Panic gripped the city of Yichang, Hubei province this week amid rumors that the price of salt would go up. Bags of the table condiment began flying off shelves as residents rushed to local supermarkets to stock up on the stuff, leading to a short supply across the city.
Staff at a local supermarket said that a line of salt-buying customers, most of whom were elderly people, could be seen queuing outside the shop every morning when it opened. Rumor had it that the salt price was increasing, some said.
Staff from large chain supermarkets like Walmart and RT-mart said that they ran out of salt shortly after 8:00 a.m. every morning, as well.
“This phenomenon has been witnessed for the past few days,” one employee said.
In order to maintain sufficient supplies of salt for the local residents, some supermarkets said they would begin rationing the amount sold every day.
In an attempt to calm the masses, the Hubei branch representative of China National Salt Industry Co., Ltd. insisted that talk of a price surge was simply a rumor. He added that the supply of different types of salt in Hubei province is actually sufficient, but that a new brand of salt hitting the shelves was priced slightly higher than average. As many people are still panic-buying the stuff, stores are still experiencing a shortage of supply.
[Images via NetEase]
By Joyce Ng