A new normal? – Shopping in the early hours

A trip out

After a week of not being able to get the food shopping I wanted due to the hours I was working (like so many other key workers), I finally managed to get to my local supermarket early this morning. This was the scene at 05:50am.

Shopping queue at 5:50am

There was a long snaking queue that had formed behind me. Nobody particularly dashed forward when the doors opened, there was no pushing and shoving. In fact the biggest problem we all faced whilst waiting to get started with our shopping was the cold. It was bitter.

I think I must have been in the first forty people inside the store and still there were very sparsely stocked shelves.

Shopping - Empty Shelves

I couldn’t believe it when I found the aisle for the toilet rolls. (I only wanted a four pack but would have settled for a two pack.) This is what I saw.

I didn’t head to that aisle straight away, but it could have only been a matter of minutes since people started shopping that day.

I have to admit, I am beginning to wonder if the lack of stock really is down to panic buying or whether there is artificially generated constraints in the supply chain now to push prices upwards.

In the spirit of preparedness I do have alternative plans in place for certain items, but by no means all. I am ready to rough it and have spotted a nice patch of doc leaves in a nearby area. 🙂

As the queues formed at the tills I noticed new lines taped to the floor and a security guard wandering up and down to the rear of the tills. On a couple of occasions I noticed him telling people to stay behind the line. It is good to see the supermarket keeping the distance rule between their staff on the tills and customers. People queuing to pay for their purchases seemed in fairly good spirits. Most of them using the length of the trolley to maintain the required separation.

Now that item quantities per customer are being restricted hopefully normally on-shelf levels will return. In the meantime, like others, I’m trying to consume as little as possible.

Key Figures for the UK

Total UK Cases of COVID-193,983
Total UK Deaths177
Total cases in my county7

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