Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

COVID-19

News >  Spokane

Hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other supplies dwindle amid coronavirus buying sprees

Shoppers jammed stores over the weekend, buying supplies ranging from hand sanitizer to toilet paper, soaps, disinfectant wipes and even some foods in anticipation of a coronavirus outbreak. This photo was taken Saturday at a Costco Wholesale in Tigard, Ore., after reports of Oregon's first case of the coronavirus were released Friday. (Gillian Flaccus / AP)
Shoppers jammed stores over the weekend, buying supplies ranging from hand sanitizer to toilet paper, soaps, disinfectant wipes and even some foods in anticipation of a coronavirus outbreak. This photo was taken Saturday at a Costco Wholesale in Tigard, Ore., after reports of Oregon's first case of the coronavirus were released Friday. (Gillian Flaccus / AP)

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.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.