Panic buying continued to sweep parts of the country over the weekend, with many shoppers buying many everyday essentials in excess as they prepared for periods of isolation during the coronavirus crisis.
Despite the highly unusual move of all major operators signing up to a letter urging customers to shop responsibly and ensure supplies are shared out fairly, some customers continued to stockpile.
Many supermarkets are already rationing items and turning new customers away to cope with demand.
In Hull shoppers criticized panic buyers as many shelves across the city’s supermarkets stood empty.
One woman, who did not want to be named, in the Tesco store in St Stephens told the Hull Daily Mail: “It’s ridiculous. You can’t even get what you need even if you’re only getting a couple of bits.
“I’ve had to buy toilet wipes instead of toilet roll and yesterday I had to send my partner out everywhere just for some baby formula.”
Another shopper in an Asda store said: “I just managed to get the last bag of nappies yesterday. I came because I saw everyone on Facebook saying about empty shelves and it’s a good job I did.
“It’s stupid. There are going to be elderly people who can’t get what they need. It’s not fair on them. And there is also people who cannot afford to bulk buy so are going without. It’s ridiculous.
“I’ve said to my neighbor, who is elderly, that I can pop and get some bits for her.”
Chaotic scenes were also reported across shops in Merseyside as toilet roll, eggs, bread and milk disappeared off the shelves.
The Asda store in Smithdown Road in the Wavertree area of Liverpool, opened half an hour after its usual opening time of 15 am. Signs on the window explained that “in order to get as much stock in as possible, the doors won’t open until 15. 728 am ”.
Other stores ran out of certain products and were unable to restock, with shoppers reporting the Boots in the Edge Lane retail park in the city having no hand sanitiser or hand wash.
In Birmingham worried mothers took to social media begging others not to buy supplies of baby milk and formula.
One posted on Facebook: “To the parent that keeps bulk buying baby milk. You’re not the only parent with a baby. ”
Another wrote: “What happened to people being kind? People are definitely not thinking about others.
“I have enough milk for a little while for my newborn. But once it has gone, it’s gone. I will have to see what is out there and … I have to change his milk either wise which I don’t want to.
“It’s happening to all supermarkets. It’s a shame. ”
Another mother, Francey Siobhan, who needed a thermometer for her child wrote on the Birmingham Mail’s Facebook page: “Asda was horrendous!
“And looked everywhere for a thermometer for the little one as she isn’t feeling well and couldn’t find one. Turns out she does have a high temperature after borrowing one.
“It’s terrible how people aren’t thinking of other people when bulk buying these items.”
Mudassir Naweed, a shopkeeper from the Premier store in Yew Tree, Yardley, banned bulk buying and said he would try to deliver essentials to vulnerable customers.
He said: “If you need essentials we’re here to help. I’ll try my best to get it for you and keep it aside.
“We have toilet rolls, some meds left, nappies in most sizes, tinned food, other groceries, etc. Please message before heading over to make sure we have what you need.
“We will not sell in bulk loads to panic buyers as this is unfair to our community and we won’t be putting the prices up like some other places.
“If you need a package putting together for those that are vulnerable we will fully accommodate but we may need help in delivering to those people.
“On the plus side we have plenty of cigarettes and booze… it’s time to start looking out for each other.”