Big box stores in some states have been banned from selling "nonessential items," and shopper still have not come to terms with the policy. In states including Michigan and Vermont, big chains like Walmart and Target have been banned from selling electronics, clothes and other items that are not essential to survival during the coronavirus pandemic. There is a lot of gray area in that definition, however, and many shoppers are furious about it.
Experts say social distancing is the most important step to slowing the spread of the coronavirus, so many nonessential stores around the country have been closed. Some states have taken it a step further, requiring stores that sell both types of products to block the aisles where nonessential goods are kept and refuse to sell them to customers. This has already given rise to a number of controversies, with customers arguing that their purchase is essential, whatever lawmakers say. The debate has risen to a fever pitch on social media.
Everybody in Walmart looking at each other's baskets making sure they ain't the only one buying non essential items LMAO— Bethani Taylor (@bethtay93) April 16, 2020
Some of the outrage over the nonessential item bans is well-within reason — for example, some people online have complained that they could not get materials for repairing their home electrical system or appliances, which are surely needed as they shelter in place. However, others have argued that there is no practical thought behind the bans at all, and that shoppers should have the "freedom" to buy whatever they want through this crisis.
The thinking behind these nonessential item bans is that they will reduce the number of people leaving the house. As the boredom of self-isolation mounts, many people might be tempted to make a trip to Target or Walmart just to browse clothes, for example. Meanwhile, the businesses themselves could be tempted to have a doorbuster sale on TVs or video games, drawing people out of their homes.
On top of that, every open section of the store now requires much more cleaning and maintenance than before to prevent the spread of the virus. This puts other customers and employees at risk. While the bans are not ideal, they are intended to protect the public from this pandemic, even if they sometimes miss the mark.
Still, social media is full of arguments surrounding this topic, with a wide spectrum of viewpoints. Many people acknowledge that the bans may be necessary, but they take issue with how they have been applied and which items have been included. Here is a look at what Twitter is saying on the subject right now.
Hats vs. Shovels
How is Venus a non essential company? They sell ESSENTIALS god.........— Ina Sabrina (@saaabster) April 18, 2020
I wonder if Walmart doing oil changes or is that non essential— 💜Tini💜 (@_SimplyTini_) April 19, 2020
i work for a company that makes childrens products like coloring books. We are clearly non essential but we remain open, why? We supply Walmart and Amazon.— They have power because we allow them. (@JVRJewels) April 16, 2020
cant wait till i can go to walmart for nonessential items like paint because im running out and amazon doesnt have the colors i want which is all of them— liza (@lizathelozer) April 18, 2020
Yes we had snow. And because of your ridiculous ban nonessential items my nephew was denied a spark plug he was trying to buy for his generator at Walmart. How it that nonessential? Luckily he was able to get one.— Samantha Gage (@SamanthaGage3) April 15, 2020
It's non essential..like nba basketball..having 10 pairs of extra pants will not make it life and death..it's more for comfort. Get over it. Sheesh everyone gotta complain about something. Everyone suffering.— Heavy Metal Hollywood (@heavy_hollywood) April 14, 2020