Supermarket shoppers fighting over toilet paper could soon be a thing of the past.
A Wollongong man has developed an app he believes could curb panic buying of essential items like toilet paper and face masks during lockdowns.
After witnessing widespread panic buying during the COVID-19 pandemic, and initially struggling to buy face masks and hand sanitiser himself, 31-year-old Muhammad Hussain Jafri decided to address the issue.
The name of the app he created is 'Essentials Stalker', which helps locate essentials during a time of panic buying and enables people to go and buy them.
After a few months of conceptualising the idea, it took about a month to create and develop the free app, followed by several weeks of refining it.
It was initially launched in mid-2020, but Mr Jafri said recent COVID-19 outbreaks meant there could again be a demand for such a service.
Mr Jafri said panic buying happened when there was a lack of information between the buyer and sellers as to the stock levels for essential items.
"Through my app, it can not only prevent panic buying by providing that information as to where the essentials are, but also it will allow sellers to post their stock levels which will be beneficial for their business," he said.
"In this case, it will be win-win situation for both the buyers and sellers."
Mr Jafri said it was a community-based app like Waze (the navigation app) which takes inputs from the user and helps others around the area to see the stock levels of essentials like toilet paper, medicines, face masks, hand sanitisers and more.
"Sellers can post their stock levels for essentials and the buyers can see it in real time, travel to that shop/store/supermarket and get their essentials," he told the Mercury.
"Through this app, people will know where to go and get essentials and they won't be running from one store to another in search of essentials, which can spread contagious diseases like COVID-19.
"If we can all collaborate in bringing calmness and information to everyone, we can do a lot in controlling the chaos which gets created due to the COVID situation."
Mr Jafri, a former marketing and business development student at the University of Wollongong who is applying for residency, said he had also pitched the app to state ministers and NSW Health, believing it could be utilised throughout the state.
"But I didn't want an app restricted to one location, I wanted one that could be used throughout the world," he said.
Essentials Stalker is now available on both Android and IOS, or for more information visit the app's Facebook page.
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