experiment Out There COVID

(Doomsday) Rule #12: Bounty Paper Towels


How stocked is your pantry? No, we’re not looking to crash at your place for a few days until we get back on our feet; it’s more of a “we just binged The Last of Us, and we feel unprepared for another global outbreak“ type of question.


Join us in our anxiety attack and assume that, effective immediately, the government issued a strict COVID-19-inspired lockdown such that the only reason anyone is allowed to leave their home is for essential work. How long would you last with access only to the items currently in your home?



In this sudden lockdown scenario, most Americans (55%) currently have enough supplies on hand to last at least a week. It’s about time somebody put a darker spin on the phrase “while supplies last.” Wealthier folks are much more likely to be stocked up for doomsday (or doomsweek): Two-thirds (67%) of those making at least six figures could make it a minimum of seven days without restocking, while fewer than half (47%) of all Americans making less than $25k could do the same. Does caviar not expire? We refuse to Google this.


Now suppose you have some advanced warning that a lockdown is coming. What are you piling into your Mad Max-style fire-laden, barbed-wire-adorned shopping cart? We crowdsourced an apocalyptic shopping list using a MaxDiff experiment, so you can navigate the aisles with purpose instead of sending someone’s grandmother to the hospital because you started throwing elbows over Kroger’s last container of Lysol.



The most important items to stock up on when preparing for an extended lockdown are canned foods and bottled water, according to Americans. It is only after taking care of their food intake needs that Americans recommend addressing food that has already been digested (toilet paper is the fourth-most important item to restock). Judging by the availability of Charmin in the spring of 2020, everyone's pantries must have been completely and utterly stocked full of canned foods and bottled water.