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‘Get a grip’: B.C. woman appeals for calm after watching couple clean out meat section in supermarket

Click to play video 'Panic buying and hoarding continue despite B.C. government assurances of no shortages' Panic buying and hoarding continue despite B.C. government assurances of no shortages
Despite government assurances that there will not be food shortages, panic buying and hoarding are still happening across B.C. Brad MacLeod reports – Mar 16, 2020

A Kelowna-area woman is pleading with British Columbians to stay calm and work together, after witnessing a couple hoarding meat at her local Save-On-Foods.

Taylor Born has shared a short snippet of video of the Sunday-night incident on her Facebook page, which appears to show a middle-aged couple taking two shopping carts filled to the brim with meat through the checkout.

READ MORE: B.C. urges U.S. citizens to stay away as province records 3 new coronavirus deaths

 

“They were laughing and being quite boastful about filling up the carts and having everything and ‘cleaning the house’ as they said,” Born told Global News.

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B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirms 30 new COVID-19 cases on Monday – Mar 16, 2020

“It was quite clear they had a motive when they were entering the store.”

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Born said she saw the couple in the meat aisle cutting other people off and grabbing all of the remaining product at the Lake Country store.

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She said she was left shocked, upset and angry.

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In a statement, Save-On-Foods acknowledged there was “no doubt” that some panic buying was going on in its stores, describing Born’s video as “unfortunate.”

The company said it was taking measures to mitigate hoarding, including putting limits on some in-demand items.

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“We are doing our best to manage it,” said the company.

“It is our job to make sure we can feed as many western Canadians as possible and this, in addition to ensuring our team members and our customers remain safe, is our biggest priority.”

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Customers do not need to load up unnecessarily on goods, the company added, echoing health officials’ directives, and that its supply chain was strong and functioning well.

The incident comes after weeks of images of “panic buying” flooding social media, with empty shelves and shopping carts stacked with toilet paper now a common sight.

READ MORE: Panic-buying during coronavirus pandemic will only help spread disease, B.C. expert warns

Over the weekend, B.C. health officials stressed the need for residents to be “measured” in their purchases.

“We’ve been reassured by our retailers that our supply chains are strong. They are restocking the shelves. It’s really a function of demand, and we don’t have an issue of not having enough supply,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Saturday.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Panic buying and stockpiling at B.C. stores' Coronavirus: Panic buying and stockpiling at B.C. stores
Coronavirus: Panic buying and stockpiling at B.C. stores – Mar 13, 2020

Health Minister Adrian Dix added that the province had been assured by the Retail Council of Canada that there are no supply shortages for essentials.

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Some items, however, such as hand sanitizer and masks, are still hard to find in some places, and there have been numerous reported incidents across the continent of attempts at price-gouging for them.

READ MORE: Experts say panic buying during COVID-19 could be self-defeating

Born said she’d like to see all major retailers put limits on popular items.

“Because if not, the fear is just going to continue to skyrocket, and people will continue to panic buy and it’s going to only result in the vulnerable people of our community suffering,” she said.

As for the meat hoarders, Born had a simple message: “Get a grip.”