Wealthy people are buying extra freezers to stock up on coronavirus groceries in their second homes, and it could cripple small towns with limited resources

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  • Visitors in ritzy vacation towns are reportedly buying extra freezers to store all of the food they have been stocking up on.
  • Many people have fled to second homes in more suburban areas (like the Hamptons and Cape Cod) in order to escape coronavirus hotspots like New York City.
  • As result, these enclaves favoured by the 1% are dealing with a depletion of local resources and rampant food shortages.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

People are reportedly buying second freezers to hold all the extra food they have been stockpiling after descending upon ritzy vacation spots, according to the New York Times’ Tracey Tully and Stacey Stowe. The news comes after many city-dwellers fled hotspots such as New York City in exchange for smaller and more remote areas like the Hamptons, causing food shortages and a depletion of local resources.

“They want to make sure they have enough for a year,” Jonathan Amaral, a house manager and chef at a gated estate in Southampton, told the Times in March. “The shelves were bare. For us locals and middle class people, that hurts.”

The Hamptons has been one of the areas affected by food shortages, with reports of numerous grocery stores being wiped clean. The Times also reported in March that gourmet food store Red Horse Market, located in East Hampton, has had customers requesting personal shoppers or curbside grocery delivery, so they don’t have to enter the store. Speaking to the Times, owner Jeff Lange said his store doesn’t have the staff to fulfil such requests.

“We had people showing up to buy a lot of meat,” Lange told the Times, “and there were moments where we had to step in and say, ‘That’s too much.’ There’s no hard line on the meat, for example, but if it seems like more than what is fair, we say so.”

The New York Post’s Jennifer Gould Keil similarly reported that upscale grocery stores in the Hamptons have been “ransacked” by the wealthy who fled there. “I had one customer spend $US8,000,” Joe Gurrera, founder of supermarket chain Citarella, told Gould Keil. “You know when you see someone with a full shopping cart? Now they have five.” Gurrera said that these well-heeled customers are buying everything from whole trays of steaks to entire prepared lasagnas.

USA Today reported on April 3 that appliance retailers have seen a major uptick in freezer chest and deep freezer sales, resulting in freezers selling out entirely or being on back-order for months at stores including Home Depot, Best Buy, and Lowe’s. “As people purchase more food to freeze and reduce their trips outside, we’ve seen double-digit increases in the number of freezers posted and more than twice the volume of freezers sold compared to the same time last year,” Nick Huzar, the CEO and cofounder of online marketplace OfferUp, told USA Today.

And of course, the luxury of a spare freezer or two (costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars) isn’t exactly something the typical, average working person could afford – not to mention the space necessary to bring it into your home.

Food stockpiling is one example of behaviour that’s stoking anger among locals who live in vacation towns year-round

Business Insider previously reported that the Hamptons, along with the Catskills, Nantucket, and Cape Cod, has been dealing with an uptick in part-time residents, as those who usually vacation there in the summer or winter are arriving out of season to dodge the pandemic wreaking havoc on larger cities.

As a result, residents in Cape Cod started a petition to close the bridges to prevent access into the area, while Nantucket residents are begging people to stay away, as the island only has 14 hospital beds. In the Catskills, angry residents have even taken to Facebook to announce their displeasure with the uptick in visitors.

“The only cases in Greene County were brought here from downstate people so stay down there,” one man wrote in a Facebook Group, as noted by the New York Times in March. “Just because you have a second home up here doesn’t mean you have the right to put us at risk.”