Stockpiling essential items again, causing more grocery store shortages

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GRANGER, Ind. --- If you’ve walked through a grocery store recently you’ve probably skimmed the aisles and noticed bare shelves- just like we saw at the start of the pandemic.

Baby formula and other necessities like toilet paper and water all hard to come by.

“When I went to Walmart last week there was still the Sam’s Club purified water on the shelves, but the name brand ones were not really in stock," said Veronica Esconbedo, who lives in South Bend.

There isn’t a known nationwide shortage of bottled water at this time, so why is it so difficult to find some brand names in stores?

Andrew Butters, a professor at IS’s School of Business, tells me it’s because a lot of people are still stockpiling items.

“Lots of businesses the way they run their businesses is to keep inventory that resembles what is normal demand. This self-fulfilling prophecy starts to kick in now again even though there might not have been a shortage unless all of us were demanding our full year's worth of toilet paper or bottled water it can then create one," said Butters.

But, that’s not the only factor coming into play.

Shopping habits are also changing because of rising inflation, supply chain issues and ongoing economic uncertainty.

“The health of the sort of consumer has really played another role in this and that basically kind of demand is outpacing supply. If there’s not enough goods to go around then typically what is the other piece that stores and firms are gonna have to leverage in order to sort of make demand and supply come to equilibrium is for prices to increase," said Butters.

Although many are concerned about finding what they need- others say they aren’t too worried it yet.

“When I start seeing that we don’t have it then maybe, but right not for me no," said Esconbedo.

Butters suggests you should only purchase exactly what your family needs to help bring items like water bottles back to their normal inventory.

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