I reported last week that the supermarkets had started rationing goods and opening for those over 70 only for the first hour. That was the theory. Several people reported to me that the scheme hadn’t quite gone to plan.
‘The so called special hour for elderly and vulnerable people in Sainsburys was APPALLING’ said one, who wishes to remain anonymous.
‘The few elderly there wandering aimlessly with empty trollies while hundreds of mostly young people trashed the place. I was of course one of the elderly but more incensed than disconsolate! I arrived at Sainsbury’s in Chiswick at 7:15 AM, to find the car park completely full with barriers generously open, and the whole store heaving with people of every age, mainly young.
Over half the store had already been plundered as clean as the vulture-picked bones of an antelope on the plains of the Serengeti. The queues for the tills already stretched to the back of the store, consisting of people with trolleys crammed full, hardly any of whom appeared to qualify by the age criterion.
‘A relatively small number of elderly people, some of whom did appear quite frail, wandered the store, pushing empty trolleys, and looking like the souls of the dead thronging the banks of the river Styx, longing for oblivion. I neither saw nor heard of any indication that the management of the store either knew or cared about the ‘first hour’ promise.
Certainly there were no signs, and as far as I know no attempt by staff to protect the elderly and vulnerable. Neither did I see any sign of customers being limited in terms of the number of items purchased. Even a dedicated queue for us would have helped, as standing in a queue for over an hour is bound to tax the resilience of even the toughest pensioner.
‘I have to say I saw no examples of bad behaviour or micro-aggression, but the whole situation was entirely unacceptable and Sainsbury’s should be ashamed of themselves’.
The store in Essex Place has apologised to elderly customers. They were overwhelmed by the demand, which has been unprecedented, and say they have now taken on more staff.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: No shopping except for basic necessities