Sutton-in-Ashfield comedian says common sense is the first thing that runs out when people start panic buying

I always knew, if anything bad happened to the world, like a zombie apocalypse or computers turn on us, I’d walk to the big Asda near my former primary school, like the guy in The War of the Worlds and live off all of the things in there, writes Steve N Allen.

By Steve Eyley
Monday, 16th March 2020, 7:00 am
Steve N Allen says common sense goes out of the window when panic buying sets in.
Steve N Allen says common sense goes out of the window when panic buying sets in.

I now realise my plan was flawed.

Our supermarkets are the first things to get emptied when panic happens.

Panic buying tells us a lot about our priorities.

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When we were told there was a spread of a respiratory disease the first thing we had a run on was toilet roll.

It shows it’s the one thing we really don’t want to live without.

Anyone who didn’t list loo roll as the thing they’d take with them on Desert Island Discs was clearly lying.

At first I thought this was because people had taken the advice about hand washing but I have a terrible feeling it’s because the one thing you need when you no longer have toilet roll is soap.

Why didn’t people have soap in the house already?

How many people weren’t washing their hands at all before they were told to by Matt Hancock?

I have also seen photographs on Twitter of some supermarkets stripped bare of biscuits.

I understand that.

If there is a chance I may be forced to self-isolate at home for two weeks I will go willingly as long as I have plenty of biscuits in.

There’s a serious side to panic buying. It shows that we are losing a sense of community.

Panic buying is selfish, it's 'me first' regardless of need.

In America there were cases of people stockpiling the face masks, which experts say don’t really help you avoiding catching COVID-19, but that meant there were none available for the medial staff who needed to wear them.

If you have enough toilet roll and soap to see you through, but you want to make sure you buy all you can get, you’re leaving others with none.

People with cash to spare and big cars can gets mountains of bathroom products.

The people who have to live from hand-to-mouth (well, not mouth in this case, but you get the point) will be left with none.

We’ll end up in a different HG Wells story.

In The Time Machine, society has broken down into two groups.

We could end up with those with toilet roll and those without.

And that’s an uprising that will be messy.

So don’t panic buy, the worst thing we could run out of now is common sense.

Steve N Allen is a comedian and broadcaster who was raised in Sutton-in-Ashfield.