The Soap Rush And the Toilet Roll Bubble

While the UK had kept mysteriously going about the usual routines until just about the end of last week, the signs were there1 and it was clear that it will all give in - possibly more intensely too, once started - soon enough, most probably by the end of this week.

And the signs didn't lie, it's starting indeed, the schools will close from Monday2, most things are shutting, the people are... how to put this, calmly panicking, ok? I know it may sound like a dubious combination to you but I assure you that it's how it's done - it's not yet to the point where one may be so beside themselves as to forget about the utter impossibility of being... rude even for panic reasons so there you go, the only thing left is to panic calmly and politely essentially. Anyways, people therefore started politely panicking since last weekend already: people crowded at the supermarkets and in their wake the shelves started to remain rather empty.

The progression as to *which* parts of which shelves remained empty was quite interesting to note: soap and toilet roll were first to vanish - I get why the soap3, given that it was the only "remedy" recommended with all the insistence of having nothing else to say on the matter but I don't know if I missed some "shit more" additional recommendation or what exactly happened there. Alternatively, there's of course the good old explanation that "shitty times are coming indeed" so it's possibly *that* the reason & reasoning behind the run for the toilet roll4, granted; apparently UHT milk was next; then the horrible sliced stuff in plastic that pretends to be bread and most pasta (though NOT the "wholewheat" one, ok? stockpiling is one thing but eating wholewheat pasta is apparently still not yet fine); then (possibly since no pasta anymore?), there was a shift to more basics: flour, sugar, closing in on some oil, eggs. Somewhere on the road, most fresh vegetables started being rather scarce too. I have no idea how does one stockpile on fresh vegetables or what exactly happened there.

In any case, apparently the "schools are closing" announcement was interpreted as another call to occupy all supermarkets so this morning -since people asked me, all concerned- I took a stroll with my camera in hand and looked at shelves I never cared about before. They attracted my attention this time for being on their way to emptiness and so the occasion served to improve my knowledge of local supermarket stuff - I know now that there exists a thing called "fridge pot" and it's apparently in such high demand that it's now restricted to "3 per customer" for being an essential item5. Your guess is as good - most probably better than- mine, as to what that contains:

The pastry corner is doing ok though and apparently people would still eat bread rather than croissants and pretzels (cakes were still available too, though I did not take pictures as the aisle was choked full by people aiming for all sorts of packaged "biscuits" and I really did not want to fight my way through that just to take a picture of ugly packaged "cakes"):

In other bare necessities - or possibly that's *why* the toilet roll, huh - the bottom shelves in the cider, beer, lagers and assorted somethings-in-a-bottle was indeed empty at ~9am already:

To complement the above pictures, the BBC helpfully provided this evening the reassuring information that indeed, we are headed for that which we have known before - or at least I have known, that paragon of efficiency and cooperation, the one or less of everything. There's of course a very rational and perfectly valid explanation, here you are, for future reference, this is how it reads in the beginning: "it makes no sense to pause to change packet sizes or change from one type of pasta to another. We have 20 different sizes and styles of pasta, we are moving that to six."6

Anyways, on the rainy day side, since I had the camera anyway, I remembered how I wanted pictures that don't exist of places that I used to live in, and so I just took photos of houses, streets, parks and trees, not like there isn't space on my blog for those too - and at least for now the grass is green, magnolia trees are flowering and spring is still coming, we are all fine - for now, as always - thank you nevertheless for asking. To end this report, here are some photos from my walk around this side of Reading, UK:

  1. The "economic measures" make for the rather predictable read, not like there was anything else they would likely come up with, clearly. 

  2. Informing the child that he'll have therefore to do some "school" with me at home was met with extreme enthusiasm: "YES! Way more interesting! They are BORING there!" So I said simply "all right, you'll need some more notebooks though." What *else* can I say to that now? I do hope I won't end up having kids around too and a proper class occasionally if I'll add this to the list now; seriously. 

  3. Though do note that soap bars were rather disdained throughout all this and so at least some of them still remained on shelves despite the general search-for-soap that went on quietly otherwise. 

  4. Come to think of it, here's a marked downside of the electronic form of the "printed word" but then again, they with the junk mail do their best -as unacknowledged as they are for their effort- to supply perhaps a possible alternative. I wonder if the usual stickers on most doors reading currently "no junk mail here" might change at some point to "all junk mail here, PLEASE", huh. 

  5. Or possibly the sign's for the fish cans, I guess. At any rate, funny how I lived undisturbed until now without ever wanting this and surely other similarly essential items 

  6. There IS the fact that all the spurious "different types" were just different packagings, so in that sense there's absolutely no loss yet whatsoever. But do tell me where and when have you ever seen a pendulum that swings like that only half-way, once started. 

4 Responses to “The Soap Rush And the Toilet Roll Bubble”

  1. While the UK had kept mysteriously going about the usual routines until just about the end of last week, the signs were there1 and it was clear that it will all give in - possibly more intensely too, once started - soon enough, most probably by the end of this week.

    I find it funny how ~everywhere seems to have "folded inward" at the same time. Here, too, there were signs weeks leading up to it, with "close everything" going into effect ~Tuesday.

    I have no idea how does one stockpile on fresh vegetables or what exactly happened there.

    You know, I kinda live like a hermit these days. I don't have cable nor really check the "standard" media outlets often. There's this girl I've been talking to who lives in another chunk of the country (a good distance from me) and last week she recants this tale about how she's worried about this or that related to stuff closing. At the time I had no idea what she was talking about. Toilet paper, I remember specifically, she said was impossible to find. I said that it must just be her area but she assured me that "no, it is everywhere". I was a tad skeptical still but took her word for it at the time.

    It wasn't until a few days later that I actually ventured out to the store mainly just to see wtf she was talking about and holy shit: no toilet paper at all, no bread, and no bottled water. However, there was plenty of *non-perishable food* such as soups and pasta almost untouched. I dunno if this store was just smart in ordering product or what, but I found that a little amusing.

    the people are... how to put this, calmly panicking, ok?

    And yeah, later on in the week I decide to get a haircut (good thing I did, because they closed the next day lol) and so I evesdrop on the barbers and customers. This one dude's calmly talking about how he's been stocking up on ammunition 'just in case', so he's 'all set'. I'm still not sure exactly what post-apocalyptic Mad Max fantasy was running through that guy's head but it was lulzy nonetheless.

    On the other side of the coin you have the 'self quarantine' people. These people are essentially the voting base for various the Pantsuited parties; the argument being the same one as usual: "It is your responsibility to help those you have never met before in your life, even if it means putting yourself in indefinite stasis".

    Interesting times. I can see now: if it weren't for this "pandemic" it would have been any number of other things. The socialist flavor of today has bred a quasi-culture of people willing to perform self-administered castration at a moment's notice. Move over, human activity, somebody might get hurt..

  2. Diana Coman says:

    Not only willing but positively *asking* for it, mainly because ~anything else is "too much" and scary and all that. They also have a point in that the pressure of incomprehension (empty words and artificial "experience" can't do anything other than that) is huge by now and only adds up as time passes so anxiety shoots through the roof, no wonder.

  3. Howdy folks!

    Like you say, the situation is lulzy. I sit here on this perch which allows me clear enough view of the airport 30 or so miles away, I could definitely Democratic-Republic-of-Ukraine some airplanes if I felt like it. For years it's been about two to three an hour taking off, tiny specs in the distance ; but so far today there's been none. Yesterday maybe one or two. I'm left without targets.

    On the other hand, swallows are aggressively moving in, all sorts of walls that even as recently as two weeks ago seemed much too pululated for their interest now appear through swallow eyes rather acceptable. No longer this elegant flier's relegated to large dams and inaccessible karstic peaks -- about half of the places formerly known as "towns" appear rather suited!

    So we've traded planes for swallows, and well... I dunno, I've yet to see a shortage of the things I actually buy. Maybe it's coming, though honestly I somewhat doubt it.

    There'll be doubtless a glut of

    "Prendila. Prendi la bambina, non deve finire come me. Lei deve riuscirci.|Io una volta ci provai a Palermo. Giravano un film di pirati. Ero giovane, mi presero. Ma non feci mai una scena. Solo cazzi vidi! Ma non come il tuo. Non come il tuo, il tuo è bello. Cosa dovevo fare? La gente parlava. Scappai qui da uno zio che mi toccava da quando ero piccola. Che schifo! Però mi trovò marito."
    "Zitta, troia! Girati!"
    "Sì, come vuoi tu. Sfondami! Sfondami! Ma prendi la mia bambina, prendila! Te la faccio sverginare!"

    young daughters and other "personal" possessions on the market the coming months though. With the ending of the pantsuit mimmiceconomy, it's unavoidable. The Chinese will definitely want to be paid for future deliveries going forward.

    What can you do...

  4. Diana Coman says:

    Well, I just heard this morning from Panama that they halt *all* flights from this Sunday so possibly CR is ahead and already grounded all.

    At any rate, from my point of view it looks pretty much like that - a trade of planes for swallows, of crowded for empty streets and so on. And to add concrete to the lulzy thing - ~all the kid's group activities (tennis, swimming) have also sent over the past few days messages that they have to shut down; today they sent the next batch of messages and those ~all read along the lines that they are now offering instead private (or max 2-3 children) lessons. So I'm sitting here reading through them and... well, having to draw up a new schedule, sure.

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