Normal shopping isn’t hoarding.
Hoarding is an obsessive compulsive behaviour and a response to anxiety. The best way to decide whether what you’re doing is hoarding or just routine, is to sit and imagine not buying those 10 loaves of bread you have in your trolley. If it causes you real distress (ie panic attack, crying, etc) it’s hoarding.
Thing is, in these times we’re all dealing with real anxiety, and most people don’t know how to manage it. The idea of buying and having lots of things is soothing for people trained to find pleasure in shopping. So it’s only to be expected. I imagine a lot people buying ‘extra’ plan to share it with family or legit keep it for an unpredictable emergency. They feel safer with a stockpile.
A lot of white m/c australians have never had to deal with real shortages, so they’re stocking up on the wrong things. Here in Ashfield where we’re from Nepal, China, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Poland, etc, a lot of people know how to deal with scarcity, so they’re always stocked up, and with the right things. Rice, preserved food, spices to give flavour to plain food. And they don’t waste food.
Hoarding is not good, but i see it as a bellweather for community feeling.
Here our supermarkets (preserve of m/c people) are a mess, but our Asian grocers are not.
So, because you can’t do anything about other people, check yourself. Be mindful of your purchasing. One extra loaf is bread is fine (esp if you freeze any extra). But be aware: if you get to three or four, check your general anxiety and wellbeing. Buying excessive amounts will tell you how your anxiety levels are.
But don’t judge yourself harshly for being a sensible housekeeper.
Dance people! Argh! You’re home, you can’t dance or see your mates, you are going nuts. What can you do?
If only we had a pool of highly motivated, experienced volunteers and managerial types with time on their hands. If only we had an extensive network of local, national, and international people who liked doing community stuff. If only we had fb groups and email lists and instagram accounts! IF ONLY.
Wait. We DO.
The international lindy hop community is fully sick on the whole organisation thing.
Need a group of tired and confused people sorted into groups quickly and efficiently? Have I got the class-levels-audition judge or competitor marshall for YOU.
Need someone who can organise food and beds for hundreds of people? Have I got the housing coordinator or catering team for YOU.
Need someone who can balance a tight budget, weedle cash out of reluctant individuals, or write a shit-hot grant application? I have the event organisers for YOU.
I haven’t had a chance to think about this properly, yet, but I do know there are a lot of worried, disheartened people in my immediate community looking for something to _do_ to help. Why not put your big brains to work?
Here are a couple of things I’ve come up with:
Hassle our MPs:
– If the dole (newstart, pension, etc) is increased to a liveable wage, we’ll all be better off when we lose a lot more jobs. People with an income spend money, and that means they feed money into the economy. Which is good for all of us, not just those of us who sell bread or run restaurants.
-> So we want to hassle our members of parliament about this. Write letters. Send emails. Get tapping, folk.
Support our local charities:
– Local charities like The Exodus Foundation and Addison Road Community Centre have had a huge increase of people coming in for help in the past month. They need food, basic health stuff (TP, pads, etc), and they need volunteers.
– Lots of us are going to be needing these services soon.
-> So we need to take our extra groceries down there in person. This will give us a chance to scope out the place, and get familiar. Which will make it easier to…
-> Volunteer at places like Exodus or Addison Road. They always need people to do jobs like making food, cleaning up, driving cars, washing things, and so on.
It kind of sucks at the moment, but things will probably get worse. BUT there are things we can do. And the international dance community is kind of crazily competent. I mean, we operate huge cultural events with virtually no government funding. I’d like to see the Australian Ballet pull off the shit _we’re_ capable of!
Now you have all that free time on your hands ( :D ), have you considered mobilising to help local charities? It’ll help you feel less worried, and be a nice social connection to replace dancing <3 Places like the Addison Road Community Centre food bank and the Exodus foundation need food for people who are in dire straits.
So while you’re out for a bit of panic-buying, why not grab some ring pull cans, porridge sachets, all those foods you can eat if you’re homeless and only have access to boiling water?
I’m going to see if they need things like basic clothes, as I’m going hard on the lockdown-sewing.
How to go about responding to COVID-19 in Australia?
A good starting point would be to collate:
- number of cases per state/australia
- sources for daily updates from gov
- legal recommendations from gov (eg we still allowed gathering in groups atm).
- I do my usual ‘hello, thanks for your email, i will reply by [DATE]’ (usually a week) reply to emails if I don’t have a comment ready.
- I am developing a task calendar of what we’ll do when
- I’m planning out what we’ll say in our public comments, and in our correspondence to various contractors, staff, and volunteers.
Then each organisation should develop a long term plan and a short term. Even if it’s as simple as ‘we won’t close anything now, but we will reassess in (x) days. When we get to (x) we will decide.’ Then make a rough outline of jobs to be done for either closing or not closing.
Another issue: is your insurance up to date, and does it cover loss profits, health care, etc etc?
I’d also have a look at finances: do you have any bills to pay, any money owed to you.
And just go over your refund policies for classes and events and things.
-> basically get your affairs in order, so you can make informed decisions.
I’m getting a few queries about our events this year, so you will soon, too, I guess.
I personally feel I have a responsibility to present and promote a sense of calm capable professionalism, so I’m planning my responses carefully:
Luckily, we have an extensive and useful safe space policy (more than just a code of conduct), and I’m just rolling our hygiene and response-to-pandemic issues into that. We already have a developed tone (a way of speaking to people about this stuff), and we have developed a good sense of mutual trust, so I feel local dancers trust us to make sensible decisions.
I don’t want to create a sense of panic, so I’m being very careful with tone (light, but also knowledgeable), I’m using solid resources (eg WHO, Dept of Health, etc, _not_ newspaper or mass media articles), and I’m planning ahead.
I’m also thinking long term. What will we need to do to redevelop our local scene _after_ this, what will we need to do to support local bands and DJs, and what can we do to support local venues (our scene is rooted in a few key commercial spaces: Ruby’s, a dancer-run dance hall, but also a lot of live music venues).
So I’m looking at what we might need to do to restart local parties, and how we might promote our events in a post-pandemic community where people are afraid of gathering in groups. I’ve learnt a lot from talking to Christchurch organisers about how they dealt with fear after the earthquakes.
This is changing so quickly, and the panicked tone of a lot of online talk from the US and European dance world is making me feel a bit antsy, and I can see it affecting the Australian dancers, too, so I’m also limiting what and how much I read online. Official, reliable sources only for me.
Whatever you plan to do, it’s worth planning those public responses before you have to give them, so you’re not emailing and FB commenting in real time (ie in stress time).
Sharon and I met last Wednesday (9 March) to discuss this issue. We decided to cancel Jazz BANG. We also discussed things we could do to foster the local scene.
Today I put our plan to cancel into motion, sending off emails, etc.
I noticed that some of the content in our email copy had to be rewritten because things had changed so much in the past week. Last week we thought we could continue to run local dances each week. This week we have no classes or parties running in our businesses for the foreseeable future.
To actually put the cancellation into action, we had quite a long to-do list. It’s taken us a week of hard work (including international phone calls with teachers) to get to this point. But so much has changed in a week, we’ve had to rework some of the plans we made a few days ago. And it has been stressful, miserable work. Sending out these emails today has made me cry. And I’m not a big cryer. All our hard work, all the things we had planned, all the new stuff we were going to do.
But then, the thought of contributing to the spread of the disease is what decided us: I can’t bear the thought of making this situation worse. Of sending friends and loved ones home sick, to spread the illness through their own families and communities.
So please start looking at your cancellation plans now. If the international example is anything to go by, we will be locked down for many months. China is still locked down after two months, and their response has been better than Australia’s.
I’m finding this stressful and just heart breaking. All that hard work gone. All those artists out of work. Our businesses imperilled. Please reach out to your friends for a bit of hand holding and affection before you think you need it.