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Consumer watch: Food hoarders lead to freezer shortage in America

Posted at 5:02 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 16:44:59-04

The Coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped people from going to grocery stores and buying up everything in sight.

With nowhere to store all of that food, there's now a shortage of freezers.

Good luck trying to find a selection of in-stock either in stores or online. Most are sold out, including the large industrial-sized units.

"People are buying and trying to take action in a way to get back control so they feel a sense of relief," Dr. Stephanie Gorka, an Assistant Professor for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State University said.

Panicked buyers put an unnecessary strain on supplies.

Gorka says not only can over-buying cause financial stress, it doesn't solve any problems.

"What people experience is 'my pantry is full, my shelves are stocked, but I still feel this high level of anxiety,'" she said. "And now what?"

Freezers aren't cheap. They can easily cost more than $500.

Most big-box retailers will be getting more freezers in stock soon. However, if you need one right now, you may have to look for a used one on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

While CDC health officials along with state and federal leaders encourage all Americans to limit travel and reduce the number of trips they need to take to stores, a 1-2 week supply of groceries is perfectly acceptable.

If you are only hoarding food to eliminate trips to the store for the foreseeable future, you may want to look into food delivery services which don't require you to leave your home.

Many grocery stores now offer curbside pick-up at their store locations too.