Recently everyone’s been at the supermarket. They’ve been hanging out in the same aisles and rubbing shoulders with the infected, because Coronavirus. (yes, it’s just one word)
This Sunday, I decided to follow the crowd and go to Tesco.
It seemed like a great opportunity to uncover new consumer trends.
How? By analysing all of the panic buying.
While the journey didn’t really teach me anything, it did raise some very potent questions.
I’m sure you want to know exactly what they are, so I’ll get to it.
What About The Food Bank?
Tesco stores always have a food bank donation box near the entrance.
It’s funny that over the last decade, we’ve reverted to a sort of Victorian reliance on the Third Sector to alleviate the national balance sheet.
So yeah, the food bank box was the first thing I saw ahead of passing the tills.
And it got me thinking, if everyone’s already bought up all of the dried pasta, cans of alphabetti spaghetti and spam, what the hell’s anyone going to donate to the Food Bank?
What’s Everyone Doing With All Those Chopped Tomatoes?
As I was perusing the aisles, the first thing I noticed was that the only canned food completely out of stock were chopped tomatoes. Not canned plum tomatoes, because when you’re ill there’s going to be no mashing in the frying pan.
But surely there’s only so much pasta and chopped tomatoes you can eat?
It made me wonder, what’s everyone going to do with them?
I guess they’d be good for brushing your teeth if you’re trying to hide your persistent gum disease, or a great way to create really realistic scenes of coughing blood ahead of the annual performance review.
It’s a shame, because either I don’t know enough about cooking, or everyone else is really unimaginative with their pasta.
Take it from me, you can put olive oil on it too, or even put it in a sandwich.
Baconnaise Is More Popular Than Ketchup
I don’t go round friends’ houses much, so this was a big surprise, but apparently Baconnaise is the nation’s favourite condiment (based on the definitive evidence that there wasn’t any of it left on the shelves when I went to Tesco).
I’m not sure what it is, but my best guess is that it’s ground up pork guts and it’s great for getting squeaks out of doors, which as far as I know is one of Coronavirus’ first symptoms.
British People Think Coronavirus Is A Beer
One of the few beers left in the alcohol aisle was Corona.
Take a look.
It’s funny and I think this is clear evidence that people believe Coronavirus originates from Corona Beer. It’s definitely not a sign that British people don’t like drinking Corona in the winter (I do, it’s the only thing that gets me up in the morning).
Funnily enough, I was convinced for ages that Microsoft’s version of Siri was called Corona, not Cortana, and this was why Microsoft’s announced that they were moving their personal digital assistant away from providing consumer skills at about the same time as the outbreak started. Because it maybe it had mutated into something dreadful.
Which I suppose just proves that I’m denser than you.
Parents Now Feel Obliged To Bathe Their Children
There was only one lonesome bottle of Matey left on the shelves.
To enjoy a moment of nostalgia I unscrewed the cap and smelled a hypoallergenic formulation adventure. Ahhh, youth.
Given almost all the Matey had gone, I guess this shows that everyone now understands that they need to clean their children (because Coronavirus).
Which is probably a good thing.
Ta Ta Toilet Paper
There wasn’t a roll of toilet paper to be seen.
Which is ample proof that no-one’s thought through their quarantined diets properly.
I mean, if they’ve going to subside on dried pasta, baconnaise and chopped tomatoes, do they really think their movements will be frequent enough to justify all that toilet paper?
Really? Do they? Do you?
Despite The Powdered Milk Debacle, Nestle Beats Kellogs
If you were locked up in your house for a month, what sort of cereal would you buy?
Which proves once and for all that Nestle makes better cereal than Kellogs (I wouldn’t know).
And that people don’t factor ethics into their purchasing habits as much as marketers may think.
Clean Shaven In Your Haven
Panic buying razors makes sense given the official advice that face masks don’t work with stubble.
But this scene was interesting because it was only all of the Gillette Mach 3 blades that were gone. Not the Mach 4, 5, 6 or 20.
How many blades does your razor need now?
Well how many Gillette?
I think the best Gillette can do is start a campaign advising men that the closer their shave, the more ingrown hairs they’ll have on their face, giving them more to do when they’re sitting around at home watching Doctors next week.
Rationing’s For Babies Only
The only thing that had a sign saying it was rationed in the Tesco store in Hackney Central this Sunday was baby formula.
I dig that this is probably important. Babies need formula when you don’t want to expose them to an infected mother.
But it seemed weird that nothing else was rationed.
Which made me think that everyone must be buying the wrong things.
Follow the logic?
Tesco are only going to put up signs rationing things you will actually, usefully need during a quarantine.