RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- In shades of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, some supermarkets are reporting shortages of paper products and a surge in hoarding behavior by shoppers.
In Riverside, the shelves of a Stater Bros. store that normally hold paper towels and toilet paper were looking fairly bare.
"I've heard customers saying is there something I don't know going on, like what's going on, and it had me thinking, am I supposed to be buying stuff again?" said Marlene Walker of Moreno Valley.
Not all stores appear to be having issues. Outside a nearby Albertsons, there was no obvious sign of people loading up their carts with paper products.
Some customers who spoke to Eyewitness News say the situation seems more apparent at big-box stores like Costco or Sam's Club.
"At Costco, people were taking more than one big package, and at the register they were telling them they weren't allowed to, they're only allowed to buy one big package of toilet paper," said Margarita Garcia of Riverside.
The reasons for the shortages weren't entirely clear. Stores aren't reporting any problems with manufacturing and distribution, but say demand for the products is up.
Some stores say they're seeing customers make less frequent shopping trips, but when they do they buy in bulk.
Some also think there was some hoarding being done in preparation for sheltering at home during possible unrest linked to the election.
Smart and Final officials said: "We've seen an increase in demand for paper products, but it's important to note that there aren't any supplier issues related to raw materials. We continue to encourage people to buy only what they need...."
Albertsons said: "Just as we've seen for the last several months, customers are shopping less frequently, but buying more in their trips to the store or their ecommerce orders..."
Other customers noted that many of the other goods that were in short supply at the start of the pandemic now appear to be plentiful, such as hand sanitizer, soap and other cleaning products.