Kate Hawkesby: We are losing our minds at the supermarket

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Mar 2020, 11:14AM
Pak'nSave Albany, where shoppers queued to buy goods. Photo / Amelia Wade

Kate Hawkesby: We are losing our minds at the supermarket

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Mar 2020, 11:14AM

How fast things can move when they have to.

Yesterday I banged my drum again on shutting schools, shutting things down. I thought I may be banging on about it for another week, but look what happened? 

The Prime Minister finally acknowledged the modelling she’s had available to her for over a week, and finally acted on it. 

Getting to Level 4 more gradually would’ve been ideal, had the government taken it a bit more seriously about a week ago, instead of going from a ‘we’re all in this together - do your best’ stance on Saturday, to the dramatic ‘tens of thousands of New Zealanders may die' speech she gave yesterday. 

But the point is we needed to get to Level 4, and by the end of this week we will be.

So what does that mean? 

We haven't had a lot of time to digest the alert system, no sooner did it come in, it ramped up double, so there's a lot of confusion out there.

And panic.

Yesterday was intense at the supermarkets. 

In fact even the usually quieter local shops - the butcher, the fruit shop, the dairy, all had queues out the door.

I think asking people not to panic makes people panic?

I tried to get some milk for my son who’s in a flat, and hasn’t been able to get near a supermarket for days because every time he does, the queue is too long and there's barely anything left. 

I couldn’t find him any bread, and four places I tried didn’t have milk, I eventually got some at a petrol station. 

But I watched one couple arrive at a supermarket with a large roll along suitcase, I kid you not.

Foodstuffs Kiri Hannifin said that last week they sold enough food to feed 10 million New Zealanders. That’s insanity.

Surely we’ll all run out of money to buy all these groceries soon?

The supermarkets will not close. Food distributors, suppliers, stackers, freight companies, supermarket workers.. they’re all essential businesses. The only things that are closing are non- essentials.

My husband’s first call yesterday was to the local wine shop to ask them if they’re defined as essential or non essential and he was greatly relieved to hear they’re essential. Who knew?

But at the supermarkets, checkout operators are getting abused and yelled at by frantic shoppers.

I’ve had parents contact me to say their kids are working long shifts at checkouts interfacing with endless members of the public and just getting constantly abused.  That’s not remotely cool or acceptable and that’s the stuff we have to stop. 

The measures announced yesterday were drastic, but necessary.

From here we need to band together and show some solidarity.

Stuffing suitcases with groceries and abusing checkout operators, is not how we do that.