As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the United States, shoppers all over America have been stocking up on items such as bottled water, toilet paper, and canned goods. As a result of the panicked buying, shelves are empty, leaving some customers angry and upset.
Tensions boiled over at a Costco in Chino Hills, California, after the store sold out of bottled water and toilet paper. It got so bad that the police had to be called to calm the situation down.
"After speaking with Costco staff and checking with customers, deputies determined no crime occurred," San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman told the Los Angeles Times.
While the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the global economy, it has been a boon to wholesale stores such as Costco. The company announced that sales in February were up 12.4% from a year ago thanks in part to "an uptick in consumer demand" from people stockpiling goods because of the coronavirus.
"Members are turning to us for a variety of items associated with preparing for and dealing with a virus," Costco CFO Richard Galanti told analysts on a call, according to CNN. "It's been a little crazy this past week in terms of outside shopping frequency and sales levels."
At least 14 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus, while thousands of people in New York and California have been asked to self-quarantine because they likely came in contact with somebody who was diagnosed. There have been 233 confirmed cases in the U.S. Globally, the total number of cases has surpassed 100,000.