Connect with us

#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: Panic buying adds additional stress in COVID-19 pandemic

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In some ways, the trend of panic buying is a way for people to take back control in uncertain times. Many psychologists have suggested that panic buying can be understood as playing to our three fundamental psychology needs in (1) autonomy—as in the need for control; (2) relatedness—better defined as “we shopping,” rather than “me shopping,” and (3) competence—whereby a level of accomplishment is achieved and making a purchase gives people a sense that they are “smart shoppers.”

Published

on

Katharina Wittgens, a psychologist with the behavioral strategy agency Innovation Bubble, suggests that shoppers are creating too much anxiety in themselves, which is never good during either clear or uncertain circumstances. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper

By Merdies Hayes, Managing Editor, Our Weekly News

Panic buying has been rife around the globe in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Customers have been stockpiling goods like hand sanitizer, bottled water, canned goods, paper towels and toilet paper.

The trend has seen stores in some nations ration products. The U.K. is limiting sales of hand hygiene products. Australians have seen restrictions on paper goods. Americans now have to wake before dawn to purchase cases of bottled water, which are now limited to two per customer.

America not alone in frenzy

America isn’t alone in experiencing empty shelves. Mass demand for rice and noodles in Singapore prompted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to assure the public that there was enough to go around. In Auckland, New Zealand, supermarket spending shot up 40 percent in about 72 hours. Shoppers in Malaysia wanting to pad their “pandemic pantries” have driven an 800-percent increase in weekly hand sanitizer sales. All of these places have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Psychologists explain this phenomenon as “retail therapy,” defined as when, where and what we buy to better manage our emotional state. Experts suggest that the answer may lie in a fear of the unknown and believing that dramatic events warrant a dramatic response — even though in this case, the best response is something as mundane as washing your hands for 20 seconds.

In some ways, the trend of panic buying is a way for people to take back control in uncertain times. Many psychologists have suggested that panic buying can be understood as playing to our three fundamental psychology needs in (1) autonomy—as in the need for control; (2) relatedness—better defined as “we shopping,” rather than “me shopping,” and (3) competence—whereby a level of accomplishment is achieved and making a purchase gives people a sense that they are “smart shoppers.”

Conflicting messages add to uncertainty

In the U.S., people initially received conflicting messages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and President Donald Trump. It was no surprise that people were worried when one organization says the matter is urgent, and another says it’s under control. With the virus present in all 50 states, and daily life has been altered from coast to coast, an unexpected “fear contagion” has taken hold.

Often in times of uncertainty, people can enter a “panic zone” that makes them irrational and—in rare cases—borderline neurotic. In other disaster conditions like an earthquake, tornado or hurricane, people tend to prepare because they know how many supplies they will need. It’s hard to do that with a virus that scientists around the world are still learning about.

Peter Noel Murray, a New York-based member of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Consumer Psychology, is uncertain that persons in authority have the power to calm the panic-buying trend.

“On the emotional side, the answer is self-affirmation,” he said. “In our minds, we know one day we are going to be dead, and the mind deals with it through [seeking] control.” He said there is an “over-estimation” of fear and people’s minds need to respond to those kinds of feelings.

A need for ‘self-affirmation’

“The need for self-affirmation is triggered and that drives us to do unreasonable things like buying a year’s worth of toilet paper,” Murray explained. “It overwhelms the knowledge that we don’t need to be doing that.”

There is a difference in disaster panic and general panic. Toilet paper has become the symbol of the latter. For instance, weather forecasters are able to predict with much greater certainty that a hurricane is barreling toward a certain region. They can provide more information about a cluster of tornadoes about to come your way (though warning times are uncertain at best). With an earthquake, of course, there is little way of predicting that. In these cases, you know it is going to happen and you usually know ahead of time that the emergency will last a couple of days. You’re able to prepare yourself by being somewhat rational with what you buy.

In public health issues we have no idea about the duration and or intensity. Therefore, the messages we receive daily may encourage some to go into panic mode and purchase far more than needed because it’s often the only way to maintain a sense of control.

But why purchase huge amounts of toilet paper? Dr. Dimitrios Tsivrikos, an expert in consumer and behavioral science at the University College London, has for the past few months witnessed this phenomenon and offered an unexpected assessment:

“Because toilet paper has a longer shelf-life than many food items,” he said. “And it’s prominently featured in aisles and is big in size. We’re psychologically drawn to purchasing it in times of crisis. It’s in big colorful packages; the bigger they are, the more important we think they are.”

Take precautions, but don’t panic

While the threat is very real and all precautions should be taken to stay healthy, some shoppers may overestimate the risks of dying from coronavirus. Katharina Wittgens, a psychologist with the behavioral strategy agency Innovation Bubble, suggests that shoppers are creating too much anxiety in themselves, which is never good during either clear or uncertain circumstances.

“Far more people die in car accidents or household accidents per year, but we don’t panic in the morning before we go to work about these things,” Wittgens said. “It’s hard to convince our brains of facts, hence why statistics often don’t work.” Wittgens said the surge in panic buying will probably decline after a month when people have had time to think more rationally.

“When we stand in front of empty shelves, people fear that stocks will run out, so they buy far more than they need,” she said. “This becomes dangerous as some goods such as soap, medicines and sanitizers become unavailable for those in immediate need.” And because it is more obvious when the paper goods aisle is empty—compared to smaller items—this can also lead to craze over the item intensifying.

There have been plenty of examples of price gouging in response to the coronavirus pandemic. There have been reports of a 20-pack of face masks costing more than $100 on e-commerce sites like eBay and Esty. These prices have caused companies to put measures in place to stop speculators from taking advantage of a spike in demand. This month, for example, Amazon announced it removed more than a million basic-needs products for misleading claims and price gouging.

Face masks won’t stop infection

The U.S. government has recommended people stop buying face masks, not only because surgical masks aren’t sufficient protection from coronavirus, but because there may not be enough for healthcare professionals who need them to do their jobs.

Americans have witnessed this type of irrational behavior before. In 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis, when nuclear war seemed imminent, American families filled their basements with enough canned food and bottled water to survive an atomic blast. Then there was Y2K at the turn of the millennium. There were widespread fears of a catastrophic glitch when computers’ internal clock reset to “00” for the year 2000. It was believed that the glitch could crash global markets or send missiles flying across the globe. People just didn’t hoard nonperishables and bottled water, but lots of money: In 1999, the U.S. Treasury was ordered to print an extra $50 billion in the expectation that people would withdraw and stockpile cash.

A better plan than panic buying would be to be prepared year-round for a possible emergency or crisis. It’s also worth keeping everyone else’s needs in mind as these types of events unfold. Stock up on what you and your family need and no more. Avoid the urge to hoard enough supplies to fill a doomsday bunker.

“Anxiety needs to be acknowledged and managed,” Wittgens said. “We do not want complacency, but high levels of anxiety are not useful to prepare [or] prevent catching it.”

#LetItBeKnown

Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Published

on

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on


Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending