This photograph of an empty freezer in a supermarket was taken on Sunday 15th March during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in Melbourne in 2020. It references the panic buying that was happening around the world.

From Australia to Asia and Europe to the USA, consumers stockpiled toilet paper and other products in response to the fear and uncertainty about the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic would bring. The panic buying blitz led to widespread stock shortages, leaving many consumers without household staples for several months and manufacturers working around the clock to keep up with demand.

The photographer of this image, Frances Gleeson, was shopping with her sister Angela when she took the photo at Woolworths. The sisters visited Woolworths in South Preston at approximately 2:00pm on a Sunday afternoon. The freezer, featured in this photograph, was almost completely stripped of product.

Angela Gleeson noted, "I was immediately surprised as I drove into the car park. It was extremely busy, cars everywhere. It was very unusual for a Sunday afternoon shop. We entered the store and there was a shopping frenzy going on. Shoppers' trolleys were overflowing with goods. People were quite civilized but just buying up big. We looked at each other and said what is going on. I thought of the old song 'Something in the Air' by Thunderclap Newman - 'Lock up the streets and houses, because there's something in the air.' We had planned to purchase only a few items. Before we knew it we had swapped our basket for a trolley! As you see by the pictures, many of the shelves were already empty at this time especially the essentials."

Frances, who is living and working in Japan, was in Australia visiting her family at the time she took this photograph. She took this photograph to show her friends and students back in Japan. Because of the corona virus pandemic she had to end her trip early to return to Japan and flew out in a rush after her original flight was cancelled and then rescheduled.

Description of Content

Empty freezer at a supermarket.

Physical Description

Digital colour photograph.

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