Everyone knows that the first rule in any emergency is to get down to the local supermarket and buy an obscene amount of toilet paper and canned goods, ideally clearing the shelves so that no one else can get a look in. And everyone is doing a spectacular job of of it.
So much so in fact, that Tesco is enforcing a five item limit on essential food and household goods like dry pasta, UHT milk, and antibacterial wipes and sprays, both in-store and online. If you need a retailer to tell you that buying up all the shit so that customers with a brain can't pop in for their regular weekly shop because it's all at your house, you need to stop. Climb out of the fort you've constructed out of packs of pasta because the cupboards are overrun with hand sanitiser, and take a good look a how bloody stupid you are. If there's a shortage, you are literally causing it.
Waitrose has similar caps on certain products online, with branches implementing their own limit at their discretion. Meanwhile, Asda and Boots have rolled out restrictions on hand sanitisers, with only two allowed per customer.
The government has reached out to supermarkets to "discuss their response" to the outbreak, while environment secretary George Eustice is set to talk to them further today about "support for vulnerable groups who may be in isolation".
The empty shelves will fill up soon enough, with Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, saying "supply chains remain robust and even where there are challenges, retailers are well-versed in providing measures" to keep shops running smoothly." So expect to see them bristling with products again soon. There's only so much room in a house, so now that the wave of panic buying has washed over us, perhaps we can get a lull and enjoy shopping like normal people again, while the maniacs amongst us eat their way through their new lifetime supply of pasta a la sanitiser. [BBC News]