BOSTON - This past weekend, my girlfriend was worried that we were low on toilet paper. So, we went out to our local Star Market for some groceries and household essentials. 

Luckily, we got all the food we needed, but when I arrived at the toilet paper I was stunned: empty shelves, as far as the eye could see. So, we headed over to a nearby CVS. All gone. 

Dollar tree, all gone. Amazon, all gone. The list goes on. We finally managed to buy some at our small, local grocery store that had put a limit on how many rolls a customer could purchase at once. 

This is not a sob story about how I spent the better part of my Saturday trying to buy toilet paper, but rather a stark reminder that your actions can have unintended consequences. 

In a crisis, it is important to be safe but smart. If you buy two months worth of toilet paper, odds are that someone else will be left with nothing. If you buy two months worth of soap, odds are someone else won't be able to wash their hands. Thinking about others is an action that is severely lacking at the moment.

Here are some tips for how you can live safely without impacting those around you:

  1. Buy a reasonable amount. Sure, you can buy a little more than you usually need, of course. But know that stores will be re-stocked and the city will help out. I would think twice about buying the last canned soup in the aisle if you already have several at home. 
  2. DON'T congregate with large groups. Sure, if you're young you feel like this virus doesn't mean much, but when you decide to go out to a bar with friends, you might be getting sick or getting someone else sick. If ANY of those people happen to get someone else sick or come in to contact with an older person, we are putting their lives in danger. Again, not saying you shouldn't leave your house at all, but try to avoid any group of people if possible. 
  3. If you feel sick, try to get tested. 

The bottom line is this: just try and remember that we live in a city, with other people. If we all think about how our actions during this time will impact others, we will come out of this a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous community. Stay safe!

Image via Wikimedia Commons