Courteous urgency the rule as Costco shoppers stock up on T.P., water

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Retailers felt the urgency of the moment again Thursday morning when shoppers descended on store aisles to stock up in anticipation of quarantining — or worse.

At the Costco Wholesale Warehouse on Rosedale Highway Thursday morning, 17 News tried to get a feel for the pulse of Bakersfield consumers.

Costco General Manager Greg Gonzalez opened his store 15 minutes early — and customers were already lined up around the side of the building. By most accounts people were orderly and cordial. But there was an undercurrent of urgency, too.

“They were patiently pushing in front of each other to make sure that they were able to get the water,” said Marc Schulman, a Costo customer. “I got in there, what, quarter after 10, and by then everything was gone. All the water was gone, paper towels were gone. They have napkins but those are disappearing quickly.”

Water, paper towels and tissues are really limited, even the tomato sauce,” said Jaesun Carr, another Costo customer . “… You can get only one.”

Some customers had a higher level of anxiety than others. Costco customer Greg Martin has health issues and probably shouldn’t be entering any public scrums, courteous or not.

“I am very much (at risk,” Martin said. “I’m on oxygen probably 90 percent of the time and I’ve only got one good lung. And I got a heart problem, so I’ve got to watch myself. I really hate to go in there, but I did.”

Martin also bemoaned the fact that staying home all day could be dull without his favorite past time.

“I’ve got stuff I need; we got groceries (to buy),” he said. “If the gals (at home) want to go get groceries, they’re in better health, they can go. … I’d like to be able to go to a baseball game this year but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”

Every few minutes — literally, it seems — we’re hearing about another shutdown or postponement, raising the intensity of public concern — and lengthening the lines at stores like this one. One customer had a great suggestion consumers might be interested in. If it can wait a day or two, shop online.

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