The COVID-19 outbreak has left department stores like Walmart busier than ever, as millions of customers filled stores to stock their homes with food and cleaning supplies.

While many Missouri Western students have decided to quarantine themselves or stay at home, others have continued to work despite the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

Employees like Missouri Western sophomore Samuel Pickman can expect the department store to be packed from open to close.

“Before, it was usually busy on Sundays and Black Friday,” Pickman said. “Now, it’s like Black Friday every day.”

Deemed an essential business, Walmart has continued to stay open despite many other businesses closing their doors.

As cities across the United States are deciding to enforce stay-at-home orders, millions of Walmart associates are expected to continue working throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, including Missouri Western sophomore Andrew Lowe.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, customers often leave the store angry because an item they want is out of stock.

“I had a gentleman get mad at me when he found out we were out of this disinfectant,” Lowe said.

Missouri Western freshman Samuel Pickman said that although some customers are aggressive towards employees, but other customers understand Walmart associates are working as quickly as possible to stock items and clean stores.

“One customer came up and told me it will be okay,” Pickman said. “Someone yelled at me because we were out of flour.”

One item that has been universally out of stock is toilet paper. Walmart stores across the United States have had trouble keeping toilet paper in stock for more than a few hours.

“I do understand the panic of potentially being locked in,” Lowe said. “But out of all things to hoard, toilet paper?”

Food items that are bought as quickly as they are stocked include bread, flour, eggs and beef. Increased demand has essentially left Walmart shelves empty.

In order to combat this problem, many Walmart stores in the United States have decided to temporarily shorten their hours.

Almost all Walmart stores in the United States now open at 7 a.m. and close at 8:30 p.m.

“The hours give associates the time to catch up on the empty shelves,” Lowe said.

Along with stocking, his decision also adds extra time for employees to disinfect the store, especially shopping carts and cash registers.

Along with shortening their hours, Walmart stores now host a senior shopping day that takes place on every Tuesday morning from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. This will ensure seniors have a chance to buy many essential items that are quickly swept off the shelves.

Many Walmart stores have limited the purchase of many items — hand sanitizer, bleach, disinfectant, and toilet paper — to combat panic buying and hoarding.

“It’s understandable that you’re scared,” Lowe said. “But please make sure that you don’t buy tons of stuff and leave nothing for everyone else.”

Other Walmart stores have enforced a purchasing limit on additional items such as cough medicine, paper towels, loafs of bread and cases of water.

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