The morning radio rouses us with the news that the supermarket shelves were being emptied by shoppers stockpiling – panic buying had taken hold and the locusts have swept through all the land. Sainsbury, Tesco, Safeways and Aldi’s shelves were being stripped bare by the minute, decimating the High Street as we know it. Hardly a can of beans or a packet of Hobnobs to be seen, let alone that rarest of commodities, the ‘anti-septic hand gel.’ One rumour going the rounds suggests that bottles of hand gel have even been stolen from hospital wards, presumably by thoughtless (mindless?) visitors.
Was this really true, or just the Broadsheets drumming up custom for their tired old rags and looking for new horror stories to add to the overload of ‘Corvid-19 disinformation? Maybe so, but a tiny seed of doubt is easily planted and begins to germinate – soon to grow into a fully fledged anxiety. ‘Do we have plenty in the store cupboard, is there enough in the freezer? Should we do a bit of shopping ?’
‘Yes/No/ maybe…’ This really is a very current DILEMMA.
We are in a quandary, a predicament, we’re muddled and perplexed. Is it silly to rush out and buy a stack of groceries when no real restrictions have been announced? Of course it is, keep calm and carry on enjoins our heroic ‘Churchillian’ leader. Though still niggling away at the back of the mind is the disquieting thought that there has been a suggestion that some supermarkets would be rationing certain items, or at least reducing the range and quantity of products on offer. Will we still be able to get those lovely double choc chip cookies of which we’ve grown so fond? Or should we stock up on multiple packets of pasta?
We could be faced with a difficulty of diapers, a predicament of pineapples,or even an uncertainty of onions. Our fruit and vegetables are now to be found between a rock and a hard place, (rather as they have often been presented to us,) but more to the point, will they be found at all? Will toilet rolls be wiped out, tea in a tight spot, sugar in a jam and pickles in a pickle? Window cleaner could be a no-win niche, and dog food in dire straits.
Maybe we should just pop in to the shop and get a few bits and pieces, while we think of it. It wouldn’t hurt after all… but is this the right thing to do? What about ‘fair shares for all?’ If everybody just takes things easy, there should be enough for everyone, one’s logical mind insists…
…On the other hand, what if? What if we’re the only ones daft enough NOT to stock up? Where will we be then? We’re on the proverbial ‘Horns of a Dilemma’ – fear and panic are lurking on the sidelines, maybe more deadly than the virus itself. It’s a seemingly ridiculous situation in one of the wealthiest countries in the western hemisphere. Idiocy has taken over from common sense; on a recent visit to Nymans Gardens, we learned that in the very stately pile which is also open to the public, toilet roll thieves have been at their wicked work and cleaned up there .
How have we descended to this? Will we have black markets springing up instead of our friendly local one? If we don’t join in the madness we could be left out and short of supplies, but if we follow the herd, swallow our pride and stock-pile goods?
It’s a double-bind, a paradox, Catch-22…
Let’s hope for better things…