Life under lockdown seems to have already changed our spending habits. The Wall Street Journal reports that Americans are increasingly putting their dollars towards guns, groceries, and weed. Ahh, nothing like sitting upon your massive throne of toilet paper while you shine your glock and smoke a fat bowl. Or you could sit on a pile of guns and smoke your weed out a pipe made from toilet paper rolls — this is quarantine baby, you do you!
On the gun front, ABC News reports that internet retailer ammo.com reported a 309% increase in revenue and a 222% surge in transactions in the month of February alone, a move the group has referred to as “unprecedented.”
The recent countrywide surge in gun and ammo sales seems to be prompted by fear of the unknown, one shopper remarked to ABC’s Philadelphia affiliate WPVI, “Trying to buy ammunition because of everything that’s going on with the virus and stuff, it’s horrible and I don’t want to take any chances.” That fear has also prompted American shoppers to take to the grocery store in a new way, as is evident from anybody who has stepped foot in a grocery store this past week in the hopes that they stumble on some meat, beans, rice, or god willing, toilet paper.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Costco reported a 13% uptick in sales for the month of February compared to sales from the previous year, a change that is leaving grocery retailers scrambling as they try to figure out how to keep up with the insatiable demands of a hoarding public.
“Manufactures in some cases are having trouble keeping up, and that’s where the void is, they’re not able to keep up with the demand,” says the Vice President for the West at the Shelby Report, Bob Reeves., to the LA Times, “We’re seeing shipments coming into the stores sometimes without any of those products, and it will be like that until people calm down a little bit.”
Hopefully, people mellow out soon so the rest of us can score the grocery store essentials we’ve been missing out on over the last couple of weeks. Surprisingly, the uptick in weed sales isn’t helping to settle the panic.
The Hill reports that in the weed-legal states of California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have seen a huge uptick in sales. In Oregon, cannabis sales were up 75% with the average person purchasing 29% more weed than usual, a sign the hoarding mentality extends behind the grocery store. The uptick in sales could have something to do with the type of services that are available in cities practicing strict social distancing measures. Social distancing is also having an effect on the way people purchase weed, with some dispensaries requiring social distancing between customers and more people opting for online ordering and deliveries rather than going in-store and speaking with budtenders face to face.
In an email, Steve Allan, President of the California-based cannabis company Caliva wrote:
“So far in March our delivery business is seeing double-digit growth. We have seen an increase in our delivery services across all our locations, with record-breaking sales over the past two weeks. Caliva’s delivery business normally brings in about a 1/3 of the company’s total sales, over the course of the past week, they have seen this revenue model shift, with delivery offerings now securing about 2/3 of the company’s total income.”
So how do we explain this change in the American public’s buying habits? According to Psychology Today, the psychological phenomenon of “Zero-risk Bias” might be to blame for all the hoarding. “One way of tackling complex threats is to reduce the number of risk sources and eliminate one threat in its entirety,” which in simpler terms basically means, we know we have no control over this global pandemic, but we can control how much we eat, how much we wipe, and how high we can get. So we end up focusing our energies on that.