We’re used to roads and railways grinding to a halt at the faintest whiff of snow – but empty supermarket shelves are a rare sight. Our guest, Hannah Jolliffe, asks: did you run out of supplies during the snowy spell, or are you a savvy stockpiler?
The messages started coming through last Friday on my street’s WhatsApp group: ‘Help! No milk in any local shops… does anyone have half a pint we can borrow?’.
For the next few days, our street was frantically sharing supplies – especially fresh bread and milk, which seemed to suddenly be like gold dust.
Empty supermarket shelves
After a few days of ‘making do’, I finally ventured to the supermarket on Monday night to stock up. The roads had been clear in my local area for a couple of days at this point, so I figured supermarkets must be back to normal by now.
Apparently not. While the fruit and vegetable aisles had something to offer, there wasn’t so much as a bread roll to be had – the same for milk and lots of other dairy items. Even the freezer section looked like it hadn’t been replenished for a week. Shoppers were muttering curses to themselves as they pushed very empty trolleys around and peered at the empty supermarket shelves.
Speaking to friends, it sounds like online shopping has taken a knock too. One friend, who usually shops online, said that her usual supermarket has stopped taking online orders – and she couldn’t even book a delivery slot for the future.
Should we all be stockpiling?
Admittedly, this was a much more severe case of snow than we are used to, but I’m surprised at how quickly our supply chain has been so badly affected.
I’m normally one to scoff at too much forward-planning, but this experience has forced me to stop and take note. Is this a lesson that we should all be stockpiling in case of a real emergency?
And, according to reports online and in social media, the rest of the country is experiencing similar situations. One angry shopper posted an image of a Londis receipt showing that they increased the price of bread to £3 a loaf. Many others posted pictures of empty supermarket shelves.
Did you run out of supplies?
I’m in the lucky position of having lots of great local shops – and ironically, supplies seemed to get to them much more easily than to the major supermarkets. But not everyone can rely on local shops and neighbours, and I wonder how people have managed in the past week in different parts of the country?
This is a guest contribution by Hannah Jolliffe. All views expressed here are Hannah’s own and not necessarily those also shared by Which?.
What’s it been like in your area? Were you prepared with food supplies or have you been caught short by empty shelves syndrome? Will you be stockpiling for emergencies like this in future?
Do you stockpile food in case of emergencies?
Yes, I always have extra food in the freezer and cupboards (50%, 264 Votes)
Never - I manage as I go (27%, 139 Votes)
Only when it looks like I need to (23%, 118 Votes)
No, but I plan to start after snowmageddon! (1%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 524