Shoppers clearing out shelves of face masks at convenience stores

FamilyMart and Hi-Life, two major convenience stores, have begun selling masks on June 2. (Courtesy of Family Mart)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — shoppers swept convenience stores’ shelves clean of face masks in minutes on Tuesday amid soaring demand and rumors of a limited supply, one day after the lifting of the restrictions on face masks.

FamilyMart and Hi-Life, two major convenience chain stores, started selling masks in the early hours that day with most shoppers inquiring about masks sold in packaged boxes.

Most stores only have small packages of face masks, according to the local media. 

Asked about when will the convenience store take the next stock of face masks, a clerk couldn’t confirm any purchase date.

A Family Mart Stores manager, surnamed Hsie, who operates 5 convenience stores in Changhua County, pointed out that headquarters stockpiled 20,000 boxes of 50-mask boxes sold at a special price of NT$299 (US$10) per box. 

Yet, only 3 boxes are distributed to each store per day, meaning that they were immediately sold out, Hsie added. 

Even though some stores allow face masks orders — one Family Mart stores in Changhua had more than 70 people pre-ordered already as of press time, customers couldn’t purchase any due to the limited supply anyway. 

A Hi-Life employee in Changhua Country explained that their store received 10 boxes of masks.  Even though customers are limited to purchasing 1 box per person, they were sold out before the dawn of light.