A coronavirus oddity

Supermarkets here are just fine. Near everything in stock – including toilet paper – and no rush, hassle or panic. Brother’s in next country over, same thing. The UK, chaos.

What the hell happened that excitable Latins are now more phlegmatic than the British?

71 thoughts on “A coronavirus oddity”

  1. Is the Poortugs media as scummy and panic-peddling as the British? I think that is the key. It didn’t work with Brexit–because despite ludicrous Project Fear anti-Brexit bullshit everyone knew no one was going to die from Brexit.

  2. In my far off youth–late 70s/early 80s– I was a survivalist and had food stocks etc on hand.

    But when, year after year the crash never arrived–I became blase.

    If we get past this crap I will have 3-6 months food on hand from now on.

  3. JuliaM – I’ve seen it first hand this week. Same stuff going on in parts of Scotland and the North where there’s nary a brown face to be seen, and no toilet paper either.

    If anything, I suspect panic buying is more of a wypipo thing. Haven’t seen any asian or coloured folks freaking out about this.

  4. Thankfully, here in Australia we still have an abundance of geologists to eat or wipe our backsides with.

  5. For what its worth, I’ve been in local Sainsburys and Aldi today, not to panic buy but curiosity.
    Aldi have much less empty shelving and bog roll .
    Their supply chain stronger maybe.
    Interesting to see what people wont panic buy such as Thai green curry pot noodles and certain tinned “things”.

  6. COVID-19 deaths as of 20 March, Portugal 6; UK 177.

    Per million population, that is Portugal 0.6; UK 2.7.

    Currently for the Portuguese, COVID-19 deaths as of 20 March, Portugal 6; UK 177.

    Per million population, that is Portugal 0.6; UK 2.7.

    Looks to me, currently for the Portuguese, like stealthy up-stocking is a better policy than panic.

    Best regards

  7. People feel the need to do something. Stocking up on loo roll is something. Ergo, they do it.

    Does Portugal have less of a supermarket culture, more corner shops? Your corner shopkeeper will give short shrift to anyone who tries to buy 144 loo rolls in one go.

  8. I’ve noticed smaller shops and chains are more likely to have stock than the biggies. I wonder if part of the problem is the supply system / business model the UK supermarkets use just isn’t capable of changes in buying pressures. They are now so poor at stock that they’ve had to cut their hours, leading to even more focused pressure. If you want bog roll, bread or milk from them you’ll have to queue before 6am (or get lucky).

    Maybe the Portuguese system is less “efficient” with enough slack to deal with sudden peaks.

    This is not to excuse twattish behaviour. I just don’t see that as being unique to anglos.

  9. Best one I’ve come across so far was from my neighbour, reporting on his weekly Sunday a.m. shop at Tesco. An elderly couple (80s) ahead of him at the till, whose only purchase was powdered milk ‘for their tea’. Seventy two quid’s worth!

  10. The panic buying was pretty calm here in not London.

    Seems to have mostly ended but not helped by panicky older women who appear to need 36 eggs at a time.

    I do blame the media coverage has been very much an incitement to civil unrest. They all need to loose their broadcast rights…..

  11. Isn’t “just in time” logistics just swell!

    The savings must be utterly trivial, given the near-zero interest rates of the last decade.

  12. Dennis, Big Game Hunter-Gatherer

    News from Central Ohio…

    There was toilet paper in our local Krogers yesterday afternoon. Paper towels were out, but diapers were in stock. Milk and eggs available, bread was out. Beef, pork and seafood available, but selection was spotty. People are hitting the grocery stores early (7AM to 9AM) to get the best selection, but there doesn’t seem to be any panic buying. I’ve been in our Krogers every afternoon this week and traffic has lightened up each day. The atmosphere amongst customers is surprisingly relaxed. Stocks at Amazon come and go. I you gotta have anything, you can get it, although you may have to work at getting it.

    Gun stores are different. Took my SIG P226 in last week to put on consignment and it sold at full price. Took another three guns in this morning and the SIG P220 sold at asking price before the store owner had had a chance to log it in. The full size Beretta PX4 is having the competition trigger swapped out an the stock trigger put back in on Monday morning. The store owner said that because it is 9mm it will probably sell by the time he closes the shop on Monday. The rifle may not sell quickly, as it is left-handed bolt action. Ammo: 9mm, 45acp and 38 Special are impossible to find. It’s fun watching the same people who a month ago couldn’t imagine why anyone would think they need a gun for self-defense (including some friends) paying full price and more on any gun they can get their hands on.

  13. Went to Sam’s Club* this AM. Long line to get in. They were controlling the number of people in the store. Someone had to leave before someone could get in. So we were fvcking bunched up in a long line outside. There was some ‘social distancing,’ but, as we approached the entrance, the line crunched up.

    There were some bare spots, but shelves were mostly full. They didn’t have my son’s favorite breakfast food, Jimmy Dean**’s Meat Lovers Breakfast Bowls. They did have another flavor, so my son won’t starve.

    *Sort of a super Walmart. More bulk packaging and bulk pricing.

    **No cheating: which Bond movie was Jimmy Dean in? His biggest line was “Baja?!?!”

  14. Dennis, Bullshit Detector

    The savings must be utterly trivial, given the near-zero interest rates of the last decade.

    You might want to re-think this statement, because it sounds like something Spud would say.

  15. Gamecock: “Willard White” in Diamond’s Are For Ever.

    Best line and a statement of the Human condition “Son–what the Hell is happening to me and what can I do about it?”

  16. Stop Getting Bond Wrong

    No Time To Poop
    The TP Is Not Enough
    No Dr.
    From China With Love
    A View To A Cough
    Quantum of Chloroquine
    The Spy Who Kept A Responsible Social Distance From Me
    Live And Let Die

  17. Jimmy Deans meat lovers breakfast bowl:

    The meatiest of breakfast bowls—bacon and sausage come together with eggs, potatoes and cheese. This bowl is perfect to have in the morning or on those “breakfast for dinner” nights.

    Good home cooking. Yum Yum.

  18. Didn’t phlegmaticism die out with the WW2 generation? The English these days seem a pretty emotional people to me. And hey, I had an Irish father (WW2 vet), English mother, and more relatives than you can shake a stick at. There is also no shortage of Brits in the States. I remember the stiff upper lip types but they’re mostly gone.

  19. Other countries didn’t have the idiotic Competition and Markets Authority intervening to prevent the price mechanism from doing its job of balancing supply and demand.

  20. Shelves cleared of tinned food here in Cambridgeshire. Except for Ox Tongue, obviously.

    Butcher still has red meat for sale but his supply of chicken has not reached him. Chicken, he says, is meat for people who can’t cook. So we can expect an outbreak of food poisoning soon.

  21. I went to Marks and Spencer on the way home from work yesterday. Few packs of meat, little fish, no chicken, no pizza or bread or pasta.

    But I picked up a dressed lobster and a venison haunch with red wine jus! Don’t ever change, Marks and Sparks!

  22. @dearieme: Tesco this morning had empty shelves of tinned corned beef (looking to pick it up for an elderly man I know) but they did have Spam!

  23. Re near zero interest rates, it looks to me as if most corporate debt these days has a coupon of about 7-8%.

    But I have been to 3 different supermarkets this week in 3 different towns. No loo roll. Very little meat apart from a very small chicken. No canned goods apart from the can of haricot beans that I bought. Hardly any tonic water. No pasta. No veg apart from some carrots, spuds and some broccoli.

    I suspect there will be a lot of rotting food available in bins near you in the next week

  24. A friend of a friend spotted a veggie friend buying meat yesterday. When quizzed she said she was going to sell it on ebay. We live in a society of sociopathic spivs, which explains the existence of Richard Murphy

  25. The Meissen Bison

    @ Rowdy – Absolutely, that was when this sceptered isle started going bonkers and it’s been getting progressivly worse.

  26. AIUI the sequencing went:
    1. Someone in Australia points out that a lot of their toilet roll is imported from China, so there could be supply problems.
    2. Lots of Australians start panic buying toilet roll.
    3. Australian panic buying is on social media and then reported in UK MSM.
    4. Brits join in the fun.

    I imagine Australian media doesn’t get much coverage in Portugal.

  27. “In my far off youth–late 70s/early 80s– I was a survivalist…”

    Why am I not surprised?

  28. A theory re not bulk buying food in Portugal: my experience of Portuguese food was that it was pretty poor (Tom will say I was going to the wrong places). Anyway, I’d understand a reluctance there to overshop.

  29. “Brother’s in next country over, same thing.”

    Not what my ex-pat Spanish friends are telling me. There was chaos with massive panic buying before the government lockdown. Now, security guards limit entry to supermarkets like Mercadona.

    Meanwhile, here in Suffolk, people are over-buying but not panic buying. Waitrose is fine – even has pasta. The discounters frequented by the semi-feral underclass often have bare shelves, as landwhales push away trollies full of junk food and bog roll. The fatter your arse, the more paper you need, I suppose.

  30. “The coronavirus shows we need an entirely new economic system.”

    That may be the case, but maybe not the system in that country that caused the outbreak in the first place.

  31. Talking about Australian media, judging by some videos on youtube, Aussie Sky News seems a different beast from the UK equivalent.

  32. Theo–You are not surprised Theo because decades of kissing the arse –and financing– BluLabour have left you barely able to emote, think or move .

    If Blojo brings down the economy you likely have a lot more to lose than I.

    And you might just fucking wish you had been a survivalist. Call it being a “prepper” if it bruises your remaining brain cells less.

  33. At 6pm this evening Lidl (Wincanton) was very quiet. No bogrolls, meat cabinet empty, but apart from that quite normal apart from the lack of people. Had all the things I normally buy there.

  34. Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

    Just have a lodger who works at a local Tesco Express.

    Have as much of everything as I need and the ‘staff store’ provides a trickle of odds and ends of perfectly edible food which is past the official sale by date.

    Plus she’s got a great arse.

    Every little helps.

  35. 1. Someone in Australia points out that a lot of their toilet roll is imported from China, so there could be supply problems.

    I’d assumed toilet paper is made locally, being high-volume but low cost. Sort of like light bulbs and associated transport costs, but different. I googled “toilet paper economics” but it just took me to Ritchie’s site.

  36. Dennis, Prepped For A Night Of Ballroom Dancing (They Don't Call Me Featherfoot For Nothing, You Know)

    In my far off youth–late 70s/early 80s– I was a survivalist and had food stocks etc on hand.

    The thought that you might have, at one time, been crazier than you are now is a sobering one.

    And if you survive the current crisis and get that three to six months of toilet paper, coffee, freeze-dried horse meat and dental floss stuffed into your basement (or whatever), you’ll have made yourself a dandy target when THE BIG ONE hits. How you gonna protect your horde and your ass? Sharpened stick? Leather slingshot? Your breath?

  37. Yes, I think the assumption is correct. Aussies won’t have to traipse out to the dunny empty-handed.

    Toilet paper stocks wiped out ”

    ‘…However, it doesn’t seem like there is any cause for panic when it comes to our toilet paper supply, as 11 out of 14 of major brands Australian owned.

    Brands like Quilton, Kleenex and Sorbent are manufactured in factories across Australia.

    Materials used to make Australian toilet paper can come from either local materials or suppliers in overseas countries such as Brazil or Scandinavian countries.

    Kimberley-Clark, the company which makes Kleenex toilet paper told news.com.au: “Kleenex toilet paper for Australia and NZ is made at our mill in South Australia so whilst we are seeing increased demand by consumers, we have sufficient supply. We’re now working with our customers to replenish supermarket shelves faster.” ‘

  38. JuliaM said:
    “What’s ‘the British’, these days? This is mostly happening in London and other multicultural areas.”

    I was out shopping today; lots of empty shelves in supermarkets in rural Dorset as well (very disappointing), and we’re not very multicultural here (although I was talking to an Indian lady in Tesco’s, who was complaining about the panic buyers – couldn’t quite tell with her accent whether she was calling them “chavs” or “trash”).

    I had to trawl round four supermarkets to get most of the stuff on my (not very long) shopping list, so my reasonably comprehensive survey says:
    – no pasta to be had anywhere;
    – no hand soap (liquid or bar), but you can now get stuff for the dishes, which I suspect is pretty similar;
    – not much bread, but enough;
    – no flour to be had anywhere
    (I wonder if the people buying it know what to do with it)
    – loo roll – most places out, and have been for a while – Morrisons in Blandford had some this afternoon, with a security guard on it to stop people taking more than one pack. OK, Blandford is where all the rural Dorset druggies are, but even so, it’s hardly Liverpool.
    – very little meat – no chicken at all (fresh or frozen), very little red meat – although I was able to get some venison (full shelves of that, in stark contrast to the surrounding empty shelves – I guess people don’t know what to do with it) and some OKish looking steak in Lidl;
    – mixed results on fresh fruit and veg; Tesco’s out of carrots, Lidl only had ‘organic’ ones.

    Overall it felt like being in a communist country – and soon they’re going to ban internal travel and have police checking your papers.

    The “Keep Calm and Carry On” stereotype seems to have died out a long time ago, if it was ever true anyway.

  39. Dennis, A Septic To His Very Bones

    Krogers at 5PM on a Saturday. Store traffic was light. Bread was back in the store, and there were two types of name brand toilet paper on the shelves. Also two types of name brand paper towels. Plenty of milk, eggs, produce, diapers, meat (selection was variable) and canned goods. Picked up a big roll of Charmin toilet paper, coffee filters, coffee and some vegetarian fake meat crumbles.

    Thursday the 12th this store was cleaned out. Now it’s the 21st and things are basically back to normal. Greatest fucking country in the world.

  40. Mr Ecks said:
    ““Willard White” in Diamond’s Are For Ever.”

    Wasn’t that the one with a jazz musician as a comedy henchman?

  41. djc said:
    “At 6pm this evening Lidl (Wincanton) was very quiet. … quite normal apart from the lack of people. Had all the things I normally buy there.”

    You broke in after it closed?

  42. Diogenes said:
    “I suspect there will be a lot of rotting food available in bins near you in the next week”

    Yup, that was my thought too.

  43. @Steve March 21, 2020 at 12:39 pm


    @JuliaM March 21, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Try telling my mother that: Edinburgh supermarkets stripped bare every day

    My 80 next month mother was in tears today on phone, she’s petrified which is not good for her health


    +1 on Diana – Blair deliberately used this to ‘make us more EUpean’

    Mrs Pcar (Swedish) & I watched news & Blair emoting and said “Sad, but no big deal” then “Why is this being made a national emergency?”

    @BiG -1 on you’re JIT

    @PJF March 21, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Yep – Hours: all Tesco now close at 22:00, Morrisons I was in today: From Monday 08:00 – 20:00

    I don’t think it’s supply issues, more due to buying opportunity. Small shops don’t have car parks and trolleys. Also, psychologically they are more personal and customers feel greed/guilt if buy too much


    +1 Left Media behaving like enemy propaganda channels and irresponsibly ramping up panic

  44. Coronavirus: UK Shoppers told to buy responsibly
    “Shoppers in the UK have been told to “be responsible” and think of others such as NHS workers, after panic-buying amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    Environment Secretary George Eustice said there is more than enough food to go around – but the challenge for shops is keeping shelves stocked.

    It comes as supermarkets have been overwhelmed by increased purchasing.”
    With subs and hands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7SNkfzEeKM

    Many good, pragmatic moves & suspension of some laws, curfews etc

    Self-isolation will spark rise in UK divorces warns leading family lawyer

    Probably accurate

    @Jussi March 21, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    +100 Sky News Aus says what UK BBC/C4/Sky won’t

  45. Had a look round the Sainsbury superstore in Selly Oak (student/uni area) the other evening after work.
    Literally every food aisle stripped bare, the only things remaining were a few sad items in the vegetarian section. Seems that when the shtf people prefer real calories rather than Quorn.
    Speaking with family up in the arse end of Scotland, it seems they’re not immune either.
    Small rural farming community with lots of local produce, yet hardly anything on the shelves.
    The question that everyone is asking is how long can this lock-down go on, and what will be left standing afterwards? And of course, when will the pubs reopen?

  46. RichardT–Willard White–obv a play on Howard Hughes was a mystery billionaire recluse whose identity and business Empire was taken over by Blofield (the Charles Grey version.

    I remember the character well but I couldn’t have told you he was played by Jimmy Dean until Gamecock used the line “Baja..I don’t have anything in Baja”

    The Bond film involved with Jazz and featuring a New Orleans Funeral was the next one “Live and Let Die”. There were jazz musicians around but the main villain Katanga had two henchmen–some large fellow with one hand replaced by a metal claw and a fat bloke called “Whisper” cos that is all he did. He was as big a FUB as Dennis.

  47. “The thought that you might have, at one time, been crazier than you are now is a sobering one.”


  48. Wincanton: not much of a place. It’s only 5 miles away yet I had lived here two years before I ventured into the town; curiosity satisfied there is little reason to go further than the roundabout off the A303: Morrisons, Lidl, and Screwfix.

  49. Mind you, at least Mrs R doesn’t leap out of bed with a cry of “Right! Where are we going today?”. So it’s an ill wind.

  50. Talking to an acquaintance who lives in south-east Birmingham… He said that the local Morrisons was stripped bare of food, except that there was plenty of pork and ham available.

    Draw your own conclusions on that…

  51. Theo +100? Plus 100 this: the fact that you have spent fucking decades supporting/financing a Party not only fucking useless but drifting steadily into middle class Marxism and whose fuckwit leader has announced plans –12 week shutdowns or worse –which will drop you and yours lower than whaleshit if they happen. And the rest of us but I sure you couldn’t care less about that. Theo forever etc.

    You have no room to be talking about anybody else being crazy.

  52. Dennis, Whose Own Mental Health Is Never In Doubt

    Plus 100 this: the fact that you have spent fucking decades supporting/financing a Party not only fucking useless but drifting steadily into middle class Marxism and whose fuckwit leader has announced plans –12 week shutdowns or worse –which will drop you and yours lower than whaleshit if they happen.

    Ever notice that in Ecks’ universe he is the only wog in all of Britain who wasn’t voting for Marxist shite scum for the past two or so decades. Quite amazing, actually.

  53. “@BiG -1 on you’re JIT”

    Is that what the urban youths refer to as “rap”? Or is it just crap? It’s certainly not English.

    I’m sure there will be more divorces. More babies too.

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