This article from the Wall Street Journal is unique. This article joins hundreds of others that discuss people preparing to ‘lock down’ as part of China’s Zero COVID strategy. What makes this one unique is choice of language – in particular, the words the reporter chooses NOT to use.
It makes no mention of Panic Buying.
According to dictionary.com, Panic is “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.”
The phrase ‘Panic Buying’ is used to discount the validity of preparation. By associating the buying activity with panic, the phrase implies that it’s an hysterical or irrational behavior. Some reasons that writers choose this phrase:
- The author doesn’t consider emergency preparedness to be important, and since they’ve made this decision they feel the need to validate it by ridiculing those that DO prioritize emergency preparedness.
- The author my be trying to influence peoples’ behavior away from buying emergency supplies, especially in a time of scarcity. We see this when there are lines at the gas pump and our leaders come out to say, “There is no shortage of fuel!” This assurance ignores the definition of shortage.
It looks like Rachel Liang has been reporting from Shanghai all year, and has experienced the reality of shortages during that city’s lockdown. She apparently doesn’t think that buying extra supplies is irrational.
When COVID first hit in March of 2020, the US economy began to shut down. I had a friend ask me, “Did you go out and panic buy toilet paper?” My answer was that I’d done my panic buying months in advance. I recommend you do the same.