Home Affairs: Panic Buying

As always in time of danger, there were some who bolted like frightened yearlings. They started runs on flour, although the U.S. has two years' supply of wheat in granaries, and on sugar, which is in no immediate danger of becoming as scarce as it was in World War I. In Washington there was a heavy sale of rifles and pistols—for use against parachutists.

In coastal areas there were legitimate runs on goods which became suddenly important. In Los Angeles, demand for flashlights and candles was 200 times normal; stores were nearly cleaned out. Portable radios sold fast; so did garden hose,...