GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Shopping is a struggle these days.
Coronavirus pandemic panic shopping has left store shelves empty.
You can still find plenty of food, but toilet paper is nowhere to be found.
"It's been real hard as a mother trying to find things like toilet tissue, diapers and wipes, it’s really hard," Greensboro mom Erica Stone said.
Stone said she was at the Pyramid Village Walmart last week when a fight almost broke out over toilet paper.
"The lady working there had told everybody 'we have to scan it and put it on the shelf before you can take it,' and they were literally about to knock this woman over."
She said the line of people started knocking each other over to be the first to grab toilet paper, disregarding what the employee said.
"It's sad we’ve gotten to this point where people are trying to fight over toilet tissue, I mean we all need it we just have to be patient."
WFMY News 2's Jess Winters stopped at 7 retail and grocery stores before finding toilet paper at Trader Joe's.
WFMY News 2 has reached out to many corporations that have Triad locations to see if they've ramped up their shipment schedules, or made any other changes due to the pandemic.
Here are the responses we've gotten so far.
- In response to strong demand in stores, Walmart is hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May. In North Carolina, Walmart plans to hire more than 5,800 associates to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.
- Apply by visiting Walmartcareers.com or text ‘jobs’ to 240240 to get started.
- As a reward for their hard work and dedication to serving customers during this unprecedented health crisis, Walmart will provide more than $365 million in cash bonuses to hourly associates in the U.S. Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will payout on April 2.
- In addition, the company will accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus for associates a month early. The early bonus payout will add up to $180 million nationwide.
- As reminder, these steps are in addition to last week’s announcement of a new COVID-19 emergency leave policy that provides support to associates if they are impacted by the coronavirus.
We know that many guests are stocking up on key essentials, and we’re working hard to accommodate this increased demand. To ensure as many guests as possible can find the items they need, we’ve taken measures such as:
- Coordinating stores, distribution centers and suppliers so that the things our guests need most – cleaning supplies, food, over-the-counter medicine and baby products—are fast-tracked through the supply chain and prioritized for re-stocking.
- Placing limits on products like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, dry goods like soup and pasta, food like milk and eggs, bottled water and more. We’ll continue to make adjustments to limits as needed, and respectfully ask all guests to consider their immediate needs and purchase accordingly so more families can find the products they need.
- Working to fulfill online orders and staffing up services like Order Pickup and Drive Up. However, due to high demand, we are facing delays. We apologize for any inconvenience.
- Reducing hours and closing all stores by 9 p.m. daily to help us as we replenish and deeply clean our stores for our guests.
Especially in times of uncertainty, we believe everyone deserves to have access to quality food and essential medicine. We want to ensure all our shoppers have access to in-demand products. We are working closely with our suppliers to replenish our inventories. This includes, but is not limited to sourcing new suppliers; hiring more associates; pushing more frequent deliveries. It’s important to shop responsibly and purchase only what you need, knowing that we will continue to refill our shelves.
This work, like all other work we do at Harris Teeter, is guided by our commitment to provide an Incredible Place to Work & Shop. To that end, we will seek to make decisions that balance the safety of our valued associates with our commitments to our shoppers and communities.
We encourage shoppers to be patient and kind to one another and our valued associates.
As many of you have noticed, we’ve experienced a surge of business during this time. As a result, we’ve taken steps to control the number of members in our warehouses and asked that members and employees practice social distancing. We’ve also reduced some services.
We’ve increased our protocols in sanitizing surfaces, including shopping cart handles, merchandise shelves, front-end belts, and registers. Limits have been implemented on certain items to help ensure more members are able to access the merchandise they want and need. Our buyers and suppliers are working to ensure in-demand merchandise, as well as everyday favorites, are available in our warehouses.
As new information becomes available, management is keeping warehouse staff well informed so they can respond swiftly and appropriately. While the circumstances continue to change and we modify our operations as necessary, we thank you for your patience and cooperation. As new developments occur, be assured we are committed to taking care of our members and employees and to our mission of providing low prices, quality merchandise, and exceptional service.
How often are you restocking items on your shelves?
We are seeing increasing numbers of members in our clubs, and certain items like paper products and cleaning supplies are in high demand. Please know we are working to replenish these items as fast as humanly possible. We'll continue to work night and day to get these products to you.
What level of inventory do you have in the clubs? Have your prices increased due to shortages?
We will work to keep our clubs stocked and prices fair. As one would expect, paper products, cleaning supplies, and other items are in high demand as customers prepare for the possible impact of COVID-19.
What is being done to further prepare Sam’s Club for the Coronavirus?
We continue to monitor the development of the coronavirus situation globally and are closely following official recommendations while working with our suppliers to understand and mitigate any supply chain disruptions. Providing members with the products they want, and need remains our focus.
Why can’t I buy toilet paper or other cleaning products online?
We are seeing increasing numbers of members in our clubs, and certain items like paper products and cleaning supplies are in high demand. As a result, some items may only be purchased in Club at this time. Please know we are working to replenish these items both online and in the club as fast as humanly possible. We'll continue to work night and day to get these products to you.
FACTS NOT FEAR
Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.
WHERE YOU GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS IS IMPORTANT
It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media.
NC CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE
The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 2-1-1 or 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.
You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information.