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Toilet paper shortage baffling; Residents using common sense

PHOTO PROVIDED Beckie and Matt Reeder stand in front of an empty toilet paper area.

LOCK HAVEN — For most of those shopping at Dollar General in downtown Lock Haven on Sunday afternoon, it was just another normal day, picking up a few things they needed, and not allowing the coronavirus to frighten them into staying at home or changing their lifestyles.

Although the toilet paper shelves were bare, these shoppers weren’t buying any and blamed the shopping craze for toilet paper ridiculous and making people rush out and buy more.

Of course they are following precautions, like washing hands often, using hand sanitizers, staying clean and trying not to touch their eyes, noses and the rest of their face.

But, as Matt Reeder of Swissdale said, “People are going insane. If they get the virus they’re not going to need toilet paper. I think it’s pretty much just like any virus… mostly affecting older folks and those with other medical issues. If you’re gonna get it, you’re gonna get it.”

Matt and his wife Beckie were buying a few things they needed, nothing that pertained to the virus.

PHOTO PROVIDED Richard Long takes a box of plastic bags from the shelf.

“We’re just getting stufff we need. We’re living life and sanitizing as we do for any flu. The hardest part is teaching our kids — ages 9 and 8 — to wash their hands and not touch their face… their eyes and nose,” Matt said.

“Just keep clean,” he said, of the rule his family is practicing.

Speaking of the kids, the couple thinks it was a good idea to close schools for two weeks.

Although they are working to teach their children the importance of cleanliness to ward off the virus, they said there are many other children in school who don’t have parents who can or do the same for their children.

Beckie said she is especially pleased to learn that the school district is providing lunches for the kids during this shut-down. “For some kids, lunch at school is the all they get. I’m glad the school district is doing this” she said.

PHOTO PROVIDED Dakota Kidd of Lock Haven makes a purchase at Dollar General.

Beckie works at Penn College and Matt works at First Quality in McElhattan. Both are continuing to work through this situation and are glad they have family to watch their children. “Hey, it’s just like any other virus. We’re not changing our lifestyle. We’ll deal with it when it comes. Until then, we’ll just keep on keeping on,” Matt said with a smile as the two carried their items to the check-out counter.

When Yasin Graves was asked what he was doing during this time, he pulled a bottle of hand sanitizer out of his jacket pocket.

“I’m carrying this with me everywhere I go,” he said, holding it up.

“I’m more nervous about the people who are panicking and causing chaos. Viruses come and go. If you get it, you get it and then you better,” he continued, paying for a bottle of nail polish remover and leaving the store.

Dakota Kidd of Lock Haven had a similar reaction.

“Keeping clean… just keeping clean. It’s that simple,” he said, adding that he can’t understand why toilet paper is being sold off the shelves.

Meanwhile, three little boys shopping with their mother smiled when asked about having two weeks off from school. One of them was holding a package of toilet paper… one of only a very few left on the shelves in the back of the store.

But their mother, Chasity Fleisher of Lock Haven, said the toilet paper was just a regular item on her grocery list on this day. “We need toilet paper,” she said, carrying a basket of other items she was purchasing. The boys — Zahki, Maliahkai and Zymire — will be with their grandmother while school is out and their mother works.

Richard Long, 80, of Lock Haven, was buying plastic bags when he agreed to share his thoughts.

“I think it’s wise to stay home. People are scaring each other. I’ve seen this time after time in my 80 years. I’m on top of it,” Long said.

As far as precautions, Long said, “caution and common sense.”

“I’m not scared. I traveled alot with the Navy in my 80 years. If something was going to kill me, I’d be gone,” Long said.

Clerks in Dollar General said the store has not been able to keep toilet paper in stock for a week. Asked about the toilet paper buy-out, they smiled and shook their heads in disbelief.

“It’s been pretty much like any other day, except for the toilet paper,” remarked one of them.

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