Back in March 2020 I saw something I had not seen since I was a small child. Empty shelves in my local supermarket. Panic buying spread rapidly across the country and demand quickly outstripped supply.
The great panic of March 2020 had begun and at one point it looked like there would be no stopping it. People were getting up at 5am to be queuing outside the supermarket when it opened at 6am. Queues were often hundreds of feet long as people swamped the retail outlets. People sometimes became impatient. Tempers flared at times, but overall, the old “Dunkirk Spirit” the British are so famous for kicked in.
The second wave of COVID-19 is well and truly underway here the U.K. with infection rates, as well as death rates, rising sharply again.
Peoples’ buying patterns for the most part, do seem to have returned to normal and thankfully, despite a second national lockdown being announced for England, that appears to remain the case. We’re not seeing the panic that we saw back in March.
The supermarkets seem to be better geared up to restrict multiple product sales and I think the public in general are much more of a mind that supplies will continue.
Like many others, I’m fed up with this pandemic and frustrated by what appear to be ever-changing restrictions on daily life, but if short term compliance means mid to long term eradication of the virus, then so be it. For now at least.
Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not evaluating my own ‘preparedness’ needs. Over the last few months I have been stocking up on certain items. Nothing that would attract attention at the checkout. If I would normally buy a couple of tins of something, I’d buy three. Or if I would buy one pack of rice, maybe I’d get a second one. Just calmly and quietly. In general I think buying a little more than I normally would, over an extended period of time would not put an undue strain on the supply chain. That can allow a localised stock to be built up over that time period, without other people noticing and generating a rush of panic buying I think.
However, everyone must decide for themselves what they do. I think we can take comfort in knowing the supermarkets are a lot more savvy about putting purchase restrictions in now, and rightly so.
Also, the other thing I’m finding I do more now is thinking about locally owned and operated businesses. Small businesses have had a hell of time during the pandemic and if I can redirect my spend locally, then I will. Will you join me in doing that?