Retail Workers Share The Craziest Things They’ve Witnessed Because Of Coronavirus

As stories and videos emerge of pandemonium occurring in shops across the world, not many people have been taking the time to think about how stressful this whole thing must be for the poor workers in those shops.

One person took to Reddit to find out some of the craziest things that people who work in shops across the world have seen in the coronavirus panic, by asking, "Fellow retail workers - what apocalypse prepping induced insanity have you guys seen so far?"

And, the internet responded in force. Please find below some of the most ridiculous and shocking stories that graced the thread!

Stealing From Children's Cancer Wards

Unsplash | Aditya Romansa

"Unknown thieves have stolen masks, disinfectants and gloves from the CHILDREN ONCOLOGY station in Berlin... they are needed for newborns with health problems and children with leukemia. And these articles are currently sold out..." — A_Sarcastic_Werecat

Okay, no, these people who stole from a cancer ward for children are the lowest of the low. I do not know what could possibly go through these people's heads to make them think that this isn't completely morally repugnant.

Hoarders Shoving Workers

Reddit | [deleted]

"Yesterday we got an entire pallet of assorted ramen and I decided to just unwrap it and drag it to the sales floor. The vultures picked it clean in about an hour." — SchenkelMcDoo

This person went on to say that they have since started leaving things out in the aisle for people to grab at since they have had coworkers injured by panicked idiots, writing, "Pile [disinfectant wipes] on a flatbed cart, push it somewhere close to their shelf location, and STEP BACK. I'll freely acknowledge that I'm being lazy, but one of my coworkers got shoved into a shelf while stocking hand sanitizer, so."

Stealing From Healthcare Professionals

Unsplash | Enecta Cannabis extracts

"My mom is in health care and today someone came in for a procedure. While she and her co-worker were turned away the person ran to their cabinet/table, started coughing all over everything while frantically searching for anything they could find health-related (masks, sanitizer, etc). She and her co-worker went 'wtf are you doing!?' To which they coughed more and ran through the office and out to their car in the parking lot with an arm full of random shit...fucking weird". — DocVafli

A lot of people quite rightly wanted to know if they had reported the person to the police for theft, as they had all of their personal details; however, the person who wrote this said, "Her boss didn't want to bother!" The people who steal from hospitals are the lowest of the low.

Not Thinking About Their Purchases

Reddit | TheGoodRevE

"No pasta, no hand sanitizer, no paracetamol or ibuprofen, no antibacterial wipes, no toilet paper, no hand soap. Yet we still have plenty of regular soap and pasta sauces. Apparently people don't care if their hands are clean if it's a bar of soap that cleaned them it's not good enough. And they plan on eating plain pasta until it gives them explosive diarrhea." — SwordTaster

Panic buyers and hoarders really need to stop, take a breath, and think for a moment before giving into the carnage that they are propagating.

Only The Essentials

Unsplash | Christin Hume

"I saw someone buying two large crates of beer and a giant brick of cheese. Nothing else." — matchstickmirages

This person went on to say that they thought that the only explanation they had was that the guy was hoping to spend the apocalypse drunk and so constipated that he wouldn't need toilet paper.

Asking Staff How To Make Their Own Sanitizer

Unsplash | Martin Sanchez

"Someone got upset at me because I didn't know the recipe to make hand sanitizer. She said 'you guys are sold out so what am I supposed to do? How can you sell out and not tell your customers how to make it themselves?'

"I said 'ma'am I'm a target cashier, not a scientist. Hand soap is just as effective.' And she said 'that’s not what I want.' scoffed, and walked off." — lilly47

Soap is actually much more effective than hand sanitizer as well! Christ, ignorance is not only annoying but dangerous!

Price Gouging

Unsplash | Claudio Schwarz

"Every single mask we sell is gone. Then our store started selling 2 masks (that don't do anything just crappy paper ones) for $40. I died a little bit." — DONTEATCARS

In a shocking reveal, there were a few people more people who work in healthcare who said that they have had people coming in and taking all of their masks, possibly to try and sell them on again.

Spending Thousands Of Dollars

Unsplash | Alexander Mils

"Four carts of crap. Over $1,000 worth. 'I NEED PEANUTS. WHERE IS THE SOAP, I NEED TO STOCK UP ON KOMBUCHA'. all the frozen stuff, bread, beans LOTS of beans. Meat. It's like Doomsday Preppers." — OverlyBakedPotato666

I can't imagine being so incensed by media hype to spend over a thousand dollars on shopping! The person who initially posted the question responded to this one saying, "The largest order I ever bagged (boxed, really) when I was a courtesy clerk, was a little over four thousand dollars. That was literally the military."

Selective Panic Buying

Reddit | HanaWong

"In the U.K. all of the pasta has been bought, except the shell one and the mushroom sauce as they're the least popular. It's like, people are panic buying but they don't think it's serious enough to panic buy the things they don't really enjoy.

"Shell pasta and mushroom sauce is my thermometer on the situation. When that goes the sh*t really has hit the fan." — Betrayedunicorn

Also, what is wrong with shell pasta, I love shell pasta! Looks like I'll be surviving the apocalypse on shell pasta alone.

Feeling Sorry For Healthcare Workers

Unsplash | Piron Guillaume

"I mainly feel bad for the people working in the health sector in my country who are clocking way more hours than usual and get to the stores only to see that there's barely anything left on the shelves. People need to calm tf down and just buy whatever they would normally." — Fake-DAIH

I think that while this issue has shown people the heroes that healthcare workers are, we should feel sorry for these people all year round as they are overworked and underpaid, especially in the UK.

Hand Sanitizer Carnage

Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

"We have a sign. 2 hand sanitizers limit per person. Dude just walks up trying to take two cases." — c_chan21

The one thing that I don't understand about hoarding hand sanitizer is that if you take it all, then it is harder for other people to wash their hands and they're going to spread disease faster. Share the sanitizer folks!

Sneezing On Products

Unsplash | Parker Burchfield

"I'm 17 and work in retail. Almost every time I touch something a customer was touching I put on some hand sanitizer, this one customer turned around right when I got hand sanitizer and she got mad because 'I'm young and won't die'. Ummmmm I have older relatives that I'm not risking because you lack proper hygiene. I had seen her sneeze into her hand and wipe it on clothes that weren’t her own." — SmedusaZ

This person went on to explain that the woman didn't wipe her hands on a stranger, but on clothes that were for sale that someone else will buy. That is truly disgusting.

Over-Stressed Employees

Unsplash | Christian Erfurt

"I can't remember the last time my depression and stress level were this bad. We were severely understaffed yesterday. It was bustling at 9 PM. No one instance of insanity, just everything piled up on me at once." — Cylasbreakdown

Working in retail can be a stressful job at the best of times, and so I wanted to include this to remind those who need reminding, that those working in shops are people who deserve your respect and patience.

Selling Off Toilet Paper For Extortionate Rates

Unsplash | Joshua Hoehne

"Not retail worker but follow a community Facebook group. Just today saw a post from a woman selling toilet paper. Rural town and it's all gone. It was the 4 pack Walmart brand that sells for like $3. She wants $20 each for them and said she only has about 50 packs. F**king bitch." — SniffingDogButt

A lot of people were hoping that this person would get done for violating some form of state anti-gouging laws. However, it is unlikely she will ever face repercussions for this.

Bring Back 1997

Unsplash | Anna Franques

"People at my store treating a pallet of toilet paper coming out of the back like it's 1997 and we just wheeled out tickle me Elmo. Not a single pack made it to the shelf." — reddawgmcm

I had to include this one as I've not only seen so much coverage of people stockpiling toilet roll, but I still have my original tickle me Elmo from that era! Does anyone else remember these, or still have one?

Elderly People Not Caring About Sanitation


"Probably the usual for most. Two cases were found in my area (Metro Detroit) on Wednesday I believe. By Thursday afternoon my fairly large Kroger was gutted. Cleaning supplies, paper products, water, canned goods, pasta, rice, bread, and a majority of frozen foods were all gone. They were restocking a fair amount as I was leaving last night but that will probably go quick as well.

"The hoarding is crazy and annoying but was completely expected. I'm more floored with how many customers openly downplay it or try and shame people who are taking precautions. I started wearing nitrile gloves while I work and an elderly lady told me I was overreacting and if I caught it I'd probably recover fully. I told her I'm less concerned about getting sick myself, and more worried about potentially spreading it to someone more vulnerable. I could already have it and be asymptomatic, who knows! She literally just laughed and said her time is almost up anyway and rolled away in her power scooter." — gremlinfartz

Toilet Paper Looters

Clay Banks | Unsplash

"I work at a home Depot in Maryland, and yesterday when the announcement went out that the schools were closing everyone went nuts. We sold the rest of our stock of toilet paper (six whole pallets) and most of our other cleaning supplies in the three hours after the announcement.

"I never thought that I, a worker at a hardware store, would have to listen with a sense of realism to the phrase 'Watch out for toilet paper looters'." — nerdious_maximus

How much do these people think that the children are pooping? Also, it is a mad world that Home Depot is selling out of toilet paper!

Canadian Paranoia

Unsplash | Tijana Drndarski

"The funniest thing I've seen as a Canadian is the canned beans aisle. There are baked beans. There are BBQ beans. Plain beans. Beans in tomato sauce. Chili beans. Lots of 'em.

"But there's a 2ft column of the aisle that's completely bare. That's where the Maple beans used to be..." — phormix

In their time of crisis the Canadians will flock to protect anything maple related and ice hockey apparently, and I love them all the more for it, they're two great things!

Elderly Getting Computer Lessons

Unsplash | volc xia

"Everyone is coming in to get computers fixed. They all either want a newer cheap one, or are lining up at the repair desk to get them fixed. Lots of old people just now trying to understand how to use Skype and buying webcams too." — Benjamin-Ziegler

This one is actually one of the only responses that actually describes something useful. Elderly people learning how to use Skype and other video calling software at this time is incredibly useful.

The End Of Days

Artyom Kim | Unsplash

"I work at a supermarket in the UK. Over the last 3 days, people have been frantically buying toilet rolls, pasta, baked beans, chopped tomatoes and lots of wine. There hasn't been any hand gels or soap in for days. It really is like they are shopping for an apocalypse." — Lilly1950

There were people replying to this saying that they have seen people shopping in hazmat suits, which really is apocalypse behavior!

Stealing Toilet Seat Covers

"I work at Lowe's and all of the paper toilet seat covers keep disappearing from every stall in both restrooms." — oinksatme

These people need to stop and think to themselves, "Am I really at a point in my life where I'm stealing toilet paper covers?" then just calm down, and go home.

Throwing Fists Over Sanitizer

Unsplash | Luis Quintero

"So I'm just chilling, ya know we are packed. And I hear people asking where the hand sanitizer is. My coworker points them in the direction (like 2 isles over) and we hear them saying there isn't anymore. This man literally holds up 3 bottles of sanitizer and says 'Hah. Looks like I got the last ones.' All of a sudden these crazy ass people start trying to take them out of his hands! This dude gets man and drops the bottles and starts throwing hands.

"While they are fighting there's people crawling on the ground to pick the bottles up while all of this is going on. Me and my coworkers are in complete shock and call the officers that chill in there to come over and make them stop. By far my craziest experience." — FrostlessIce

Panic Buying Kidney Beans

Unsplash | Kaur Kristjan

"Kidney beans. I was in the canned goods isle, surrounded by cans over cans of chickpeas, corn, black beans, baked beans, beans in hot sauce, anything beany - but no kidney beans because some shit radio show apparently told people to stock up on items like pasta and canned food 'like kidney beans', and the sheep literally only stocked up on god damn kidney beans. The rest was basically untouched.

"Suddenly the stories about mass hysteria over jokes on the radio seem very realistic..." — SonTyp_OhneNamen

The fact that there is two separate stories about people panic buying specific types of bean is more than worrying! There are enough beans to go around!

Stocking Up On Weed

Unsplash | Matthew Brodeur

"In Canada, people are stocking up on weed. A lot of weed." — nugz4dayzzz

Well, the only danger here is that you are going to burn through all of your food rations incredibly quickly!

Stockpiling Ammunition

Unsplash | Jay Rembert

"I work in one of the few major retailers that still sells high powered firearms in the US. I had a guy check out with me at customer service with 10 firearms of various kinds and 5 knives as well as countless boxes of ammo.

"He had to check out with me because they wanted the management team to check the rules on this purchase. Totally legal in Texas. People it is not a zombie apocalypse goddamn." — Irish_Rock

Adults Bulk Buying Baby Formula

Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

"People are buying baby formula because it lasts longer than milk... Seriously f*ck these people in particular." — Broke_Beedle

Someone pointed out that these people might actually be prepping up to cut up meth when the apocalypse hits, I genuinely wouldn't put it passed people either.

Wishing Death Upon The Staff

Unsplash | Tamara Gore

"One lady asked my manager if we had anymore toilet paper and when my manager politely said we ran out the lady replied with 'you should be hung'." — njc402

This person actually means "Hanged", clearly they're not only rude but stupid also.

Getting Angry At Staff For Sneezing

Unsplash | Raphiell Alfaridzy

"People have started to pry open the shopping cart sanitizer station to steal the wipes inside. Also, toilet paper. We keeping selling out and the warehouse can't get enough in. And liquor sales have been up 85% vs last year (that makes sense, if I'm going to isolate I'd stock up on the booze too). One of my cashiers is an older gal with a husky voice and probably smokes a pack a day.

"I've had THREE customer complaints saying she's sick. Nope, she's fine. I've heard several complaints whenever any employee so much as sniffles. The load sizes are almost triple what they usually are and help is tough to find in times like this. If you're at the grocery store, make sure to thank the employees--they're working their asses off!" —prettyprincess93

A belligerent customer at our local store actually tried to have a woman fired for sneezing (into a tissue) the other week.

Going In People's Backpacks

Unsplash | Omar Roque

"I'm not a retail worker, I have worked in retail however. My father was on a flight and someone rummaged through his backpack when he was asleep and stole his tiny bottle of hand sanitizer, leaving his iPhone 11 alone alongside his 16 inch MacBook." — LachlantehGreat

Well, they can't wash their hands or wipe their ass on a MacBook can they?

Stockpiling Inhalers

Reddit | c_wolsey

"I work in a pharmacy in Ireland and I had a woman come in screaming at me that she needed all six months of her child's inhalers NOW and if I didn't give them to her now, I would be personally responsible for the death of her two children.

"Tried to soothe her anxiety but just got told 'not to f**king patronize' her; that she 'was a nurse and doesn't need some pharmacy worker telling her what she needs'. So yeah that was fun." — shipwhisperer

Do you have any bizarre stories of people panic buying or the like? Then let us know your strangest stories in the comments below!