Local sanitizer stock no longer that hand-y

Walmart shelf photo by Candy Neal


I didn’t think the coronavirus panic was here in Jasper yet.

But it must be. Because most local stores are sold out of hand sanitizer.

I visited several stores in the city, hunting for the prized commodity. And the hunt was hard.

“It’s been selling pretty good,” the manager at IGA said this morning after realizing that the store’s shelves are empty of the product. “People are going crazy for it.”

With the outbreak of the virus worldwide, people all over the country are in a rush to get various supplies and food. While that kind of panic hasn’t hit here yet — store shelves are still full of yummy goodies — we are running low on the sanitizer.

IGA gets its shipments every Thursday. So don’t go there looking for hand sanitizer before then.

I decided to try Walmart early this morning, before the store got too crowded. Surely there would be some that was put out overnight, right?

Nope. The hand sanitizer shelves were bare.

“You’re probably going to find this problem everywhere. It’s selling so fast that the manufacturers can’t keep up,” said a Walmart worker who was assisting me. “People are totally freaking out for this corona thing. They are putting together doomsday packages.”

Walmart’s next shipment will come in Wednesday night. “And it will go pretty fast,” she said.

No luck at CVS either.

“I have a few of these left,” a worker said, pointing to the couple of travel-size sanitizers at the front counter. “And that’s it in the entire building. People have been wiping it out.”

CVS is hoping to get more on Tuesday, with its weekly shipment. But that will depend on if the manufacturers can make enough. And it’s almost guaranteed that it will sell out again.

“People were coming in here and buying armloads,” the CVS worker said. “As much as we’ve been selling it, I’d say everybody else has been selling it that much, too. I’d be amazed if you find anything other than small bottles here and there.”

I should’ve gone to Walgreens Wednesday evening. I might have found a bottle or two.

“We had a truck shipment come in Wednesday, and people bought every last one of them,” a worker told me. “Everybody is looking for them.” The next shipment will be next week on Wednesday, she said.

Looking online proved to be scary. People are reselling sanitizers for $30, $60, $200 and up. And these are containers that would normally go for $4 for a regular bottle, about $15 for the large ones, and about $40 for multipacks.

I also looked around online for how to make your own sanitizer and did find some recipes. Who knew?

A friend showed me a message from a vodka company that warned people to not use its product to make sanitizer because the spirit is 40% alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.

Oh, the CDC also says that washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to clean your hands. That’s interesting, because there was PLENTY of hand soaps at the stores, next to the empty hand sanitizer shelves.

On the advice of that same friend, I checked for sanitizer at AutoZone.

Success! They have a pretty good stock. That makes sense, because not many people would think to try an auto parts store.

“Yeah, I think I’ve sold one bottle since this coronavirus stuff has started,” a worker there said. “We got some back here behind the counter and on the shelf.”

I don’t know how long that will last, when sanitizer hunters find out about the supply.

But I didn’t panic and purchase any. I already have a couple of bottles at home.

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