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First It Was Toilet Paper, Then It Was Gas. What Causes Us To Panic Buy?

Chris Miller

All it takes for the Charlotte area to make a run on the grocery store during winter is a forecast of snow, no matter the amount.

Perhaps that's why North Carolina was squeezed the hardest by the panic buying of gasoline following the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack. More than 70% of gas stations in the Charlotte area ran dry last week.

It evoked images of empty grocery store shelves at the start of the pandemic.

What triggers our impulse to panic buy?


Tim Kraft, North Carolina State University, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management

Kelly Goldsmith, Vanderbilt University, associate professor of marketing (@ProfGoldsmith)

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A veteran of Charlotte radio news, Chris joined the "Charlotte Talks" staff in January 2016, but has been listening to WFAE since discovering the station as a high schooler.