Suffering from consequences of panic buying

Suffering from consequences of panic buying

Empty shelves after panic buying of rice

20-March 2020. People are buying huge amounts of essential food and clearing supermarket shelves on a daily basis. I get out of bed at about 8.00. It takes me nearly an hour just to get dressed. Factor in breakfast and 90 minutes of the day is gone. At this stage of the morning some supermarkets opened two hours earlier. The locusts have shopped the shelves of too many basics.

Our children have grown up and left home

For the last 15 years me and The Wife have only ever bought food as and when we need it. We don’t have the space to hoard food plus we only have a small freezer. Panic buying or clearing of shelves in the supermarkets, the only food shops in our town, is a disaster for us.

On Thursday  I set my alarm for 7.00

I get dressed but skip breakfast a massive effort. Silly me had decided to join the great unwashed and buy some food at our local supermarket, Waitrose. I went on The Trike. Their car park was full but that didn’t register.

Half an hour after it opened

I entered the doors at 8 in the morning and suppressed a yawn I immediately regretted not eating breakfast. Inside the store there was complete bedlam, big and small trolleys everywhere. People buzzing here, there and everywhere, I saw one man leaving the shop pushing a full trolley and spied 5 big heads of fresh broccoli. The shelves for loo paper, flour, rice, eggs and pasta were totally shopped

Consequences of panic buying

Yes there was plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. I wanted to buy some, but I had to pick my way through a forest of trolleys. Remember I was on The Trike. I selected just 1 red pepper, 1 courgette and 5 mushrooms to go with our risotto; we had the rest of the ingredients at home.


I bumped into a trolley or touched someone but immediately said ‘Sorry’. The people looked at me as if I was a dog turd upon the pavement of humanity. Total humiliation, the look of how could I be so careless and stupid to bump into them. I might give them a disease or shock horror, they might give one to me. Apologies or excuses were off the menu. No one offered any assistance or help. Survival of the fittest was the name of the game.

I was desperate to escape. Impossible to browse around the store to see if I needed something that was not on the list. My stress levels were rising, I had to escape this horror show. Everyone was playing a new game ’I just wanna fill my trolley’. I just wanted to play ‘Pay and run’

When I got home

I felt depressed and deeply unhappy as well as confused. The mindset of all the customers in the shop had suddenly changed. Their thoughts were only about themselves and it was ‘me, Me, ME, ME’.

Latest news

As of  Friday 20th March Waitrose will be open between 7 and 8 in the morning so the disabled and elderly can do their shopping without having to compete with nimbler and fitter trolley pushers. Can they get up on time?

Soon I reckon I shall be in isolation but that is another problem for another day.

Associated articles

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March 2020

13 responses to “Suffering from consequences of panic buying”

  1. Thanks to @MarkWebb – someone I follow on Twitter
    Our hoarder,
    Who art currently in Aisle Seven,
    Your shopping done,
    To the very last bun,
    Online as it is in Asda.
    Thoughtless be thy name,
    Leave us at least our daily bread,
    And forgive us our glares,
    As we forgive those who trample all over us
    Keep us safe and fed in isolation,
    And deliver us some bog roll.
    For thine is the whingeing, the glower and I’m poorly,
    Forever and Ever,
    Uncle Ben’s.

    (A prayer from Mark Webb, feeling a little vulnerable)

  2. Erika says:

    I loved this post.
    I got myself up at 6am to join the ‘elderly and vulnerable’ hour at Sainsbury’s yesterday. I’m 29 and I’ve got RRMS. Currently got a lot of neuropathic pin and foot drop but it’s not obvious, so essentially I look ‘normal’. I parked in a disabled spot with my blue badge, got into the queue and when I got to the front I was turned away on the basis I wasn’t elderly. I even got a medical letter out of my pocket and the letter front their CEO on my phone to show them. They didn’t care and the manager was beyond rude. It was so degrading and demeaning. Honestly I’m not going to try another one of these hours.

    • Hello,

      Many thanks for your comment.

      I really do feel your pain, the situation is total chaos at the moment but I’m fairly confident that things will settle down in a week or so. As for the humiliation you suffered, all I can suggest is you complain to the branch manager

  3. Eileen says:

    Well good on you for trying. Shame on those people that were so disrespectful of you.
    Yes who gets up at 7am to shop for goodness sake, particularly the elderly and disabled.
    World gone mad…

    • Hello Eileen,

      You have to keep on knocking on the door and try to be as tough skinned as possible. I do think the early hour shopping is pretty heathen but I have learned to take what I am offered.

      I agree, the world id a bit mad at the moment

  4. Dr Kathleen Richmond says:

    I’m told the game is to go to the smaller shops. Not as easily accessible (parking?) as the supermarkets but they have near-normal stocks, apparently.

  5. Joanne Kibbey says:

    We are having our shopping delivered. Its not as easy as usual eg there was a 2 hour delay to place an order and I cant get in to ammend it. Plus there are more than usual substitutions and missed items.
    I did pop to the shops earlier in the week but regretted it because I felt scared of germs.
    I would suggest going during the “vulnerable” hour or asking other people to get you things you need. Its not worth the risk or the stress of competing with the crowds.
    Like me I know how independent you are but its really not worth the risk of going to the shops.

    • Hello Joanne,

      Never used shopping delivery, I’m a shopaholic. Also I will be a new customer and slots will be too far in the future. A ‘vulnerable’ time haas been introduced, 7 – 8 am and that means getting up at 6 in the morning for me. Looks like I will be relying on neighbours in future

  6. Angela says:

    Hi Patrick
    Firstly, I wanted to say ‘Thank you’. I have followed your blog for a while, and there have been many times your comments have brought a smile to my face, as well as providing some useful suggestions. Your comments are always upbeat and positive:)
    Now, with regard to your post today, and the current panic buying, what concerns me is the food waste that will inevitably happen. Worst case scenario is – our rubbish disposal services will not be able to cope, food will be left to rot and this in turn will bring …. other problems?
    I know I’m sounding pessimistic but surely those that buy ‘five heads of broccoli’ can’t possibly eat it all before it goes off??
    Sorry I’m ranting and sounding negative ~ like you, I shop as and when, and have also encountered ‘horror shows’ at my local supermarket.
    So to end on a positive – 🙂

    • Hello Angela,

      Thank you for the lovely comment. The blog is my way of dealing with MS and associated problems, very therapeutic.

      I agree absolutely about waste food, people are unable to behave properly when presented with something unexpected. That blog was my rant.

      Eventually things will settle down

  7. MC Black says:

    It seems to me that allowing Elderly and Disabled the opportunity to shop at 0700 is rather an empty gesture because of the difficulty potential customers in these categories have in getting out of their homes at that VERY early hour.

    It would make more sense if the shops closed at 1400, restocked the shelves and reopened at 1500 with a priority period.

    But they seem to be more interested in making money than helping people!

    • Hello MC,

      If panic buying persists then supermarkets will need to change the way they operate. The ‘vulnerable’ hour is at silly o’clock but better than nothing. I’m sure things will change if the system is not working and there are enough complaints

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