Hamsterkauf ("hamster purchase"): That’s how Germans refer to panic buying. However, they tend to hoard toilet paper rather than pets.

literally: “hamster purchase” / meaning: panic buying

March 2020. The time when we still thought: We’re going to make ourselves comfortable at home for a few weeks and in the summer, everything will be over. At least I thought so. Therefore, my only Hamsterkauf at that time consisted of two crates of beer and a can of Frankfurters.

The term goes back to the hamster’s ability to collect vast quantities of supplies in its cheek pouches. Just like the Germans’ ability to stash vast quantities of noodles and toilet paper in their cellars when the virus came. Interestingly, completely different goods were “hamstered” in different countries during that time. In Austria, for example, many drugstores were out of nail polish. In Turkey, there was hardly any chance of getting the popular perfume “Kolonya.” And the Dutch… well, unsurprisingly, they were hoarding marijuana. 

Moreover, there were numerous reports that wine and condoms were in short supply in France. Never have I sympathized more with our neighbors. 

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