Saw my first live incident of panic buying – or maybe it was profiteering – this morning. Went down the local Co-op to get some bread for breakfast.
It was fairly well stocked apart from fresh meats, fruit and veg, eggs – plenty of Easter eggs! – some tinned food and the inevitable toilet rolls.
A middle-aged man entered the shop not far behind me. Somehow he had all the air of being a bit of a knob as he muttered something under his breath about the empty shelves.
Then I saw him furtively messing about with one of the big trolleys waiting in the aisle to be unloaded. In amongst it was one of the very large packages of toilet rolls containing a dozen or so four-packs.
With some effort he managed to tug it out, got rid of the few other items he was carrying and triumphantly joined the queue for the checkouts. As he was doing it Co-op radio was reminding customers to only buy what they needed.
I was stood just behind him in the queue really wanting to say something but in true British-style doing avoiding conflict and social embarrassment. Unbelievably he had the brass-neck to turn round, half-joking I think, to say to me he could get a lot for them on eBay.
Tearful critical care nurse video
I just went ‘humph’ and pulled an unhappy face, others in the queue tutted loudly. This is the morning after the very moving video of a critical care nurse completing a 48 hour shift only to find the supermarket shelves selfishly stripped of all fresh food.
Then somewhat wonderfully out of nowhere a young checkout woman appeared and with no preamable simply told him he wasn’t buying all that, took it off him and gave him just one four-pack of rolls.
He was well embarrassed, I’m pleased to say, and couldn’t leave the store quick enough.
The checkout woman has become my hero of the day. I should have congratulated her there and then but didn’t. I will do next time I see her and I will speak up next time I see an incident like that.