People Keep Panic-Buying Groceries...Except for These Lonely, Unwanted Items

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Mar. 18 2020, Updated 12:37 p.m. ET

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing people to panic-buy hoards of groceries, which... don't do that! It's unnecessary! There is no disruption to the supply chain! All you're doing by buying up all the eggs is ensuring that more vulnerable people have a harder time than they already do procuring those and other essential items. It's not cool!

Now that that's out of the way, there are still some items that, no matter how bad things get, no one wants. And people everywhere are taking snapshots of these sad, lonely, rejected grocery items. When you see them, you'll understand.

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Carrot spirals

Truly, though, what is one supposed to do with frozen carrot spirals? The thought of eating them actually makes me a little nauseous. You just know that no matter how you try to cook them, they will still be mushy spirals of carrot. There's no getting around that. So I don't blame anyone for leaving these behind.

Hawaiian pizza

I don't have to understand French to know that no one in their right mind would want Hawaiian pizza, especially frozen Hawaiian pizza. I'm in the Never Pineapple camp when it comes to pizza toppings, and I just so happen to be correct, so.

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Chocolate hummus and Buffalo hummus

The "dessert hummus" phase is one of the more recent affronts to food, and it is sort of reassuring to know that as desperate as things seem to be with the coronavirus pandemic, no one is desperate enough to stoop to eating chocolate hummus. The Buffalo-style hummus is probably disgusting, too. 

The only acceptable mix-ins for hummus are lemon, garlic, and red pepper (but not all at the same time!).

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Peter Pan peanut butter

I grew up in a Skippy household, so in my mind, the peanut butter rankings go: Skippy, Smucker's, JIF, every other type of nut butter on the shelf, no peanut butter at all, then Peter Pan. I think no matter what your favorite brand of peanut butter is, Peter Pan is rightfully your least favorite.

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Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder is so inferior to New England Clam Chowder that one wonders why it even exists at all. I have a distinct memory of my dad ordering Manhattan Clam Chowder once and wondering what happened to the man I once knew and looked up to.

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Cauliflower mac and cheese

This is the most perplexing one on the list, simply because I would probably eat that Kraft Mac and Cheese cheese sauce out of an old shoe. What are a few gross cauliflower noodles? That being said, I feel like people with kids probably know that their children are picky mac and cheese connoisseurs who would know the difference right away and throw a fit about it.

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Cinnamon Peeps

Of course Hot Tamales cinnamon-flavored Peeps are the only candy left on the shelf in the grocery store. I can't think of a single person who would want to buy and eat those at any time, let alone during a pandemic. 

Peeps in general are a divisive treat. I happen to think the original flavor is unoffensive, but these? These should burn.

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Arrowhead water

Take it from someone who moved from the east coast (Poland Spring territory) to the West Coast (Arrowhead territory): Arrowhead water thinks it's Poland Spring, but it's not. It's so much worse. It could never be what Poland Spring is. Not in a million years. 

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Kale gnocchi

On their own? Kale and gnocchi aren't so bad? But together? A travesty. Maybe kale gnocchi would be OK if it was made by a world-renowned chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant, but I don't even think then, that's what I would order off the menu. So you definitely won't find me buying it frozen from Trader Joe's.

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Shrimp-flavored instant ramen

Everyone wants the chicken flavored ramen, and yes, that is the best kind. But I don't think the shrimp is that bad. That being said, I don't think I've had it since...maybe high school. So maybe my memory is warped.

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Baby Shark cereal

Would you want to get the world's most annoying song stuck in your head every time you tried to eat breakfast? Yeah, I don't think so. Many are saying that this panic-buying trend is good for stores to learn which things really shouldn't be on their shelves in the first place. I think it's time for Baby Shark cereal to retire...forever.

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Unsalted potato chips

Have you ever accidentally bitten into an unsalted chip when you thought it was salted? It's one of the worst feelings in the world. I don't know who voluntarily buys unsalted chips. I guess the answer is no one. Because they are bad. Shouldn't even be made.

That being said, Lay's Lightly Salted Potato Chips are some of the best out there. Lightly Salted = Big Yes. Unsalted = GTFO.

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Lima beans

Poor lima beans. They've gotten such a bad rap, and I don't know why. They're not bad! I think the problem with lima beans is that they've been vilified for so long that no one knows how to cook them to make them delicious anymore. But if you google "lima bean recipes," I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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Gluten-free bread

At least all the gluten-free people will still have bread to buy. It really is eerie to see these empty shelves. Very apocalyptic. Not making me feel great about the state of the world! 

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Broccoli pizza crust

Raise your hand if the coronavirus is making you want to eat all the junk you can possibly get your hands on because you are so stressed and scared all the time. Now raise your hand if the coronavirus is making you want to eat healthy, gross substitutes that definitely don't taste good and won't even momentarily quell your fears about the doom we are all facing? Exactly.

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The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit

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