Working from home this week, I headed off for break to get some milk.
I could have gone to the corner dairy but, because I'm a journalist, or because I'm an idiot (some readers will say both), I stopped in at the local Pak'nSave to see how things were looking.
It was horrible.
It should have been a quiet Thursday morning but the carpark was full, there were no trolleys in the bay, people were panic-buying.
The staff looked stressed. The shoppers looked scared.
There were people pushing trolleys full of rice and toilet paper. I felt annoyed, judgmental and then, ultimately, overwhelmed by an anxious urge to join them.
The experience had triggered my fight or flight response.
My mind was racing through lists of things that might run out on me; that I could fit in the freezer or the cupboards.
I ended up buying extra bread and rice, cereal, nacho ingredients and, yes, toilet paper – although just one pack.
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It was, in short, a completely half-arsed panic-buying spree.
I had successfully managed the "panic" part and none of the stockpiling.
I remembered the milk, just. But I had forgotten my common sense.
We cannot stockpile our way through this crisis. That much should be clear by now.
Sadly, the timeframe for getting through this thing is going to be too long.
We are going to have to live through it.
We are going to have to settle down and get used to a new way of living for some length of time.
We're going to have to let our fight or flight response calm down too – or we are going to go mad.
Ironically, the supermarket was packed with food. Mountains of avocados, kiwifruit, apples and other fresh produce were piled high.
There was no shortage of fresh meat or fish, chocolate or gourmet cheese.
The structures that keep our supermarket shelves stocked – farming, manufacturing, distribution - all of these things will keep turning, unless we crash them with our own, panicked actions.
And before we get that far the authorities will step in – as they did in World War II - and apply controls ... rationing, security.
Compared to some other very complex parts of the modern capitalist system, food supply is a relatively simple thing to control.
Stock markets, energy markets, credit markets – the things that bring the 21st-century magic to our lives – are all highly complex. The ability of regulators to control them is never certain.
Look at the oil market – out of control on a crazy ill-timed geo-political showdown. Saudi Arabia and Russia facing each other off in a game of chicken which adds extra, and entirely unnecessary, risk to the global financial system.
As an aside - a genuinely strong US President would have made the Saudis pull their heads in and cut production by now.
If you really want to worry about a market – and you probably don't – try following what's happening on credit markets as the aviation, tourism and energy sectors all crash in tandem.
One of the only blessings in this current crisis is that banks are strong compared to 2008.
It's remarkable just how strong financial institutions have looked to this point.
We haven't seen a fully-fledged credit crunch like the one that kickstarted the 2008 Global Financial Crisis but we could.
But credit markets are now stretched.
If we want to hold on to hope that the economies of the world will bounce back rapidly from this pandemic when it has passed – then it is vital that credit markets hold.
This is a good point to again emphasise how strong Australian and New Zealand banks are.
Ratings agency S&P Global was clear this week that they have the capital reserves to withstand this crisis.
We need them to.
With fiscal policy from government, monetary policy from central banks and socially responsible policy from the commercial banks we can buy the time to ride out this economic shock.
However long that time might be, we just have to keep living.
Within the careful boundaries being laid out by health experts, we have to keep doing what we can do in the most normal manner we can.
Normality, suddenly, is a precious commodity.
We will have to cling to whatever scraps of it we can find.
It's what will keep us afloat economically, and for many of us, mentally.
Grocery shopping, cooking and dining, drinking – we need to hold on to those in whatever shape we can.
With so many things to worry about they shouldn't be a source of anxiety.
If shopping is a traumatic experience for someone my age, fitness and relative economic comfort, I can only imagine how awful it must be for the elderly and those with illness or disabilities.
The fear of hunger, the drive to feed our children – these things are primal.
No doubt they tap into basic animal fears. They appear to be what's driving supermarket-madness right now.
But it's a wholly unnecessary problem in a time of much greater problems. We need to stop it.