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SOCIETY - PANIC SHOPPING

 

Sins & sensibilities of Samaritans

BY PREMSHANKARDAS

12th August 2005: Crisis situations trigger panic buying. Like floods. It happened in Mumbai recently. The rationale is to stock as much as possible, especially food stuff. The thinking is based on the assumption that a catastrophe is lurking --a worst case scenario, which would mean the food stocks would diminish. Or rather vanish. And you will have to survive on the stuff which you accumulated for weeks. You canít count on friends, relatives or even neighbours. They may not have adequate food stock too.

So what drives panic buying? Is it greed? No. If it is not greed, would you share the fruits of panic buying with neighbours in need? Or strangers who drop in hungry seeking food? Situation demands that you do exactly that. But the element of greed which drives panic stocking of food would also drive you to stack as much as possible for yourself rather than inviting the needy. It is inviting trouble.

Greed is an inbuilt mechanism in all humans. Only the degree varies. And the degree is decided by factors which make or break a situation. So, greed is directly linked to situations which are out of manís control.

Thus, it becomes essential for greed to step in when calamity strikes. Stacking food and feigning ignorance about it to the needy other than you may, in fact, be pardonable in the holy scheme of things which thrust unwarranted situations on you. After all, no one asked for floods to ravage their own cities, for calamities to wreak havoc on human lives. You never chose the impotent administration which miserably fails at every hour of crisis.

But once you stacked food and the situation eased earlier-than-expected, many tend to distribute their golden stocks, lest they get damaged. This is based on the simple logic that biting off more than what one can chew is unacceptable, irrational and can pose problems for the one who chews.

No theory of equality runs in the blood of these self-proclaimed Good Samaritans. They are just being petty human beings. And that is how a majority of human beings behave and they are expected to do so. You just need not sin to be labelled a sinner. Just be human enough to care for your needs and be called sinner. The world works that way. No hard feelings.

BY PREMSHANKARDAS

 

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