Panic buying has been rife amid the global spread of the coronavirus, with shoppers stockpiling goods like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and canned food.
In Japan, those who couldn’t buy toilet paper have resorted to pilfering supplies from public restrooms.
But one Japanese store has cursed its toilet rolls to prevent thefts.
Mink Itachibe, who works at a convenience store in Niigata prefecture, noticed people stealing between three to five rolls of toilet paper each day. She sketched an image that shows three eyes and several kanji characters and stuck it up in front of the toilet rolls.
Some store owners use images of eyes to give the impression that they are watching out for potential thieves, Itachibe told CNN. The kanji below imply that if someone takes the toilet paper from the store, a hungry monster will hunt them down and gobble them up.
“I did it as a joke, but it seems to have worked,” Itachibe told CNN. “As people were stealing toilet paper, I wanted this to shock them and think they might get hexed. People can be quite superstitious in Japan.”
Itachibe has reported no thefts of toilet paper from her store since she put up the sketches.