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Shoppers waiting until midnight to get delivery slots as supermarkets can’t cope

PUBLISHED: 14:35 17 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:40 17 April 2020

A delivery from Morrisons; a welcome sight if you can get a delivery booked. Pic: Morrisons

A delivery from Morrisons; a welcome sight if you can get a delivery booked. Pic: Morrisons

Shoppers in Norfolk are still struggling to get hold of essentials as supermarkets battle to cope with extra demand due to coronavirus.

It comes as some stores are almost doubling the number of home delivery and click and collect slots, recruiting extra drivers and packers.

But the stores admit it is still not enough.

And in a desperate bid to get a slot people are waiting up until midnight when many of the supermarkets add extra availability – at a premium surcharge of up to £7. You then have to complete your shopping by 2am otherwise you lose the slot.

Others are forced to venture out to supermarkets and stand in orderly but snaking queues due to social distancing.

A queue for Morrisons during the Coronavirus lockdown in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA queue for Morrisons during the Coronavirus lockdown in Dereham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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People voiced their frustration at the stressful process online in community forums. One shopper living in Aylsham posted on the site Nextdoor: “Had a phone message to say I can have a weekly online delivery due to NHS shielding registration ... I can’t find any slots at all up to May 3.” Another user, also from Aylsham, posted: “I had to stay up and join the rush for the midnight release of slots as now all the vulnerable slots are booked up three weeks ahead.”

Local authorities are helping out with running errands such as shopping and prescription collection for those who have registered on the government website but the system has a backlog.

At 8am this newspaper tried to book a home delivery or click and collect slot:

• Morrisons – There was an estimated wait time in an online queue of 17 minutes with 15,205 users ahead just to access the site.

• Waitrose – No delivery or click and collect slots were showing any time in the future at North Walsham.

No delivery slots or click and collect at Waitrose. Pic: ArchantNo delivery slots or click and collect at Waitrose. Pic: Archant

• Asda – There were just two home delivery slots on Tuesday April 28, costing £4, and no click and collects showing up until April 29.

• Sainsbury’s – The store in North Walsham was showing nothing available.

New apps are now available such as ‘Check-In’ which shows you how long the queue is at your nearest supermarket and whether they are running out of essentials.

Dave Lewis, chief executive at Tesco, said: “Through a series of measures including more drivers, pickers and vans, we’ll expand the number of slots available each week; but this still isn’t enough to meet the demand.”

Two £4 delivery slots at Asda. Pic: ArchantTwo £4 delivery slots at Asda. Pic: Archant

A spokeswoman at Asda said: “We’re doing all we can and would continue to urge customers who are able to visit shops to think of how they can support others in their community and if they can shop for them.”

For more updates on coronavirus in Norfolk see the Facebook page here

Tesco slots available but at the highest surchage price. Pic: ArchantTesco slots available but at the highest surchage price. Pic: Archant

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