Shoppers at the Costco on East Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley on Monday walked past the place where they expected to find toilet paper. They found the bundles of paper towels and cases of bottled water, but all of the outhouse necessities were sold out.
Some shoppers meandered with confused looks on their faces as they searched for the Kirkland brand rolls of toilet paper. Several circled two or three times around the location before giving up at the store located at 5601 E. Sprague Ave.
Several aisles away in the pharmacy section, everything that even looked like hand sanitizer was sold out or soon-to-be so.
The same story played out in stores across the United States where fears of a coronavirus outbreak sent shoppers hunting for cleaning, disinfectant and bathroom supplies.
Area Walmart stores had sold out of all brands of hand sanitizers. In the chemical aisle, one store had two full sections, which had six shelves each, that once stocked Lysol spray and Lysol wipes. Everything was gone.
“I gotta get a picture of this,” a man said, as he stared at the empty shelves Monday at the store at 5025 E. Sprague Ave.
A store manager directed a reporter’s questions to Walmart corporate offices in Bentonville, Arkansas. Calls were not returned from the Costco stores on East Sprague and at 12020 N. Newport Highway.
The Lowe’s at 5204 E. Sprague had a few Clorox brand wipes left.
One of the clerks confirmed the store had no hand sanitizer. She said she heard the Dollar Tree store at 5605 E. Sprague Ave., No. 1, had some left. It turns out, all of the $1 hand-sanitizer containers had been sold out there, too.
A couple blocks away at the Costco, drivers waited for parking spots in the mid-afternoon, which made it seem like it was peak time on a Saturday. However, the shopping habits appeared to be somewhat normal for the hundreds of folks walking the aisles, despite the lack of toilet paper.
The nearby Walmart had several brands of toilet paper remaining on the shelves. The supplies had all been hit hard, but were holding. Near the pharmacy section, shoppers had picked over the cotton swabs and bottles of hydrogen peroxide.
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