Shopping for Coronavirus Lockdown


Nope, that was not what I saw when I walked into Sainsbury’s yesterday evening. Matter of fact, there were only 2 banana’s left on the shelf and I grabbed them both!

I had been out and about the week before last and everything felt quite normal. I haven’t bought or worn masks or gloves but I’ve made sure not to touch the railings or the seats at the bus stops and on the bus, press the stop button with my elbow, and wait till the bus comes to a complete stop before getting off. This way, I don’t need to touch or hold onto anything to maintain my balance. I went to work as I normally would, used the hand sanitizer regularly and avoided close interaction with people. Finally, I made an effort to avoid saliva on the sidewalks. Yes, people here seem to spit and vomit quite often in public and there is no sand to cover it up like we traditionally do back home. I would hate to drag this virus home with me under my shoes. These are not recommendations, just what I do when I have to go out.

A few of my work shifts and all my school training scheduled for the next few weeks have been canceled but the panic didn’t really hit me until I spotted the empty shelves in the grocery store. That’s when I realized that the news is not exaggerating. The moment felt like… I Am Legend, meets the Zombieland and an apocalypse was imminent. Not a single loaf of bread was on the shelf. A few bread buns (packs of 4 and 6) had been freshly made and available but were being rationed at the till to no more than 2 packs per person. The lady taking away my 2 extra packs of bread drove the gravity of things home for me.

Empty shelves in Sainsbury's grocery
Empty shelves in Sainsbury’s grocery

What I’ve Bought
Fruits: Bananas, apples, grapes, blueberries and pears
Grains: Rice, Pasta, Lentils, Couscous. I’ve still got beans, muesli and granola, and Biscuits for study because sometimes, the brain cannot really work if the mouth isn’t moving. Know what I mean?
Canned Food: Tuna and Corned beef
Frozen Food: Bread, Chicken, Lamb legs, vegetables, yam, sausages and shrimps. I got a tub of ice-cream too… because I really don have sense.
Essentials: Toothpaste, washing up liquid for clothes and dishes, baby wipes, trash bags, bleach and duct tape, some of which I’d have gotten lockdown or not.
Others: I’ve still got Indomie noodles and Golden Morn from my parents’ last visit

Yes, I got toilet tissue a week before the stock out. I haven’t got that many but the ibo in me might consider selling a few rolls seeing how it is the new gold. Well, if my supply runs out, I’m happy to just use water… which is gentle and most preferable to be honest. But this England, the water is so cold, your butt and fanny are just about frozen by the time you are done washing up. No, I will not be turning on my heater. Those bills are killing me already. Frozen-gina is what it might eventually come to.

Fruit bowl
Fruit bowl

What I Forgot to Buy
Dettol wipes: Although I still have some from when I moved into this flat in October, it would have been helpful to get a few more
Tomato puree:  Because as a Nigerian, one can’t have too much tomato puree. Stew is an essential and is absolutely necessary for rice, yam, beans, and relationships. Stew on everything.
Medication: Just multivitamins and pain relievers. Thankfully, Amazon Prime is a thing and will be delivering these in a few hours.

What I can’t Afford to Buy
Protection: No, not condoms. I was thinking of guns, machetes and alcohol for cocktail bombs. Ok, chill, I’m just kidding🤣. My point is, I’ve watched enough horror movies and series like Walking Dead and video games to know that if things get worse, law and order could breakdown and self-defense will be all that matters. All this food and essentials would be gone if I couldn’t defend it somehow. But, my imagination is running wild here. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

On #stopstockpiling
There’s a lot of anger online about stockpiling which doesn’t make sense to me if I am honest. If you ask people to #StayHomeSaveLives, they need things to stay home with for the prolonged period; food and supplies. Otherwise, they will have to come out on a regular basis to by food and risk the possibility of getting infected.

I do feel sorry for the medical personnel who are upset by the empty shelves but they should be holding food companies responsible not shoppers. The companies and Boris said there is enough food. Well then, where is it?

Shaming and name-calling people who have stockpiled supplies is petty and the perspective that the shortage of food on shelves is primarily driven by people’s greed is flawed and shows the willingness of people to think the worst of others. It is simply a result of an increase in demand and insufficient supply. Even if people bought only one item each, there will still be a shortage because everyone is shopping at the same time because everyone has to lockdown at the same time.

In addition, this situation is unprecedented and the government has said they don’t know how long this will last. Following this, there are no reliable estimates regarding when normalcy will return. Following this, there is simply no basis to evaluate excess or insufficient shopping, or stockpiling for that matter. As someone who lived through the Kaduna Riot in the 90’s, I will tell you it is better to err on the side of caution: Get what you need in the quantity you believe you need them.

Summarily, getting ready for the lockdown hasn’t been too difficult or challenging because I’ve always had a habit of bulk shopping when I get a paycheck. I think bulk shopping saves costs on at least transportation. In addition, I’m feeding just me so bulk shopping isn’t really expensive. I can imagine that regular shopping for a family of 5 would cost perhaps 4 times more than I have had to spend. I have been slowly shopping for the past 3 weeks and so I can say I’ve got enough supplies to keep me for the next 4  months…even though being locked down with food is rough. I have probably eaten up 3 months’ worth of the food in the past one week🙈.

Are you on lockdown too? What are you stocking up on? Any essentials I left out?
Please let me know in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading and stay safe!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Thank you for this great post! It was very interesting to hear your thoughts in this difficult period. I have recently published an article on my blog about lockdown in Australia and also how we can utilise this new time. If you have time, it would be great if you could check it out and let me know your thoughts! Thanks 🙂


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