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Still looking for toilet paper, hand sanitizer? This tool might help

A woman carries her shopping including bags of toilet paper. (Arne Dedert/dpa via AP)
A woman carries her shopping including bags of toilet paper. (Arne Dedert/dpa via AP)

As cases of coronavirus outbreak began to show up near us, the run on certain items in grocery stores began First there were empty shelves where the toilet paper used to be and disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer disappeared. Then paper towels, bottled water an certain food items were piped out.

While some of those items have returned to the stores, a few remain hard to find.

Two University of Texas students turned to technology to help people avoid fruitless shopping trips. Their website, InStok, can check the inventory at stores near you like Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club and others. You just type in the item you’re looking for along with your ZIP code (and turn on your location on your phone) and the site will show you stores that (allegedly) have what you’re looking for.

They do warn the items could be in the back of the store or have been moved or -- even more likely -- purchased before you get there. The site is only updated twice a day and, as we know, a store’s shipment of toilet paper can disappear in minutes.

Still, it may be better than just driving around hunting for supplies when you should be safe at home.

Thanks to our sister station, KPRC in Houston, for sharing this story.