibernation. Tomorrow there will be more stocks in the shops. There is no point fighting with one another who is going to get more rolls of toilet paper into their trolley. There is no point overfilling your cupboards or larders. You do not need 10 packets of painkillers, one or two is enough. Leave the rest on the shelves so that other people can buy it too. For those of you who need yet another confirmation. Corona is a virus which is spread by coughs and sneezes and through minute droplets of moisture in the air. It is a virus similar to influenza which is a normal thing. It may be a new strain, but we are literally feeding it, by being so ridiculous. Stop right now!

Have we all gone mad? Is this the side effect of the Corona virus?

I hope when you have read my blog, and perhaps Janosh’s too, that you are encouraged to stop and think.

We are neither hamsters nor sheep.

Think for yourself and respect too for others. This is empathy and compassion.


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Jill Kramer

Hi! I'm Jill and I'm a passionate author of books, short stories, columns and blogs.

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