Japanese people have a reputation for being considerate and polite. Many go out of their way to help, and they are quick to apologize over the smallest of incidents. Nevertheless, panic buying during a pandemic has tested everyone’s etiquette. From the front lines, pharmacy clerks are detailing the debasement of courtesy when there isn’t enough toilet paper or medical masks to go around.

Indeed, customers can get nasty. As an American, I've experienced buying frenzies on an annual basis. Although the conditions are different, every Black Friday seems to bring out the primal instinct in shoppers.

Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. This period is a remarkably profitable time for retailers. A toy store I formally worked at typically experienced a 10x growth in daily profits during the season.

To start strong, stores will advertise massive discounts and thereby attract throngs of bargain-hunting customers. During the season of giving, customers remain on edge vying for discounted laptops or the latest must-have plush doll. Lines are long, and God help you if you get caught cutting. Indeed, it's humanity at its best...

So, if that’s how people behave during the good times, it’s easy enough to imagine things getting nasty now. Well, we need not wonder anymore. Although many have heard about price-gouging and PPE hoarding, pharmacy clerks/Twitter users like Masaburo (@otogi_zousi1203) are sharing their firsthand experiences. Like a baseball batting lineup, klepto customers and plundering patrons are lining up to take a swing at store clerks. Grab a helmet; spring training is in session.

The Nine Most Conniving Customers

No. 1: "The Old Man Elbower."
While Masaburo was stocking alcohol antiseptic, an older man practically all but tackled the clerk to get his share. Masaburo received quite the elbowing. The incident resulted in a bruise that lasted a week. The mark was so bad that management recognized it as a workplace injury.

Inventory is apparently a contact sport.

No. 2: “The Entitled Latecomer."
At Masaburo's store, one older lady comes nearly every day before closing. Clearly upset, she berates the staff angrily, "Are there no masks today, too?!" Of course not! Even if they had arrived that morning, they certainly would have sold-out by closing time.

Is it early birds or late birds? I can never remember.

No. 3: “The Purchase-Ticket Counterfeiter."
An older man attempted to buy medical masks using a purchase order ticket. One small problem: the ticket was fake. He had counterfeited it to get extra masks.

No masks for you!

No. 4: “The Over-Excited Forager.”
Before opening, while Masaburo was stocking, an older man somehow managed his way into the store. When he saw staff unloading new products, he began yelling, "they have masks!" Masaburo almost called the police.

Gotta remember to lock that door.

No. 5: “The Impatient Illiterate."
Every morning, before opening, an older man comes to Masaburo's store. He makes a ruckus banging on the shutter, shouting, "Oi! You got masks today?" Of course, he ignores the sign out front informing customers they are currently sold-out.

God, am I annoying? Just give me a sign.

No. 6: “The Sanitizer Swindler.”
Many stores are putting alcohol-based hand sanitizer in entranceways for use by customers. One crafty older lady brought in her Tupperware to stock up. Fortunately, a security guard caught her plundering, and the stolen sanitizer was returned."

This isn’t what it looks like!

No. 7: “The Conspiracy Theorist."
An older lady managed to force her way into the pharmacy inventory area. Convinced staff were hoarding masks to her detriment, she shouted, "The staff are hiding masks from us. I know they are doing it.” A report was filed with police following the incident.

And Prime Minister Abe is actually a lizard person.

No. 8: “The Frightened Finger-licker."
A woman who frantically berated staff for not having masks finally got to the counter to pay. Of course, while counting her money, she lifted her masks to lick her finger. She was even wearing two masks! Completely nonsensical.

I got pneumonia! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

No. 9: “The Plotting Parent.”
At Masaburo's store, there is a policy of one mask pack per household. One mother had her child buy a mask pack separately, but when it came time to check out the poor kid mistakenly asked: "Mama, what about the point card?" Cover blown. The mother proceeded to spend about an hour and a half scolding her child, saying, "It's your fault I could only buy one mask pack. Do you want your mother to die from the Coronavirus?"

Ahh, yes. COVID-19 is the children's fault.

By - Luke Mahoney.