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Opinion : Could more be done to prevent panic buying in the shops?

| March 20, 2020


Sadly it seems one of the key features of the Coronavirus crisis is the panic buying in the shops.

No doubt everyone has seen the reports in the national press of people queuing at 6.00am in the morning waiting for supermarkets to open and the empty shelves that follow.

In better times yours truly used to wander around the supermarket aisles thinking to myself how lucky we were to have such places where we can simply choose what we want from the shelves, pay for it and take it home. Sadly the recent panic buying has turned the cathedrals of retail into warehouses of despair.

So could more be done to alleviate panic buying and get food to the people?

Well, for a start it’s all very well introducing limits on how many of each item one can purchase. But why are the shoppers still allowed to fill up huge trolleys with plunder? Surely it should be ‘basket only’ in the supermarkets and shops at the moment to prevent people buying too much?

Of course anyone can just turn up at any supermarket and start buying.

During the Second World War, when ration books were issued, people had to register with a shop of their choice and could only use their ration book at that particular shop so food supply could be levelled out amongst the shops depending on how many people were registered with each shopkeeper.

A calamity such as a pandemic virus was always likely to rear its head, so why didn’t the powers that be anticipate this and get plans in place to make sure people could register with specific shops to ensure there was food for all?

Personally my good self thinks it would be far better if everyone had to go to a certain shop rather than the chaos that is going on at the moment. After all if a supermarket knows how many customers they have to cater for then supplies can be targeted where they need to go.

Why not go one step further and say that people can only go to a shop once in a week? Allocate certain week days to people whose surnames begin with a specific range of letters (e.g. Monday is for surnames beginning with A to D) and get the shoppers to produce ID to verify they can attend on the specific day of the week. This measure could be introduced quickly and easily right now and the shops would not be at the mercy of having to satisfy unknown levels of demand from an unlimited number of shoppers each day.

Sadly, in recent years, in my opinion it appears that perhaps the powers that be may have put too much effort into tackling a perceived threat to society from radicalised extremists that might happen and not enough into the planning necessary to maintain civilised society during the outbreak of a pandemic virus that history tells us will eventually happen.

If the great and good want the panic buying to stop then, in my opinion, they should make sure the perceived toilet roll shortage is ended swiftly. I fear that until the shelves are fully stocked with toilet rolls the public will continue to engage in panic buying. Indeed for lack of bog roll the whole country is going down the pan.

As the Coronavirus catastrophe unfolds it’s my opinion that, with all their U-turns and changes of idea, that in actual fact it’s the leaders who are the ones that need to be lead….

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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