Supermarkets are still struggling to keep up

Supermarket shelves throughout the UK look like places from another country. I’ve not been into Morrisons in Bude all week, but I had the need to go today. It’s a shocking and sobering sight.  I thought back to images I’d seen on TV many years ago of people queueing for bread and other groceries in Russia.

As usual, I have my shopping list and pretty much always stick to what’s on it.

Let’s start with the fresh stuff, right near the door. Wait …  a handful of packets of salad, no cucumbers, no lettuce, no peppers, no fruit of pretty much any kind.  Wow… okay so maybe I won’t get a cucumber then for our salad on Saturday evening.

I venture a bit further into the store.

Lots of shelf edge labels saying they’re temporarily out of stock of things.  (In fact I overhead a Morrisons person saying that they nearly ran out of the temporarily out of stock labels! Ironic!)

I wandered a little further around the store, trying to find things on my list, but I made little progress. Well, that’s not entirely true. I made plenty of progress around the store, because there were only a few shoppers and nothing really to buy! But I made very little progress on my modest list.

Certain things were stocked, whilst other things were just gone. Frozen peas were stacked ‘up to the ceiling’, but lots of other veg in the frozen section were thin on the ground or non-existent.  The bread aisle had no actual bread and only one or two packets of rolls and similar items. There were no eggs, no flour, no beans, no pasta, and no rice, to name just a few of the regular things which were not available.

From the photo above you can see that cereal was relatively well-stocked. So it’s cereal three times a day from now on! Well, maybe, except there was no milk to be found in the store.

I know it’s the same everywhere, and hopefully, the supermarket-led restrictions are starting to help in some places, but it really is a shock. There are odd things which I’ve heard are sold out in places too: My mother said that there were ‘almost no lightbulbs’ in her local Morrisons.  Why would people panic buy those?

Here’s hoping that the food delivery and supply chain catches up a bit over the coming days so that people are actually able to ‘do a shop’.


  • Katie says:

    “My mother said that there were ‘almost no lightbulbs’ in her local Morrisons. Why would people panic buy those?”

    It’s a delivery and restocking problem. It’s not that they have run out of lightbulbs because people are over buying them – it’s because they are prioritising more quantities of the goods that people do panic buy, i.e., eggs/flour etc.
    However – if you need a solid temp job and are a young healthy person then getting a job in the supermarket has never been easier. They are desperate for new staff!

  • Martin says:

    As Katie says, the problem is the logistics. The supermarkets are being asked to deal with demand (which is totally unnecessary) way above Xmas levels with no notice or ability to plan. Xmas planning starts as soon as Xmas is over, to ensure that capacity is in place.
    Depots are working flat out, as are drivers; deliveries are arriving at unpredictable times simply because the distribution system is stretched beyond its limit, which means that shelves will, at times, look empty when ordinarily, you would expect them to be full. Priority is given to the staple goods we all need. You can’t eat a lightbulb…

    Please all remember that the lack of goods on the shelf is NOT the fault of the staff in the shop, or the drivers, or the depot staff – they are all working flat out to support YOU, and please remember, they are as affected and scared as you are, yet they continue to put themselves in the front line every day, and are exposed to far more people every day than you are. Respect them and thank them for what they are doing. A thank you goes a long, long way…..

    I was probably that person you overheard about the Out Of Stock labels. Give us a break – we have to find lighter moments somewhere to keep us sane. It gets us through the day….

    Please, folks, shop sensibly, remember the more vulnerable in our society, and let’s all look after and care for everybody, not just ourselves.

    In this comment I have used the term YOU – this is directed at the reader, not the author.

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