For the most part, we’ve been mildly amused by the things people have hoarded in response to the novel coronavirus. I mean, the fact that the mask shortage may affect medical professionals was never funny, but toilet paper and bidets made us chuckle a little in our gallows humor mood. Well, a woman in Utah just opened a lot of people’s eyes about what this behavior is doing to moms on a tight budget: Hoarding items like diapers creates hardships for other parents in need.
“To all you crazy people buying out all the diapers, how am I supposed to diaper my child if I can’t afford 20 at a time like you can?” a tearful Lauren Whitney asked in a TikTok she recorded at Walmart. She had been unable to find diapers for her youngest daughter, she later explained to Buzzfeed. Her post went viral quite quickly, as happens with TikTok, and she was flooded with kind messages from people.
“Thank you so much to everyone that’s offered to help,” Whitney said in a follow-up video. “We’re okay. We’re not the richest people, of course, but we’re not destitute. I just wanted to post that video to bring awareness to the fact that people that are going out and panic buying are causing problems for those of us who can’t afford to do that.”
Diapers aren’t the only shortage affecting parents. In San Francisco, a prenatal program for homeless women said it’s running low on infant formula, diapers, and other essentials as the city is under a shelter-in-place order, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In Atlanta, a mother told local station 11 Alive that she couldn’t find the distilled water she needed to fill the ventilators her sons use at home. Every time she sees people’s carts piled high with cleaning supplies, she gets frustrated.
“You’re putting their lives at risk by your hoarding behavior, please, I beg of you, stop.” Katie McKoy told the station. “Not having access to bleach, not having access to cleaning wipes, puts our children’s health in danger.”
Baby wipes, diapers, and cleaning supplies are consistently sold out at online retailers. Which in turn, is bound to make people panic-buy when they do become available.
An employee at a Costco in Oregon conducted an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit Tuesday night and explained how his store was implementing per-customer restrictions on items like toilet paper. Certain restrictions came down from corporate — as they have at other retailers like Target — but it’s up to local managers to decide when to limit other products. He didn’t happen to mention any limits on diapers or baby supplies.
On Monday, Kerry Washington posted a photo to Twitter asking people not to stockpile WIC-labeled products, in order to leave them for those on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
When stocking up for #SocialDistancing…If you see something labeled “WIC” please chose another brand. People who rely on WIC products to feed their kids cannot. We’re all in this together 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/3OwhR650m4
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) March 16, 2020
“If you see something labeled ‘WIC’ please chose another brand,” the Little Fires Everywhere star suggested. “People who rely on WIC products to feed their kids cannot. We’re all in this together.”
Back in Utah, Lauren Whitney followed limits herself on Tuesday morning, when she returned to the store and found the last two packs of size 5 diapers.
“You know what?” she said. “I’m going to take this one and leave this one for someone else.”
If have been panic-buying diapers and find yourselves with extra, no judgment. But we suggest you take to your local moms groups on Facebook and elsewhere to see if there’s someone with whom you can share your supply. Thinking of others is the only way we’re going to make it out of this crisis with our humanity intact.
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We ranked the best baby wipes available for you to buy now (one at a time, please!).