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from EVOLVE, Autumn 2021

When it was announced in March 2020 that a nationwide lockdown would come into place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, all hell broke loose. Desperate and panicked shoppers raced to supermarkets, grabbing cans and cartons alike to form the stockpiles, it was an apocalyptic sight. Yet, strangest of all was the trend of hoarding toilet paper that caught on across countries despite the pleads of government ministers to stop such behaviour.


Nevertheless, as the world eases out of lockdowns over the last few years, it has been thought that the days of panic buying are in the past. However, as demonstrated by the fuel crisis of September 2021, we were wrong. It all started when the oil firm BP announced that some of its petrol stations would have to close because it was experiencing a shortage of lorry drivers to make deliveries to them. The lack of HGV drivers has recently been blamed on complications from Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, but what has become apparent is that there is a clearer reason: distrust and paranoia. Despite the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps declaring that there was no fuel shortage, and that media coverage on the matter was misleading, he was promptly ignored by the British public who started to collect as much petrol as possible.


This panic buying phenomenon is caused simply by the chaos of thousands, or rather, millions attempting to protect their own interests simultaneously. Unfortunately, this interferes with supply chains as production cannot increase as quickly as demand and panic levels. What the world should learn from the toilet paper and petrol crises is that it is important to be calm, collected, and charitable in times of need. This is the only way we can move forwards and progress to a world with full shelves and minimal chaos. But when will we ever learn? I wonder what will be the next thing that supermarkets and stations lack… shampoo?

Written by Lola 

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