Doctor explains psychology behind panic buying as Bay Area stores brace for holiday rush

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the phenomenon of panic buying appears to have returned at some stores throughout the Bay Area.

Psychologists say it's no surprise people are searching for basic goods such as toilet paper to help provide a sense of comfort during these challenging times.

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"We have to kind of try to remind ourselves to push back on fear," said Santa Clara University psychology professor Dr. Thomas Plante. "People are scared, and when they are scared, they're going to kind of circle the wagons and find coping strategies that may be again more psychologically consoling, rather than logically consoling."
Thankfully, not all stores are experiencing this sort of chaos, which is certainly a relief for shoppers who say it's important to remain calm.

"We're all in it together," said Campbell resident Carter King, who stopped by Zanotto's Market in Willow Glen on Wednesday to pick up some groceries.

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"It's the golden rule, this time of year, I think it's so important. Just think about what you would want other people to do for you," said King.

Zanotto's officials are getting ready for the holiday rush and say they've had no problem keeping items in stock.
"We've been very careful about how many people are in our stores," said Khadija Zanotto, the company's vice president of marketing. "We're eliminating a lot of displays on the sales floor to allow our people to spread out."

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In addition, Zanotto's has extended its operating hours to make it easier for folks to shop. They're also encouraging customers to buy shelf-stable items like boxed stuffing or canned vegetables this week.

"That way, when we come into Thanksgiving week, we have a little bit smaller basket sizes, maybe missing some of those miscellaneous dry goods, and so we can keep moving people faster through the line," said Zanotto.

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