Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Panic buyers strip shelves of toilet roll and pasta ahead of lockdown
1 November 2020, 22:02 | Updated: 1 November 2020, 23:19
Panic buyers stripped shelves bare and formed long queues outside shops on Sunday after Boris Johnson ordered a second England national lockdown.
Shoppers were pictured raiding aisles in some supermarkets and bulk-buy stores after the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday night.
All non-essential shops along with pubs, restaurants, leisure and entertainment venues will be forced to shut from Thursday until at least 2 December. Supermarkets, garden centres and other “essential” retailers will stay open through the new shutdown.
The PM said people “must stay at home” from Thursday in England, but stressed there was “enough” supplies so there was no need to stockpile.
But that did not stop hundreds queueing outside a Leicester Costco store on Sunday morning, while long tailbacks formed outside an Ikea branch in West Yorkshire.
At a Sainsbury’s store in Weston-super-Mare toilet roll shelves were stripped bare, while at some Tesco branches the pasta supplies were low, mirroring the widespread stockpiling that took place ahead of the spring UK lockdown.
Others took to social media to vent their anger at panic buyers and posted pictures of heaving stores and shoppers leaving with multiple packs of toilet roll.
One tweeted: “The hoarding has started again. I work in a super market we are NOT closing in November and we have deliveries EVERY DAY! Stop #panicbuying FFS!!!”
Just a friendly reminder, Supermarkets stay open during lockdown and shelves only run empty if you bulk buy for no reasons— Clifford K 🇪🇺 (@holte) November 1, 2020
If you feel the need to leave the elderly and vulnerable with empty shelves you're not preparing for lockdown...
You're an asshole#panicbuying pic.twitter.com/RS8cnsdWBH
Another posted a picture of a busy Asda store, adding: “I went to @asda to pick up a squash for an online event I have later. I got here at 10:40, and it was packed. The store opened at 10:30. The queue to the till goes over 2 aisles... wtf?? Didn't people learn already that #panicbuying only leads to food waste? #COVIDIOTS #Lockdown2.”
A third wrote: “Supermarkets aren’t closing, just as they didn’t originally. Stop panic buying which leaves others without and likely creates more food waste in the process. Buy just what you would any normal week, there’s absolutely no need to stockpile more!”
Others urged people to “get a grip”, calling panic buyers “selfish”.
I went to @asda to pick up a squash for an online event I have later. I got here at 10:40, and it was packed. The store opened at 10:30. The queue to the till goes over 2 aisles... wtf?? Didn't people learn already that #panicbuying only leads to food waste? #COVIDIOTS #Lockdown2 pic.twitter.com/xYNNE1Ja5M— Oana Roua (@OanaRoua) November 1, 2020
But singer James Blunt made light of the situation by tweeting a light-hearted plug for his new book.
Posting a link he wrote: “If you’ve missed out on loo roll during the #panicbuying, my book comes out this Thursday.”
Large retailers have bolstered their online delivery slots during the pandemic to keep up with demand, but have repeatedly stressed that panic buying is not necessary.
In September, Tesco followed Morrisons by reintroducing purchase limits on items including toilet roll, dried pasta and flour to prevent hoarding.