In preparation for the potential need to self-isolate, supermarket shoppers across the UK have been buying certain items in deliberately large quantities, with toilet roll and dried pasta being two of the most popular.
However, at the sight of resulting bare shelves shoppers at the Tesco store at Wrekin Retail Park, and the Asda superstore at Malinsgate, have been quick to call such behaviour out as “inconsiderate”, “bonkers”, and even “disgusting”.
Natalie Ross said: “It’s absolutely crazy – if you’re going to get coronavirus you’re going to get it. Bulk buying toilet roll doesn’t make sense.”
Bryan Smart added: “People must be mad. Older people have something to worry about but for others it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s just like normal flu.”
Tom Haden said: “If people panic buy they are limiting supplies for less mobile people. It’s inconsiderate.”
Charlotte Saville added: “It’s a waste of time – there’s no point buying bread that will go out of date.”
Jean Tristham said: “It’s disgusting – people are just panic buying. People doing normal their normal shopping are then stuck.”
Janet O’Neill said: “This bulk buying is a bit crazy. People have needed loo roll and haven’t been able to get it. I’ve been unable to get everyday things my disabled brother needs.”
Karen Preece said: “It’s bonkers. It’s totally mad and unfair on those trying to do their shopping with a weekly budget. People are spending too much time worrying about this rather than worrying about elderly people with health problems.”
And David Howarth added: “It’s my first day off in a while. I came shopping and there was no toilet roll. It’s crazy – people are panicking too much.”
Liz Johnson said: “It’s ridiculous. People need to be aware of coronavirus but social media has put panic into everyone.”
While Debbie Wooley added: “It’s ridiculous that people are panic buying. My mum is disabled – I have to bring her out and when the shelves are like this it’s hard to get what we need. People need to stop and think of vulnerable people and the elderly and how they’ll cope without being to get their essentials. All you need to do is follow medical advice – bulk buying pasta won’t stop coronavirus.”
A spokesperson for Tesco said: “We have taken a common sense approach to make sure people can get essentials. We have introduced a maximum purchase limit on certain items including anti-bacterial products, dried pasta and UHT milk.
“Some products are in high demand and we are working to re-stock stores as quickly as possible. We have a good availability on many of these products, including toilet roll which is produced in the UK. Our advice is to keep shopping as you normally would and not change your buying pattern.”
Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, of which Asda is a member, said: “Our members continue to work round-the-clock to ensure consumers have access to the products they need. Retailers are putting in place the measures necessary to meet the current increase in demand.
“Where people are self-isolating, it is up not just to supermarkets, but also friends and neighbours to support them in getting the goods they need. This is a time for everyone to come together and support one another, particularly those who are vulnerable.
“Following requests by the BRC, we welcome the Government announcement that supermarkets will be granted greater flexibility in delivery times to help retailers mitigate the increase in demand for certain products. While there is plenty of stock available, the challenge for retailers has been to make sure all of it reaches shelves at the earliest opportunity.”
“The BRC continues to work with retailers and the Government to alleviate the challenges posed by coronavirus.”