Shelves stripped bare at supermarkets despite plea to buy responsibly

Stripped bare

The message to buy responsibly and make sure there are enough supplies for all obviously isn’t reaching everyone.

These photos taken by Frank Leppard in Tesco Westwood today (March 16) show shelves stripped bare of goods such as toilet rolls, fruit, veg, beans and pasta.

The same situation is true for other isle supermarkets.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Retailers call on their customers to support one another during this challenging time. Speaking on behalf of the retailers, Helen Dickinson, OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers are working incredibly hard to keep shops well stocked and deliveries running as smoothly as possible. In the face of unprecedented demand as a result of coronavirus, food retailers have come together to ask their customers to support each other to make sure everyone can get access to the products they need.”

Community pulling together

In light of the panic buying many in the Thanet community are pulling together to make sure help is offered to those who may have to self-isolate due to the coronvirus.

Numerous facebook pages, including New Thanet Chat, have posts advising those in self isolation who have a request for help with shopping or other errands to let the community know so arrangements can be made.

The Broadstairs facebook page has a pinned post where people can ask for help. Dozens of people have posted to the page to offer their services.

Find the post here

A Kent Covid 19 Mutual Aid help group can be found here

Thanet Community Transport already provides a shopping service for anyone who is unable to get out. All staff are CRB/DBS checked. They are happy to help anyone who needs shopping in the current situation. Please  call on 01843 602030.

Lewis Pindar, 29, from ramsgate, has bought toilet rolls, pasta  and washing up liquid and is asking for help to get supplies such as water, tinned and dry food, hygiene products, pet food and antibacterial wipes or spray so he can distribute them to older residents.

He said: “I’m doing it because there’s a lot of vulnerable people who can’t get out to get the essential bits they need, especially those who are the most vulnerable to the virus itself so they can’t even go out for fear of contracting the virus.

“I’ve seen so many old people out today and they can’t buy anything. It’s upset me. Sometimes it just takes one person to take charge to start a movement to help people and others jump on and make it happen.

“I can’t do it by myself, I’m not well off or anything, so every little helps. It’s just about getting these bits to people who need them. I haven’t enough for a lot yet, I’ve put all I can in, but I’ve got other people now donating bits to me which is good.”

To donate items or let Lewis know about someone in need email him on [email protected]

Help groups

New help groups offering aid to those affected by the coronavirus outbreak are springing up on facebook -including one for Thanet and another for Kent.

Thanet Coronavirus Assistance and Kent Covid-19 Mutual Aid aim to collate information and to offer help with shopping/deliveries and other assistance.

Pinned posts offering help are also in facebook groups including Broadstairs and New Thanet Chat.


Food Warehouse at Westwood Retail Park will open an hour earlier at 7am on Tuesday (March 17)  with the first hour of shopping for pensioners only.

Store manager Casey Abbott, who made the decision, said: “This is only for OAPs and it will be at my discretion for them to come in. This will give them the chance to shop peacefully for one hour.”

J Prentis Westgate grocers is also offering ‘contactless delivery’. You can call, text or email they will put your order together and deliver it free of charge. Call 01843 834934.

National data

As of 9am on 16 March 2020, 44,105 people have been tested in the UK, of which 42,562 were confirmed negative and 1,543 were confirmed as positive.

55 people are confirmed to have died from the disease. In Kent 12 people are confirmed to have the virus with a further two in Medway. Confirmed cases in Thanet include one at Birchington Vale, another in Westgate, and a parent of a Chatham & Clarendon grammar student.

Daily updates: Impact of coronavirus on Thanet businesses, events, groups and schools


  1. The supermarkets should limit the number of items that are restricted. It’s no good leaving it to the shoppers to shop sensibly they are thick and selfish and could not care less about anyone other than themselves.

    • For once, I agree with Ann.
      I think it’s a shame that supermarket managers didn’t impose limits as soon as it was obvious that some people were being utterly selfish.

    • Anti-bacterial hand gels are useless against viruses! In the case of essential household item being in short supply there may be a good reason! I have no proof of this, but local hearsay is that the reason why shelves in supermarkets are being stripped of essentials, including toilet paper, is because its being re-sold on Ebay and social media! This means the war time and later Black Market has resurfaced! If this is the case its time the Tory government stepped in and made it an offence to re-sell household goods bought in a supermarket. My local ASDA tell me they are re-stocking the toilet roll shelves twice a day, so it seems this may be true!

      • Take a look in some of the small convenience shops and you will understand why the shelves have been stripped of any cleaning items. Along with people panic buying and hoarding, those essentials are being sold on at inflated prices through profiteering and greed. Whilst we have good samaritans taking up roles in helping others along with volunteers we also have the greed to deal with.

  2. I agree with Ann people today only think of themselves there is some good people about who shop sensibly.I went into Morrisons in Margate people were buying more than they need they should limit what shoppers buy that should be the same with Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose,Co-op,Aldi and Lidl.

    • Yes – good point – perhaps its the excessive consumption of pasta that is causing the virus to spread ?

  3. I believe if you are in self isolation if you have other health issues I understand the stores c ant stop people buying but should li it how many of each are allowed but more so those that cannot shop that do it online its frustrating thing when they cannot even go in your basket.Can stores not keep some supplies for those that do it need to chop on line so that everyone gets a chance

  4. All very well saying don’t panicbut today I have seen a member of staff at Track walking home front work struggling with two or three huge packs of toilet roll sounds like one rule for one one rule for another

  5. food warehouse this morning opened early for pensioners to shop quietly HA HA got there at 6.50 and the car park was very busy and people were lined up outside , so much for quiet shopping, went home as cannot shop with crowds of people, how many were really shopping for pensioners? people are so selfish

    • There should be an age check during this hour, and people younger than 70 should be told to return when shoppers aged over 70 have all left.

  6. Please don’t mock those who are bulk buying toilet rolls. They can’t help it. They are, after all,a bunch of arseholes.

  7. So the shops opening early for the pensioners and disabled haven’t been able to restock their shelves so what a waste of effort it has been for many of these vulnerable groups not getting anything they need.
    I don’t understand why there are shortages and shelves are not being stocked. We keep getting told there is plenty for everyone but that is not so when you try and shop.

  8. I want into Morrisons Margate again today as I shop daily for what I need on a day to day basis, shelves were being cleared once again the selfish brigade were still going out with trolley loads including loads of toilet rolls at the checkouts there was no sign of staff monitoring what people buy including self service. Is the company or store manager putting profit before people.

Comments are closed.