Daily Express

British panic buying has a touch of class!


IS THERE any topic in the entire world that Britain is incapable of turning into a matter of class? Who cares about a killer virus running amok when you can use panic buying as a way of getting one up on the neighbours?

It surfaced on social media, natch, when people pointed out that the footage of shoppers staggering around under several lorry loads of loo paper made it plain that those involved were not, er, members of the aristocrac­y.

And it’s true: I have yet to see anyone standing in Waitrose engaging in hand- to- hand combat with their neighbour over the last packet of lemon grass.

“There’s plenty of avocado and hummus left in my local supermarke­t,” says one. “Panic buying is obviously working class.”

But then, on the other hand, my online friends are engaging in competitiv­e panic buying and that’s a class thing too. “My freezer is full of wild Alaskan salmon,” boasts one. “I have a cupboard full of asparagus and artichokes,” swanks another ( me.) Posts are full of people hurling around hoardings of Daylesford organic and it’s only a matter of time before someone starts panic buying Fortnum & Mason hampers. My best friend is already threatenin­g to panic buy a pair of Christian Louboutin heels and an Hermes Kelly bag.

We’re all panic buying wine, of course: this country knows its priorities. But here’s another thing about panic buying: you need the space. It’s all very well if you own a sprawling estate in Shropshire, because not only are you too posh to panic but you don’t need to anyway as you’ve got several thousand acres of fertile farmland, to say nothing of a wine cellar full of stuff your great- grandfathe­r stocked up. But what about those of us who live in small, inner- city flats?

I’d love to ship in a few months’ worth of pantry essentials ( as long as they are gluten free, meat free and don’t contain carbs), but I’d end up sitting on them.

Then there’s the fact that I have to panic buy for my cat. Not only is she as fussy about food as I am but she needs special stuff to deal with her kidney problems and I’m not having Mrs Peel put out because of the blimmin’ coronaviru­s.

How long before there’s a black market in tinned tuna and frozen veg? I’ve just checked the website of the supermarke­t I use and it’s out of petit pois. It’s looking grim.

We’re British: we don’t panic until we do and end up in fisticuffs over the last jar of mayonnaise ( not salad cream.) British etiquette goes out the window: it’s no longer a case of, “After you, old man,” but instead fiercely elbowing someone else out of the way as you get to the tinned sardines aisle.

Oh, and the non- panic buying rich are chartering jets to take them to their private estates in Italy, where no doubt they will shelter, miles away from the coronaviru­s- struck hoi polloi, feasting on home made mozzarella.

Meanwhile the rest of us are causing a world- wide baked bean shortage, because you can’t be too careful. Ours not to reason why, ours just to panic buy…

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