Does anyone else feel like they are living an episode of Doomsday Preppers right now? (one of the best shows on Netflix, in case you were wondering – it follows folk in the States who have a very specific doomsday scenario in mind and are preparing for it, mostly by buying guns apparently)
I went to the shops earlier to buy a toaster, and while I’d seen all of the toilet roll and soap panic-buying posts, I was still surprised.
And listen guys, here’s the thing. For some people in our community, stockpiling is legitimate. If you are vulnerable and don’t have a strong support network, the threat of being asked to self-isolate is very real isolation. People who feel they have no-one to call on may be very reasonably buying enough of products to ensure they can properly self-isolate should they need to.
There are other people who might feel the need to stockpile. Those who don’t have the financial means to buy food ad-hoc on delivery, or who fear they may not have the funds to buy essentials if they rise in price during a crisis.
While at the shops earlier however, I ended up at the checkout behind a woman who had 6 bottles of disinfectant, an entire shopping bag of crisps, and two full trays of beans.
And some mascarpone.
I am not necessarily shaming this particular woman. Maybe she was buying extra goods to give to a charity or a food bank. Maybe she was buying for vulnerable neighbours. I know I don’t know her personal story. But she didn’t look like that was her motivation, and I think she is reasonably representative of a lot of people out in the world right now. Selfish people, who are not considering the impact to their wider community of their greed. That is what it is at the end of the day.
The same kind of people who have bought all of the pasta in the UK are still going out to busy pubs each night, still planning trips across the country to see elderly relatives, and still (somehow still) not washing their damn hands properly. Because they don’t think they’ll get sick, but if they do then they have plenty of food in, so they’ll be fine.
I have no faith in the UK government to properly manage a crisis, or effectively contain an outbreak of Covid-19. I have more faith in our experts, but they need to be heard. I have even more faith in the staff of the NHS, but they are reliant on resourcing from our pitiful government.
As ever, I have the most faith in our communities. Community action is powerful, and people are generally good, and caring. But those communities can only be properly supported if the greedy people take a long hard look at themselves and consider their priorities.
Let’s look after our neighbours, not threaten them with (proverbial, or real) guns, and fight them for the last tin of chopped tomatoes. As a community we are far stronger than that.
And listen seriously. If you can afford to buy mascarpone as part of your panic-shop, you don’t need to be panic-shopping.