Coronavirus panic buyers mocked with ads for 'very rare' essentials online

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Aussies struggling to find a scrap of toilet paper on supermarket shelves are being mocked by people trying to ‘sell’ it for exorbitant prices.

Shelves in Woolworths and Coles have been left barren as Aussies nervous they will be thrusted into isolation amid the coronavirus crisis stock up on essentials.

The panic buying hysteria has been so extreme Woolworths has even introduced a purchase limit on toilet paper, with each customer only allowed to purchase four packs of toilet rolls in store or online.

In the wake of essential items being snatched up by frantic Aussies and images of empty shelves emerging online, people have joked about the desperation of people amid the coronavirus health crisis.

Four rolls of toilet paper selling for $9 on social media. Source: Facebook
How far would one go for a roll of toilet paper? Source: Facebook

One person posted a picture of a toilet roll on Facebook Marketplace, with the description: “Toilet paper one roll left rare make made in China”.

The roll had an asking price of $200.

Another claiming to be based in Sydney trolled panic buyers by selling a roll for $1000.

This 'rare make' was advertised for $200. Source: Facebook

“Super rare roll of toilet paper, hardly used, still in good condition,” one joked in an ad on social media.

Somebody else offered a delivery with their 23-pack of “80x80 paper thermal rolls” at the bargain price of just $55 a box.

On Gumtree, a seller in Kellyville, northwest of Sydney, pledged to donate $5 to bushfire relief if they sold their roll of toilet paper, which they said was “very rare” and “can be used also for tissues”.

Hard to come by hand sanitiser has also been listed on social media at heavily inflated prices.

A woman posted a picture online mocking people panic buying supplies from supermarkets. Source: Facebook

A 400ml bottle of “hospital grade” Cutan sanitiser was on offer in Melbourne for $45.

Another selling their bottles for just $3 joked their stock was moving fast.

“Want to stay protected against germs and viruses as well as not get sick? Look no further,” the advertisement read.

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Gumtree, eBay and Facebook.

Woolworths announces toilet paper roll rule

A Woolworths spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia on Wednesday morning each customer will now only be allowed to purchase four packs of toilet rolls in store or online.

“Woolworths has today moved to apply a quantity limit on toilet paper packs to ensure more customers have access to the products,” the spokesperson said.

“It will help shore up stock levels as suppliers ramp up local production and deliveries in response to higher than usual demand.”

People have been stockpiling toilet paper across some Australian supermarkets. Source: Facebook

Other products have also sold out in some stores, including canned food and long-life items such as rice and pasta.

“Our teams are continuing to work hard on restocking stores with long-life food and groceries from our distribution centres,” the spokesperson said.

 “We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused by temporary stock shortages and thank them for their patience.”

So far there have been 42 confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia, with human-to-human transmission confirmed in NSW on Monday.

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