Panic buying at grocery stores and hoarding of some products, notably toilet paper, has been happening across Canada. (Black Press file)

Mitchell’s Musings: At least there’s no zombies around

Former editor and columnist says hording unnecessary, but he gets it

My youngest son used to ask me quite regularly – “What would you do in a zombie apocalypse dad?”

He was quite into the Walking Dead at the time, every Sunday night with his mom (I couldn’t handle it but my wife saw it as a bonding time with her son, so what if a few zombies lose a few limbs or heads?)

But I also felt the way he asked if he thought it might be a possibility one day, so best one be prepared.

If I was in a crabby mood, (it happens, OK) I would answer something like it’s not going to happen, you gotta quit watching that show, and zombies aren’t real you know.


But if I was being a little more charitable I might say – well I do have a rocket launcher and flame thrower in the back shed, so I feel I’m somewhat ready for those god-forsaken undead creatures. Whaddya think son?

He knew I was kidding, I think. At least I never saw him actually checking the back shed.

Now, based on recent activity, I think I’d tell him I’m ready because I’ve got a dozen 30-packs of toilet paper in the back shed, 16 boxes of Bounce sheets, each containing 260 dryer sheets apiece, and more cans of Libby’s beans than I can actually count.

I’m not really sure how that would prepare me for a zombie apocalypse, other than possibly attempting to toilet paper them to death, or throw cans of beans at them, or maybe cure their static cling problem once and for all.

But then again, I’m not sure why people are hoarding as a response to the coronavirus pandemic either. It does feel at times like the apocalypse is upon us because nothing seems the same anymore as they take away our sports, our theatre, our library, our livelihoods, our spring break, our RRSPs, our ski resort – and then they tell us to stay home and practise social distancing.

So far no zombies, though, so that’s a good thing – actually social distancing was what I was going to try on the zombies for what it’s worth. It may not work, however, it seems like they just keep coming and coming.

I guess when I get in what seems like an uncontrollable, ever-worsening situation, it’s very tempting to want to do something to regain some sense of control.

And believe me, I get the TP thing, even though none of the coronavirus symptoms actually should increase TP use, as I’ve battled IBS issues most of my life, so I know not running out of toilet paper is the 11th or 12th commandment.

However, seeing the TV footage of people lined up with buggies full of the stuff is just wrong. One, it’s greedy, two, it’s a sign of panic that leads to further panic when there’s no issue of supply problems, and three, it’s not fair to the people who don’t have back sheds and/or can’t carry home more than six rolls at a time.

Plus, four, if I run out and there’s none left there’s going to be hell to pay.

The other day, I was in a warehouse store buying some napkins, which we actually needed, and an exasperated man shared with me how there was no toilet paper to be had anywhere.

He explained how it was just him and his son and “guys don’t plan ahead.” He latched onto a package of napkins and fretted about what it might possibly do to his poor toilet at home. I told him I felt his pain but I couldn’t help but smile a little.

Obviously, this coronavirus is no laughing matter and we have to do all we can do to get through this together, including following government edicts on self-isolation and social distancing, but I humbly suggest we keep things in perspective.

Don’t hoard. It’s not nice, it’s not necessary and it’s not the end of the world, it just resembles it an awful lot.

Be kind. Hopefully, it’s short-term pain for long-term, get-our-lives-back gain.

And focus on the bright side of life.

There are no zombies, so far, the sun is shining and the Canucks probably weren’t going to make the playoffs anyway.

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Morning Star.

READ MORE: MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Rebranding Vernon for the new millennium

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