back to article Morrisons puts non-essential tech changes on ice as panic-stricken shoppers strip stores

Morrisons has slowed its conveyor belt of tech changes to avoid any IT crashes as British shoppers continue a coronavirus-inspired panic-buying spree. Amid the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the UK supermarket giant yesterday froze non-essential tech changes, ranging from feature deployments to platform upgrades …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

    Um, calm down ?

    The zombie apocalypse is not yet upon us. Wait for a few months until the death toll exceeds a million, then it will be time to panic.

    1. Drone Pilot

      Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

      In the meantime, I'M STOCKING UP ON BEANS!!!! (I'm willing to die protecting them!)

      My family will love living in the WWII bomb shelter eating nothing but beans.

      No-one. Light. A. Match.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        But how will you cook the beans?

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          I think he meant "baked" beans.

        2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          Talking of the gas "going off" (pun intended)... I've always got a stock of Coleman fuel in case of emergencies. I've also always got several litres of lab-grade isopropanol in my cupboard (everyone's favourite solvent). Perfect for dissolving thermal compound, among many other things. A 70% solution is essentially what most alcohol hand gels are made of (barring the jelly-making bit), and it's vastly cheaper than even the "normal" price of such stuff. You don't need to panic-buy if you're usually well stocked anyway... you never know when those zombies/velociraptors might be coming.

        3. Trbonja

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          With propane burner.

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        With all them beans, you'll need more bog roll...

        1. gerdesj Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          "you'll need more bog roll..."

          A copy of the Lord of the Rings in paperback will last a very long time at over 1000 pages ...

          1. seanj

            Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

            Depends on how many rings it needs to support... If it's just the One Ring it could last a while...

    2. TheProf Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

      NO YOU FOOL!!!! THE TIME TO PANIC IS NOW!!!!!

      How can you calmly set a date for panicking? Panicking is a spontaneous reaction.

      If it helps my local Asda has plenty of everything in stock. Well it did, I panicked and bought £15 worth of coffee.

      1. EvilDrSmith Bronze badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        OMG! You posted that 3 minutes ago. And I wasn't panicking at the time! I'm late panicking! WhatdoIdo? WhatdoIdo!

      2. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        I shamelessly panicked in a traditional British fashion. I bought another box of tea. Well, the tin was almost empty, what else would you expect me to drink? God forbid that the supermarkets run out of that, what would the world come to?

        </Colonial British General voice>

        1. Totally not a Cylon
          Alert

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          I hope you also remembered the correct biscuits.......

          If not check Captain Coward's memo for which types are appropriate.

          1. First Light Bronze badge

            Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

            Jaffa cakes of course. And they are CAKES, not biscuits.

            1. Twanky Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

              Jaffa cakes of course

              You monster!

              They've got chocolate on them - you can't put them in a teacup saucer!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

                Saucer? What's that?

                A mug of tea almost as dark as my soul - with a drop of milk and a chocolate digestive in the vain hope I might be saved from hell on earth... And that was before the coronavirus...

        2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          I've heard talk that army cooks are told never to run out of any of the following 3 things - baked beans, bacon and tea lest the squaddies string you up...

          1. robidy Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

            What about bog roll...why do you need so much of the stuff..

            1. Persona Silver badge

              Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

              Ask yourself that question next time you go to use it and realize it's your last roll and there is only one sheet left on the cardboard tube.

            2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

              Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

              Why so much bog roll, you ask. Beans. Is the answer.

      3. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        TheProf Well it did, I panicked and bought £15 worth of coffee.

        I panicked, and bought a loofah, a copy of the Chelmsford-area phone book for 1992, 3 satsumas and half-a-hundredweight of jellied eels.

        I don't do well under pressure.

        1. adrianww

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          I panicked when I happened to be picking up a couple of bottles of screen wash at a well-known German discount supermarket. Ended up coming home with a pillar drill and a bench grinder as well.

          Oh, hang on, that’s not panic is it? It’s fairly normal for Aldi-Lidl-di-Aldi-Lidl-di-dee.

          Anyway, what’s this COVID-19 thing that everyone is banging on about?

          (“COVID-19 too-loo-rye-ay. COVID-19 too-loo-rye-ay. Now you’re full grown. Now you have shown. COOO 19...”)

          1. Mike Flex

            Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

            "Ended up coming home with a pillar drill"

            They've got pillar drills in? I'd check on their website but I'm too busy trying to find somewhere to store 297 toilet rolls...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: find somewhere to store 297 toilet rolls...

              ad hoc (and cheap!) solution for millions of British homes loo-sing heat through the roof. And walls, and cracks. And cracks within the cracks, et.

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          "3 satsumas and half-a-hundredweight of jellied eels."

          I am fairly sure Delia's got a recipe for that.

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

            Either her, or Aleister Crowley.

      4. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        For god enough to enjoy coffee that's maybe 1kg (2.2lbs). You reckon that's enough?

        I refuse to drink bad coffee. Life is way too short for that.

      5. davenewman

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        8 oz of high quality coffee beans! Is that enough?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          I get my coffee in 50lb bags for about 75 bucks. The beans are still green, so they last for a long time in a cool, dark place. Maybe I have to roast 'em myself ... but at least we can survive the next earthquake[0] without worrying about it too much.

          [0] Wait ... aren't I supposed to be panicking about TheNextBigOne? Or was that wildfires? Global warming? Trump getting re-elected? Coffee shortages? One tends to lose track of natural disasters when one isn't a slave to the entertainmentnews industry ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

            If you're not going to watch TV news reports/read newspapers for the panic du jour, are you even playing the game?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

              "The only way to win is not to play the game", W.O.P.R.

        2. robidy Silver badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          Yes but feed them to the cat before you grind them....

      6. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        Well, duh! You can't spell "pandemic" without "panic," after all.

      7. Persona Silver badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        The best time to panic is long past. I did my panic buying back in January. The checkout girl was surprised by the number tins of soup I had bought. When she asked why and I told her I was panic buying she just said "really?" and gave me a confused look.

      8. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        "I panicked and bought £15 worth of coffee"

        So about 250g then? That's enough for a whole day for those in Hackney. So selfish!

      9. big_D Silver badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        Our favourite brand is on offer this week at Famila, so we will probably buy 2.5Kg, as we usually do, when it is on offer... I don't see a need to suddenly buy huge amounts of everything.

        Interestingly, the local supermarkets were all fully stocked on Saturday, but about 200KM south in the Ruhrpott, the shelves were being stripped bare by "hamster" buyers. I love the German term, Hamsterkäufer (hamster buyers) and hamstern (to hamster), sounds much more cute than panic buying.

    3. Moosh

      Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

      I did an online shopping order the other day to "stock up", so to speak. Nothing major, just so we can actually have some sort of food if me and the fiancee need to self isolate. Also running out of toilet paper sucks and people seem to have gone crazy buying it.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        running out of toilet paper sucks

        Just buy a copy of the Daily Mail - I can't see any other reason for wanting to.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: "buy a copy of the Daily mail"

          and end up with 'Black Bum' (no not Black Bun!)

          mind you it is generally full of Shit anyway so...

        2. First Light Bronze badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          It's not good enough to wipe your ass with. Although I wouldn't mind using Piers Morgan's photo for said purpose . . .

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          "running out of toilet paper sucks"

          Pass the mind bleach.

        4. Craig 2

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          Just buy a copy of the Daily Mail - I can't see any other reason for wanting to.

          Wipe your arse with the Daily Mail and your backside will end up with even more shit on it..

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        I don't get it. Why are people panic-buying toilet paper of all things?

        Coronavirus doesn't affect your digestive functions, so you will need no more of it than usual.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          As I posted in a nother thread - politician syndrome...

          Or people using it as a tissue, or just to avoid having to go out at all?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          If things get really bad people are worried they are going to shit themselves.

        3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          Apparently this is because: it keeps, you will use it eventually, and it feels like you are taking action.

          So that's an almost rational way of offloading an irrational urge. Gotta love the human brain, eh?

        4. Martin Summers

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          People are panic buying toilet roll apparently because if you're stuck inside isolating it's the last thing you'd want to run out of (other than food) and you don't want to be mixing with lots of potentially infected people in a supermarket to get more.

          1. DJV Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

            I'm ok, I've got lots of cat litter as well!

          2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

            Folk are buying loo roll because they're stuck inside... with the internet? Phnarp.

      3. TwistedPsycho

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        You can get a slot? We can't because their IT upgrade happening on th 9th prevents any bookings after the 9th and there are also no slots up to the 9th.

        This is a recurring theme and will cost them my Delivery Pass come renewal (which because of the upgrade I have to manually approve after the 9th)

      4. robidy Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        I saw the home shopping people at my local store...oh how I laughed...was almost tempted to help....pot noodles pasta right? And you could use the Daily Mail to wipe you arse...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

      People stock piling bog roll, you'd think it caused weeks long sudden onset explosive shits not respiratory inflammation....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        "[...] you'd think it caused weeks long sudden onset explosive shits [...]"

        Apparently that is also one of the possible reported side effects of Covid-19.

      2. hayzoos

        Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

        "sudden onset explosive shits"

        That sounds like a good name for a rock band.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

          "That sounds like a good name for a rock band."

          Nah. It'd just get shortened to "The Hits" before too long.

    5. Phil Kingston

      Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

      You've obviously not seen the state of the stores in Australia then. They've been stripped bare of various items (bog roll, flour, beans, noodles) with fights, people raiding pallets as they're delivered and all sorts of other bizarre behaviour.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We got in there early

    The wife is in her 80's with COPD (serious lung problems) and my health isn't brilliant and we both fall into the category of being at high risk of dying from coronavirus. As we are pensioners we don't really NEED to go out other than the weekly grocery shop. As soon as I saw what was happening in China I made an educated guess what would happen in the UK, so we stocked up on supplies back in January. Not panic buying, just a logical measured response for people in our circumstances, we didn't even cause a blip on supermarket shelf stocks. Short of an emergency we don't need to go out or mix with anyone for at least six months if necessary.

    It is just a matter of risk mitigation for us. Hopefully the epidemic will have peaked and be well on its way down again before we need to emerge from our self imposed isolation. I feel sorry for those pensioners with similar poor health who either can't afford to build up a big stock of supplies or have left it too late now panic buying is setting in and the risk of infection increasing by the day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stocking up

      Same here. I'm recovering from my last dose of Chemo and have a severely impacted immune system. I have a freezer full of food, make my own bread and get milk delivered so I should be ok but you never know. I began stocking up like the OP in January. I have been in 'self isolation' now for almost a month and it sucks big time believe me but it is a whole lot better than the alternative.

      Oh, and I have plenty of bog rolls so I'm posting AC as I really don't want any neredowells breaking in just to nick a few.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stocking up

        My mum has severely reduced lung function, and to cap it all, her regular specialist appointments and too-frequent inpatient stays are at Arrowe Park hospital (you know, the one on the Wirral where the government sent all the COVID-19 quarantine patients). I'm a little worried for her.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stocking up

          You've got nothing to worry about. Arrowe Park has zero cases of the virus.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stocking up

        My wife just started a new immunosuppressant Multiple Sclerosis drug (Ocrevus - the side effects make "fun" reading) told to avoid sick people generally and definetely for 2 weeks after the infusion, but then they ask her to come in for an outpatients appt 10 days after her infusion......really hoping neither of us catch it as it could kill her (though there are seemingly drugs they can give her which reverse the immuno suppressive effects of the drug, however boosting immunity makes MS progress faster)

        ALDI's checkout guy looked sick as hell with the flu or something similar, he clearly shouldn't have been at work, just hope its not corona virus or a tonne of folk are going to get it due to his refusal to take time off / company idiotic policies

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stocking up

        I spotted my neighbour forming a human conveyor belt shifting 4 family packs of loo role. He had the decency of looking embarrassed when I asked if he was preparing for the virus. He also probably fears I'll break in and nick some when a call of nature demands it. Not to worry though, I grew up in a poor house hold so I've had plenty of experience re-purposing the stunner, the local news rag, as bum fodder.

    2. Pete4000uk

      Re: We got in there early

      Hope it all blows over. I'm getting nervous as I clean in a youth center where a dozen or so little b... darlings hang out most evenings.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: We got in there early

        Eeeep. Kids are ambulatory germ-reservoirs at the best of times. Stay safe.

        I'm of the Victorian paterfamilias disposition - children should be neither seen nor heard until they are fit to enter civilized company.

        Say, around age 35.

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: We got in there early

          Say, around age 35.

          Steady on. In a civilised society, they only get to vote when they've received their knighthood!

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: We got in there early

        Two kids at my eldest daughters school went home to self isolate after an Italian skiing trip. And I just got back from my annual COPD revue!

        I've never seem the missus so happy??

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: We got in there early

        Count your blessings ... if you are fortunate enough to hang out with the little germ bags, and you are generally in good health, you have a nicely functioning, well exercised immune system. Even if you do manage to come down with this bug (against all the odds), you'll survive just fine. You might not even notice you have it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We got in there early

          You’ve made me feel better already. I’ve got two teachers in the house, one uni student, and one who works in a busy shop. All those viri laden places that my super carriers spend their days in and then bring it all home, for years, yet i somehow survive well despite a little bit of COPD. There’s hope for me yet..l hope.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We got in there early

      "Short of an emergency we don't need to go out or mix with anyone for at least six months if necessary."

      I do that normally - usually to take advantage of special offers. They are better investments than the current meagre interest rate on my life-savings. When my local Waitrose announced it was closing - I stocked up on their own brand items that I like. Just bought a few every time I was shopping. Overdid the toilet paper - a belated calculation suggests the accumulated stock-pile will last me 10 years.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We got in there early

      You could share yours?

    5. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: We got in there early

      The wife is in her 80's with COPD (serious lung problems) and my health isn't brilliant

      Yup - my folks are in the same boat. And can I get hand sanitizer for them? Can I fuck. I can't even get antibacterial hand soap delivered to them (keeps being substituted). So, yeah, my deepest thanks go out to all the socially irresponsible panic buyers out there.

      Society? My arse.

      Honestly, peoples behavior and the risks its inflating for my family are causing me to seriously reassess how much money I'm prepared to pay for this "society" or "community" people bang on about, once the virus clears through.

  3. First Light Bronze badge

    Source info?

    They demanded to know your sources and then no-commented? Cheeky bastards.

    Seems like an unprofessional/inexperienced PR person.

  4. RancidRodent

    This is not a Morrisons initiative.

    The government have contacted all large players in the food supply chain and told them to bin non-essential or risky maintenance.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: This is not a Morrisons initiative.

      That sounds remarkably.foresighted for a government reaction - do you have a source for it?

    2. John Sturdy
      Coat

      Re: This is not a Morrisons initiative.

      I suspect that was an announcement from the Minister of Taking Credit for Other People's Ideas.

  5. JohnFen Silver badge

    Couting my blessings

    (I live in the US) I needed to buy some 99% isopropyl alcohol yesterday for a project I'm working on, and was pissed to find all of the stores in my area are completely out of anything above 50%. I checked Amazon, and they have it -- but only at hugely inflated prices from third-party sellers.

    But hearing about stores running out of things more widely muted my anger a bit. If all I have to worry about is being unable to buy IPA, then I think I have to count myself lucky. At least I don't need a good dust mask right now.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Couting my blessings

      Everclear.

      Same stuff, although possibly marginally more toxic if ingested.

      1. ClockworkOwl
        Boffin

        Re: Couting my blessings

        I'm not USian, but I think Everclear is pure Ethanol...

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Couting my blessings

          Yes, I was being flippant. I was going to use a /s tag then remembered this isn't Reddit.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Couting my blessings

            You were? It's not an unreasonable suggestion, though.

        2. stiine Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Couting my blessings

          Everclear 180 is 90% alcolhol, but you can also get Everclear 190 (or you used to be able to).

          hint: don't get it close to open flame.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Couting my blessings

        Yes, I'm planning on giving that a run. It doesn't have as high of an alcohol percentage as 99% IPA, but it comes reasonably close.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Couting my blessings

          My first thought on the mention of 99% IPA was that's a strong brew....

      3. Winkypop Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Couting my blessings

        Everclear.

        Been there done that.

        Two shot glasses of that stuff is like having your brain slowly removed.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Couting my blessings

          and put it back through your eye socket the next day... fun times, ZZTop morning - need cheap sunglasses.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Couting my blessings

      No IPA? If I can't buy India Pale Ale, then the apocalypse has truly arrived.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Couting my blessings

        If you are all that worried about the apocalypse, you should already have a 35 gallon 3 stage brewing system, and know how to use it. Beer is good for barter ...

  6. herman Silver badge
    Flame

    I resorted to cleaning PCBs with petrol, since I can't find any alcohol either.

    1. ClockworkOwl
      Flame

      Oddly, I managed to get Propan-1-ol at 99.9% no problem, but likewise all the IPA was gone.

      Apparently you can drink 1-ol...

  7. boltar Silver badge

    I'm just waiting...

    ... for the hysterical knuckle dragging sheep to buy as much as they can and clear off back home to wet their panties hiding in the cupboard, then I'll just go and shop as normal.

    1. RancidRodent

      Re: I'm just waiting...

      There's only so much the sheeple can stockpile, when every available space is full in their homes the shops will be emptier for the rest of us! This kind of activity really screws with supply chain modelling though, there will be a lull in sales when the stockpilers stop buying non-perishables - so what quantities should Morrisons, Tescos etc order in 6 weeks time? It will play havoc given that most supermarkets have little to no stockroom space these days and order on a just-in-time basis.

      1. tfewster Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: I'm just waiting...

        My local Asda say they order on a just-in-time basis, but then get shorted on deliveries.

        If only there was a way to improve on traditional stock management by the Mk1 eyeball and brain. Some...device..that could accurately track sales and stock, and do that fiendishly difficult logistics programming.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm just waiting...

          "Some...device..that could accurately track sales and stock, [...]"

          There was a supermarket branch whose local IT had a problem such that they couldn't order stock on that day. Not a problem - the central IT system catered for that contingency by delivering the same as that day the previous week. The stock duly arrived - including the large consignment of lemons for the previous week's Shrove Tuesday.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: I'm just waiting...

        It will play havoc given that most supermarkets have little to no stockroom space these days and order on a just-in-time basis.

        Ah yes, "Just-In-Time inventorying". I remember when that concept first came to my attention some 30+ years ago (some now-defunct department store chain was pushing it onto their suppliers for EDI and such). Even back then my thought was it would be all well and good until some piece of the delivery chain broke. And now it's happening (well, not the first time in those 30 years, just very noticeable now). Not such a disaster when you're building Toyotas, but everyplace else, not so good.

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: I'm just waiting...

          I remember it when it was "kanban"

          1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

            Re: I'm just waiting...

            I haven't heard that term since I left university in 2004...now I feel old...

      3. revenant

        Re: I'm just waiting...

        My food shopping is usually on a 'just-in-time' basis, which is fine until we have a few mm of snow and the shelves clear of milk and bread.

        So weeks ago I decided to increase our current stock of such essentials to give us at least 3 days cover.

        My point is that, apart from the strange compulsion to panic over bog-rolls, a significant increase in food buying might just be many people realising the same as me - JIT assumes an unaffected supply chain.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Re: I'm just waiting...

          I've found myself reflecting that it's not that nuts, if you may find yourself having to stay indoors for a fortnight then making sure you've got enough of the basics to tide you over for a while (at least until you can organise some deliveries, which might take a couple of days) seems reasonable. Hence dried pasta and tinned foods being a little low right now, before there's actually a problem. Expect stocks to rebound now the rush is over.

      4. John Sturdy
        FAIL

        Re: I'm just waiting...

        Unless they're buying things they don't eat if they can help it, because the things they actually want have already run out, in which case it'll sit at the back of a cupboard for years and eventually get thrown out. Unless, of course, enough isolation is needed that people will actually use up their supplies before they dare to go shopping again.

      5. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: I'm just waiting...

        There's only so much the sheeple can stockpile, when every available space is full in their homes the shops will be emptier for the rest of us!

        Normally, yes, but with stuff where the whole world is going crazy (sanitizer gels for instance) then it may be months before there's any on the shelves long enough for normal folk to pick any up with the weekly shop.

        Society really isn't what the left tell us it is. Evidence for that abounds and in all honesty, has passed the point where the pretense is sustainable. It's time for a better vision, with a lot less state dependence and a lot more individual responsibility.

    2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: I'm just waiting...

      Or the usual spivs to start filling ebay with bog rolls at insanely marked up prices / corner shops doing the same - 4 rolls of own brand bog roll usually 1.99 now 11.99 (or more likely 19.99)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm just waiting...

        "Or the usual spivs to start filling ebay with bog rolls at insanely marked up prices [...]"

        Talking of ebay - many sellers use copious amounts of bog roll paper as a lightweight soft filler for fragile items. It's amazing how such contents of a medium sized box will create a veritable mountain when unpacked on the floor.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    I refuse to panic

    Even if it kills me!

    So far, in my neck of the woods, I have seen little real panic buying but that may be because I live in the boonies, social media here is waving at a tractor as it drives by.

    I did get in three cases of the local wine last week though so at least I have a tipple or two as long as no visitors turn up expecting entertainment.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I refuse to panic

      What an excellent idea. I'm in semi-rural Oregon... I can stock up on fine local filberts, wine, hipster craft beer, kombucha and cheese and see out the End Times in a happy alcoholic, artery-clogged haze. Cheersh!

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: I refuse to panic

        You don't make your own kombucha?

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: I refuse to panic

          I would, but we just don't get plump enough frogs around here.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I refuse to panic

      I live in a medium-sized city in a US state that has coronavirus victims, but aside from the absence of IPA on the shelves, I've seen no signs of stockpiling or panic-buying.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: I refuse to panic

        Big city here, no panic-buying either, or at least I didn't notice any when I went shopping yesterday. Toilet paper stock was as abundant as usual, didn't check for IPA or hypochondriacs' gel though.

        Could it be a British phenomenon?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I refuse to panic

          "Could it be a British phenomenon?"

          BBC reports titles seemed to suggest that - until the article revealed that it was Australia where people were literally fighting over shelf contents.

          1. mikeinnc

            Re: I refuse to panic

            'BBC reports titles seemed to suggest that - until the article revealed that it was Australia where people were literally fighting over shelf contents.'

            Live in Perth, WA and can confirm you won't find a loo-roll anywhere in a shop in Oz. All the supermarkets are completley sold out - and there have been in-store fights over the remaining supplies in Sydney. As many have said, it gives you the sniffles - not the shits! And not only loo-rolls - also pasta, rice, tinned foods, long-life milk - anything that lasts. Empty shelves everywhere. Crazy!!

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: I refuse to panic

              4% of people infected get diarrhoea (src), plus if you're staying in the house for three weeks, you will want to make sure you have some spare.

              Or you could just go the cheap route and make sure you've got a yellow pages handy.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I refuse to panic

          "Could it be a British phenomenon?"

          I'm not even sure it's that. It seems more like media hype here in the UK than something actually happening. I didn't notice any empty or low-stocked shelves yesterday.

          1. BeachBoy

            Re: I refuse to panic

            Here in Spain I bought toilet roll on Saturday, not only were the shelves fully stocked, but it was on special offer!

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: I refuse to panic

      So far, in my neck of the woods, I have seen little real panic buying but that may be because I live in the boonies

      Try living with the southerners. I genuinely started looking out for zombies on my way home from Asda the other day, because they way they're shopping you'd think the zombie apocalypse has started.

      No paracetomol, no antibacterial soap, no antibacterial gel, no wound dressings of any type (I mean WTF?!), bog roll is an endangered species, Heinze soup or beans are harder to pick up than a supermodel (thanks to my geordie ex-finance friend for that one).... they've gone full retard out there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I refuse to panic

        Scotland has gone bonkers also (then again locally its become a hotspot for southern englanders looking for country lifestyle but without missing too many amenities - cue them writing off cars everytime it snows)

        ALDI had a special buy on bogroll (though it was price hiked and heavily scented stuff, I just bought my usual 3ply but in smaller packs then the normal 2 x 9 packs I buy every fortnight), replaced a few long life things we'd used but not remembered to replace yet

  9. ElectricPics

    Those that are not panicking have failed to understand the issue.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Or possibly understand it very well indeed and did a few larger than normal shopping trips in January.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      "Those that are panicking have failed to understand the issue."

      FIFY

      Right now, out of over 101000 cases, over 55000 have recovered and 3466 have died, that's about a 3% death rate on par with flu.

      The CDC in the US reckon on between 20000-50000 deaths from flu for the year 2019-2020 in the US alone and that is with tested vaccinations and well known treatments, the same susceptible groups are at risk of death from normal flu.

      Covid 19 is a variant of the same virus that caused SARS. Google the same details I have.

      1. squigbobble
        Meh

        Flu....

        ...has nowhere near a 3% death rate. Neither does COVID-19. The actual number of infections will be a lot higher than the number of cases so dividing the number of deaths by the number of cases (aka the crude CFR) will always overestimate the death rate except very early on in the epidemic before people have had chance to die of it. The infection fatality rate is the important number, that's your overall risk of dying if you get infected although it doesn't account for age and, as you correctly stated, this kills the same people that seasonal flu does.

        The WHO report from mid-February estimates the IFR at 0.3% - 1% : https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200219-sitrep-30-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=3346b04f_2

        A report based on data from the Diamond Petri Dish cruise ship puts the IFR at 0.91% - 1.2% overall depending on sampling and 7.3% - 9% for the elderly, who are the main clientele of cruise ships : https://cmmid.github.io/topics/covid19/severity/diamond_cruise_cfr_estimates.html

        As for flu, well: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/1/12-0124-techapp1.pdf

        The global CFR for swine flu was 0.048% across all ages so the IFR will have been lower than that, possibly less than half. The Asian flu pandemic of 1957 had a CFR of 0.3% which is the bottom end of the current IFR estimate. The only flu pandemic that has this beaten on paper right now is the 1918 one but that had more severe economic/social effects as it killed the exact opposite of the people who are vulnerable to COVID-19.

        My guess is that the IFR number will go down as data comes in from countries that don't have China's spectacularly bad air quality.

        There is another side to this; although less than 1% are dying of this, it's still putting a lot of working-age people out of action for a few weeks which won't play well with the just-in-time distribution model that everything is built around in the West. That's why slowing the progress of the pandemic is important, so as to minimise the proportion of the population who are sick at any given time. It also put about 5% of cases in China in the ICU which is a burden that the NHS is ill-equipped to bear, now that it's been organised so that all resources are fully utilised by not having enough of them.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Lomax

          Re: Flu....

          So it seems COVID-19 is something like 20 times deadlier than a garden variety flu, though I have seen estimates around 2-3% from multiple trustworthy sources. The WHO puts it at 3.4%. But as you say, these numbers typically fail to take into account that an unknown number of those infected may have mild enough symptoms not to seek medical help and get tested. Perhaps not even fair to compare in the first place since they belong to different families, and the effects are quite different. I just read this in the Indy:

          Italian doctors have warned medics across Europe to “get ready” for coronavirus in a letter revealing up to 10 per cent of all those infected with coronavirus need intensive care, with hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

          The letter, seen by The Independent, reveals the scale of the impact on hospitals in Italy where 5,883 patients have been infected with the virus and 233 people have died as of 6pm on Saturday.

          In the note, sent to the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, critical care experts Professor Maurizio Cecconi, Professor Antonio Pesenti and Professor Giacomo Grasselli, from the University of Milan, revealed how difficult it had been to treat coronavirus patients.

          They said: “We are seeing a high percentage of positive cases being admitted to our intensive care units (ICUs), in the range of 10 per cent of all positive patients."

          That's... not good. The UK has about half as many ICU beds per capita as the Eropean average (~6 per 100k vs ~11 per 100k - Italy has 12.5). Add to that the elevated risk of infection faced by health-care staff, with the possibility that many of them will be forced to self-isolate, and it looks like a perfect storm for the poor old NHS. I recommend reading the linked article in full; it has more detail on the effects of the virus.

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        100,000 infected, 55,000 recovered, 3,400 dead - that’s six percent mortality. There are 45,000 where it’s undecided yet if they end up as “recovered” or “dead”.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Ah, but India only has 43 cases as of 9 March.

            That won't last long.

            Cheers ------->>>>

  10. Winkypop Silver badge
    WTF?

    Poo tickets in short supply here in Oz

    People have gone completely bonkers here.

    Toilet paper, pasta, rice and hand sanitiser have all disappeared!

    B o n k e r s !!!

    1. Iznik

      Re: Poo tickets in short supply here in Oz

      >Toilet paper, pasta, rice and hand sanitiser

      Bring back Ready, Steady, Cook!

      1. hopkinse
        Coat

        Re: Poo tickets in short supply here in Oz

        I think you'll find that Rylan Clark-Neal got there before you :-)

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Poo tickets in short supply here in Oz

      In Blighty all the dried pasta has gone and all the weetabix too.

      I don’t really understand the weetabix thing. Unless it is a comfort thing. In my childhood we were all virtually made of weetabix in the warmer months. Changing to hot milk weetabix or Ready Brek in summer. Hot milk weetabix with sugar set like concrete.

      1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Poo tickets in short supply here in Oz

        Go rogue and buy Oatibix instead.

    3. mathew42
      Thumb Up

      Re: Poo tickets in short supply here in Oz

      Coles & Woolworths have also implemented similar change freeze rules. Basically the same change freeze protocols implemented in the lead-up to Easter & Christmas that have the intent of protecting stores from unnecessary change and / or additional work during their busiest times of the year.

      Yes annoying if your project was about to go-live, but risk is just not worth ending up on the front page of the paper.

      I saw a couple of photos today of supermarkets with pallets of toilet paper out the front.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Poo tickets in short supply here in Oz

        Woolworths?!?

  11. heyrick Silver badge

    Face masks

    I work in a food production factory. We wear white uniforms, hair net things, paper face masks, and so on.

    The other day, somebody stole a lot of face masks. No idea who. Management want them restricted, but no more have unexpectedly gone. I'd like to think that I helped stop not being taken due to utterly taking the piss. Our masks are intended to protect the product and work environment if we cough. They are utterly useless the other way around. You'd might as well tape some bog roll to your face (actually, if you tape it all the way around, that would be better then one of our masks!).

    Seriously, some people are going batshit crazy over this.

    1. mathew42
      Facepalm

      Re: Face masks

      In Australia, hospitals are placing face masks under lock and key because they were growing legs and walking.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Face masks

        Face masks are only good if you are sick ... to protect those around you from your spit. They will not keep you from getting the virus, and in fact will probably make you more susceptible. Why? Watch someone wearing one of those masks. Count how many times they unconsciously fiddle about with it over the space of five minutes ... thus rubbing their filthy hands all over their face.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disposables

    I work in logistics for a company here in the USA that has many disposable items that are being run through our supply chain at rates nearly as high as our peak season. We're talking toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, plastic spoons/forks/knives, paper bowls/plates/cups, etc. It's maddening to try and forecast your work volume. December through March is typically a huge lull in these product lines as far as throughput. Yet since the end of December, the demand for these has steadily increased. I wonder how the customers would feel knowing how much of these items come out of shipping containers from China...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Disposables

      "I wonder how the customers would feel knowing how much of these items come out of shipping containers from China..."

      I think the numbers I saw for the virus surviving on surfaces maxed out at about 48 hours. That could change, but a shipping container from China is not likely to still be infected on arrival in Europe or the US unless it's gone air-freight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Disposables

        These people are in a borderline panic already, which is why I speculated about the China source having an adverse effect on them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was in our local Morrison this morning - not especially busy, no obvious gaps on shelves, plenty of the various items people have mentioned here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pasta was on half price offer in our morrisons. No issue with stock, toilet paper was a bit low, hand sanitiser was AWOL and paracetamol was looking low.

      Trouble is now (as my wife said having thought the same) you feel guilty buying loo roll as everyone will think you are panic buying when actually you are just buying loo roll.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        > everyone will think you are panic buying when actually you are just buying loo roll.

        Wouldn't people's impression depend on how much you're buying? If I see someone buying one package (even a large one), then they need bog roll. If they're buying as many as they can fit in a cart, they're panicking.

  14. skeptical i
    Meh

    Qui bono?

    If I were cynical, I would wonder if this were a plot to goose some sectors of the economy (the panic-industrial complex?), and/or put another brick in the surveillance state wall (quarantines! tracking people who may be sick! think of the child-, er, grandmas!).

    Also, I really really hope someone is making provisions for the scut-workers who are being asked to stay home from work if they feel ill, yet are not given paid sick days. Unfortunately, most landlords and utility companies still want to be paid, now, whether tenant/customer is sick or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
  15. Timmy B Silver badge

    Just Wash Hands....

    A good hand washing with hot water and soap. That'll do it. Anything else is just being lazy.

    I just don't get the panic. I really don't.

  16. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "... it has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 people and infected 100,000"

    4k out of 100k worldwide and many of the deceased were in serious ill health anyway from other causes. And those figures have almost certainly been boosted by the silly habit of shutting thousands of people up on ocean liners where there are some already infected, thereby incubating a population of potential carriers. So it could be a nasty bug, but hardly a threat to humanity at large that requires entire regions to be shut down for business, or even the shelves of shops to be stripped..

    I'm reminded of Kermit the frog, who when asked what to do at the end of the show flung his arms in the air and yelled "panic!".

    If I was cynical I might wonder whether current fuss about the virus were a useful deflector of public attention from a range of serious political issues that would otherwise currently be challenging to governments. However the upside is that a lot of people won't need to buy toilet paper again for some time to come.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "... it has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 people and infected 100,000"

      Until it mutates...

      Sounds like you disagree with shut downs, funnily enough, because the corona pneumonia probably won't kill you. You're all heart. /S

      You don't believe in eugenics as well, do you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "... it has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 people and infected 100,000"

      Just wait, when it blows over there will be massive queues at the recycling centres/skips as the well healed come to bin all of it to "make room" without even a thought of donating any of it to charity/foodbank

      (and yes my brother and his wife are exactly like that, constantly claiming poverty yet every week they are chucking away some item of furniture and buying new)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "... it has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 people and infected 100,000"

        Rather than just criticise, feel free to take the initiative and transport it there yourself if it bothers you that much.

        Unfortunately though, your words appear to be classic virtue signalling.

  17. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    I was in the Bank on Friday...

    Hand sanitiser bottles on each counter.

    Thought I'd better get out quick before the place was raided.

  18. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Happy Birthday...

    Maybe Boris should post another advisory: on the sensible use of toilet paper.

    On second thoughts...

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