‘Doomsday Shopping’ Overwhelms WeHo Grocery Stores

A photo of the shelves at Trader Joe’s posted on Facebook by Steven Byrket and labeled ‘Doomsday shoppers.’

While business at West Hollywood restaurants and many retailers is down dramatically because of the coronavirus, it has soared at grocery stores as people rush to stock up on food to prepare for an isolation. It’s what some are calling “doomsday shopping.”

One WEHOville reader who was at the Ralphs grocery store on Fountain Avenue at La Brea last night described a situation that made him think of Venezuela, where desperate poverty has left the population scrambling and fighting for food.

“Just came back from Ralphs at LaBrea,” he said in an email. “Whole families with little kids out after 10 p.m. loading up on water, Gatorade, etc.  Many shelves where empty: no eggs, no pasta, no jars of spaghetti sauce, no frozen pizza. The tortillas were pretty picked over. It was very strange; like living in Venezuela …the empty shelves look like Cuba or the former Soviet Union.”

Long lines of shoppers and empty shelves at the Trader Joe’s on Sunset Boulevard (Photo courtesy of Doug Stickler)

Others have cited similar situations at the city’s two Trader Joes and at Pavilions, where there have been long lines of shopping carts and sometimes angry exchanges between shoppers who both want the same scarce things. Shoppers are said to have been lining up early this morning at Pavilions waiting for its staff to restock its shelves. Smart & Final, the discount grocery store, has sold out of a lot of products. The new Sprouts, however, is said to have been relatively quiet.

Target also has seen a sellout of sanitation supplies and of paper towels and toilet papers, which it is constantly restocking. Customers also have been buying up sanitation supplies at pharmacies such as CVS and Capitol Drugs, which also has been selling N95 face masks.

Stocking-up on supplies is something residents have long been encouraged to do because of the inevitability of a severe earthquake like the one in Northridge in 1994.  But longtime residents with whom WEHOville has spoken say this is the first time they are seeing it.


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Jose
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Jose

I have 45 rolls. I just like the way they look around the house.

Sam
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Sam

Every store should do what the Sunset TJ’s did last week – impose a limit of no more than 2 of any item per customer. When I went today, they were controlling how many people they let into the store. When I go there, there were only two people. Many shelves and most of the freezer were empty but I was able to get our favorite bread (they were out of it on Saturday, but there were other options). The snack shelves were also fully stocked and as it seemed were most of the cold cases. The point here is… Read more »

David Pagel
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David Pagel

They shouldn’t tolerate this behavior in Who.

rpg
Guest

The media must back off the hysterically generating news every 20 minutes. It’s out of control.
Focus on the flu , health maintenance and the need to exercise appropriate precautions.

rpg
Guest

people are clearly hysterical

Cecilia
Guest
Cecilia

Well i was working at ralphs just yesterday morning in norrh hollywood on magnolia . I stock shelves but it was totally empty by 8 am the other ralpha
S. Up the street the same . we need God baxk in oyr counrry …..

Patrick D Courtney
Guest
Patrick D Courtney

Stop smoking the weed and learn to spell correctly…

Willow
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Willow

This is what happens when you let everyone in and made it a sanctuary City! Over population has it’s problems and diseases!

Jose
Guest
Jose

Agreed!!!!

Michael Grace
Guest
Michael Grace

The toilet paper buying hysteria is the strangest part of this plague panic. So creepy. I wonder if there was a big run on Depends?

Where is Chicken Little when you need him? He needs to run down the aisles of these grocery stores shouying…the sky is falling, the sky is falling, the sky is falling!

michael getachew
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michael getachew

thank the illumipotty

AJM
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AJM

Don’t understand how stocking up of toilet paper can protect one from this virus! The stores should put limitations on food purchase to calm the natives. Stores should also limit the number of people at a time. Since testing for everyone is not available yet, why on earth would you want to stand in long lines of people, being in such a tight area as check out and think that’s smart “social distancing” and not contract a cold let alone a virus! People are not smart individuals when panic consumes them. Calm down and step back and be mindful of… Read more »

Alisa
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Alisa

I totally agree and had the same thought! Luckily, my grocery store Did limits on the most horded commodities and doing my regular weekly shopping, while a little more traffic there than usual, the vibe and behavior of the shoppers was drastically different (and Better) then at the store I ran into 2 days later to grab something I’d forgotten! That grocery store had grown women fighting over tp!!!!!

Dianna
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Dianna

You said it right. The greed…everyone for themselves.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Doomsday shopping was a comforting act in a time of uncertainty and I’m glad I stocked up, even if I didn’t really need to, even if it’s ultimately a false sense of security. It felt like a community event, a strange bonding experience. And now people shall know the strange beauty that is Sprouts.

Scott
Guest
Scott

Yes….I suppose bonding with fellow hoarders provides a strange comfort. Did you by any chance extend comfort and assistance to any of the homeless on the streets today? They are, after all, literally in the same boat as you and your fellow hoarders right now.

enemyofthestate
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enemyofthestate

People are sheep. Corona hysteria.

Keep calm and carry on.