CALGARY -- Bargain hunters at a variety of super stores across Calgary are experiencing long line ups at the entrance, through the aisles, and up to the cash register.

Now, three days after a pandemic was declared, there's a dearth of items stocking the shelves.

The Beacon Hill Costco in the northwest is constantly busy, but shoppers say the Friday crowds were exceptional.

"The line up goes from the front of the store to the back of the store. There’s no way around it," said Colin Andrews.

Another shopper says she didn't head in looking for emergency supplies, and rather wanted to save having to make a return trip.

"Now that it's so hard to find stuff, I’m just like trying to have (groceries for) at least for two weeks," said Marlene Hernandez., "so then if for some reason its hard to restock, at least I will have something," "

It is increasingly harder for shoppers to find stuff at many of the major grocery stores.

Superstore in Coventry

Some of the toilet paper and cleaning product aisles at the Mackenzie Towne Wal-Mart are bare. Produce is also scant.

Academics that study disaster response say the rush at grocery stores is missplaced, and shows that most Calgarians are not  prepared for a crisis.

"It tells me that people aren’t prepared one of the things that emergency managers will tell you is that its important: to have a 72 hour kit on hand to make sure that you have clothing, medicine, and pet food," said Tim Haney, sociology professor at Mount Royal University.

He added that only the fortunate can afford to buy in bulk, so he encourages people to share supplies with their friends and neighbours.

"Crises are never good, but crises can be opportunities to build a stronger community and so it will be interesting to see if that’s what happens in our communities," said Haney.