In this May 22 2020 article, Nouriel Roubini (BA Bocconi University 1982, PhD Harvard 1988) proclaimed:

You’re going to start having food riots soon enough. Look at the luxury stores in New York. They’ve either boarded them up or emptied their shelves,  because they’re worried people are going to steal the Chanel bags. The few stores that are open, like my Whole Foods, have security guards both inside and outside. We are one step away from food riots. There are lines three miles long at food banks. That’s what’s happening in America. You’re telling me everything’s going to become normal in three months? That’s lunacy.

  • "Security guard" could mean anything from a hooded guy watching the camera feed and peeking over when a checkout gate starts beeping, all the way to a walking fortress with a mean attitude and a license to kill. Which type does the proclaimer claim to be witnessing? May 26 '20 at 7:18
  • There have been lots of new gun sales too due to Covid. I don't see how this (beefed up security) is remarkable claim. Especially since it's not quantified much. And yea people have stolen food from stores. See Italy, Lidl stories. youtube.com/watch?v=NsNWbfatRwg
    – Fizz
    May 26 '20 at 8:04
  • 2
    Also you've mixed up the claims in your title:he doesn't say the luxury stores have hired new guards. He says that about the grocery stores.
    – Fizz
    May 26 '20 at 8:49
  • The Whole Foods in my town has a security guard that it didn't have before, who manages the number of people in the store, which is something that wasn't necessary in normal times. It's pretty clear that they're not there to prevent a food riot. May 26 '20 at 16:26
  • @Fizz I intended to include pricier grocery stores like Whole Foods into 'luxury stores."
    – NNOX Apps
    May 26 '20 at 22:17

CNN (March 23) Cops in the toilet paper aisle: Grocery stores add extra security :

Grocery stores are bringing on additional off-duty police officers and private security guards to help manage crowded aisles, long lines and jammed parking lots during the coronavirus outbreak. [...]

ShopRite, Stop & Shop and Kroger (KR) are three major chains beefing up their security, according to the companies. Kroger has increased its off-duty police and uniformed presence in Columbus, Ohio, said a spokesperson for the city police department.

Walmart (WMT) is using a mix of off-duty law enforcement and third-party security, a spokesperson said. "The big difference is that everything is at a much broader scale because it's all happening nationally."

Some ShopRite stores are adding private security guards to help with crowd control or paying local police departments to direct traffic in crowded parking lots, according to a spokesperson.


  • 4
    Though "local police departments [...] direct traffic in crowded parking lots" seems a bit more than "one step away from foot riots". The article seems to be mostly about panic buying in the early(-ish) days of the outbreak, where additional (security) personnel was hired to manage the increased mass of people.
    – tim
    May 26 '20 at 8:55

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