Tag Archives: empty shelves

Disappointment, Disillusionment and Despair

I started the day trying to improve my grasp of technology. It seems my phone can be used to download something called an “app” and i can use this to access the local surgery and order prescriptions. In practice, I can’t recall how to work my phone for anything that isn’t making a call or sending  a text. Julia tried on her phone and it is refusing to allow her to register. This, it seems from the feedback, is quite common and the NHS just gives you another link to follow.

Giving people links is quite common these days and solves nothing, though it does move the problem to someone else.

I ordered KFC last night, to augment our dwindling food stores, and was presented with a meal tat had been in a car for 50 minutes. I could have warmed it up and been forgiving, as they are very busy at the moment.

However, they missed out the coleslaw, corn and dipping sauces. That meant that instead of a meal, which Julia had requested as a treat to break the tedium of life in lockdown, we ended up with warm chicken and baked beans.

It took me twenty minutes to obtain a refund for the missing bits, even though I actually wanted the rest of the meal. Just Eat refused to contact the KFC branch, and said “I don’t understand where you’re coming from.” when I explained I didn’t want a paltry refund, I wanted the rest of the meal.

They advised me to leave a review for the restaurant so they would try to improve.

I wanted to ring the restaurant, but couldn’t find a phone number, so I emailed KFC. They told me to contact Just Eat for a refund, despite me telling them that I had done that. They ended “I hope this won’t put you off ordering from us again.”

I replied that it most definitely would put me off ordering again.

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No eggs

We also tried to order a food delivery. ASDA and TESCO both had problems with their sites when we ordered and when it was sorted we found they don’t have any delivery slots. We never did get to the bottom of the ASDA order, but TESCO can’t deliver until mid-April.

So I went shopping.

The government tells us there is plenty of food. There is, as long as you don’t want eggs, milk, dried pasta, paracetamol, sliced bread, oatmeal, tinned tomatoes or other staples.

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No sliced bread

The shelves are empty, the staff are lacklustre and the situation is clearly out of control.

I made some substitutions, bought cheese, and a supervisor was consulted about whether I could buy more than 2 carrots and 2 parsnips (there’s a two item rule now – too late) but they saw this was stupid so allowed me to buy six carrots and four parsnips. It’s hardly hoarding.

All the dried beans, pulses, grains and legumes are gone. Only five bags of buckwheat remained on that shelving section and I’d rather eat floor sweepings. We used to use buckwheat husk to line automatic nestboxes and the smell always reminds me of poultry sheds. It’s not an appetising association.

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Buckwheat – no lentils, beans or peas

The cheap pestos and cooking sauces are all gone, and, as with so many things, only the expensive and the low fat versions remain.

And that, for posterity, are my observations on the day.

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Expensive pesto

Where is all the bread? Where are all the eggs? The bakeries are still working and you can’t just shut a chicken off so there must be plenty about.

A Woman in a Mask and other stories

Today, I went shopping.

In the shop I saw a woman wearing an industrial mask and latex gloves. She wasn’t wearing goggles so all her precautions were wasted, as corona virus can spread via contact with the eyes.

I tried to get a picture with my phone but couldn’t get a clear shot, so I rang Julia instead. It was the most amazing thing I’ve seen since I saw the Great Rift Valley, and a lot more amusing. It was also a lot more interesting. The Great Rift Valley is fine as far as it goes (and it does go a long way) but, whilst breath-taking in its scale, it is just too big to be interesting. A woman in a paint-spraying mask with latex gloves is much more interesting because of the human scale.

If I survive the Great Pandemic this will be a story to bore people with for years to come. If I don’t survive I will at least have recorded it for posterity.

There has been a lot of panic-buying going on and many of the shelves in our local shop are empty. An interesting fact is that all the cheap stuff is going fast, and the expensive stuff is being left on the shelves. There were two sorts of baked beans left, for instance. On a six foot length of shelves only the “low salt, low sugar” and expensive Heinz beans were left. All the cheap own brand beans had gone.

The story was repeated across the whole shop. When the chips are down people prefer cheap to healthy. This has always been the case. Whatever people may say, they actually buy cheap. It used to be that 90% of people said they supported free range eggs, but the supermarket sales said that most of those people bought cheap eggs from caged birds. It took 30 years to change things round.

Someone showed me a picture today. It showed six bags of shopping and four cases of bottled water. That was the panic-buying his wife had done on her way back from work. In the evening she went out and bought a few extras. Well, you wouldn’t want to run out of beans and toilet rolls, would you?

Meanwhile, in Toronto, Number Two Son is waiting to be laid off. Occupancy of the hostel he works in has fallen to zero. That’s right, not one person staying there, all because of a microscopic bug.

Back to my shopping trip, and at the checkout a cleaner came to give it a wipe down.

“This,” she said, to the checkout operator, brandishing a bottle of sanitiser,”was the last one on the shelf.”

“Have you thought of putting it up for auction?” asked the woman in the queue behind me.