Consumer Alert: Got toilet paper? Costco is limiting how much you can buy.

[anvplayer video=”5059040″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Your consumer alert will sound familiar. In fact, it will sound much like the news we brought you during the spring of last year.

In March of 2020, News10NBC bought you numerous reports about shortages of everything from toilet paper to ground beef. That was then.

This is now. Costco is again anticipating serious shortages of goods like paper towels and toilet paper. The problem is two-fold. Yes. With the spread of the delta variant, consumers are buying more staples. But Costco leaders say the primary reason for the shortages is a broken supply chain.

On Wednesday I showed you pictures of ports packed with shipping containers waiting for weeks to be unloaded.

A COVID-caused confluence of events brought us to this point. Plant shutdowns in key Asian producing countries caused big delays. Pandemic port regulation and labor shortages bring activity at ports to a standstill. And finally, too few trucks and drivers are available to get goods to market.

Shoppers are already seeing shortages at Costco and have taken to Twitter. A user who calls himself Counselor Lewis complained, “What’s wrong with people? Did we not learn from last year at all? I pulled up to Costco, and they are out of toilet paper and water.”

So now Costco is again limiting how much you can buy. You’ll see limits on things like toilet paper, paper towels, Kirkland Signature water, and high-demand cleaning supplies. Costco leaders are trying to fix the broken supply chain themselves by chartering three container ships to get goods to their stores faster.

So will prices go up because of these shipping costs? They already have at the manufacturing level. You’ll remember Kimberly-Clark announced in March it was hiking prices on paper goods. But according to a Forbes report in June, Costco did not pass those costs on to us.

We’ll see if that holds. I also wanted to know if other stores are limiting how much we can buy. I checked the websites for Walmart and Target. While there’s not been a formal announcement recently, both retailers warn they reserve the right to limit the number of products consumers can buy.

But we all can help. Pandemic panic purchasing pains us all. Get what you need for now, and we’ll all have enough for later.