People who want to profit from coronavirus are just idiots

Have you seen people going crazy in your local supermarket?

Have you seen people going crazy in your local supermarket? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

So much great human spirit has been in evidence over the last week, but Rachel Moore says, there are still plenty of idiots about

When a mother is pleading on social media for a tin of baby milk because she can’t find one for love nor money in her local shops, and up the road someone is preparing to charge her three times the price for it, faith in human nature wilts.

When three people – mother, father and teenage son – are pretending not to know each other in a small village shop and filling separate baskets with the same products to load into the same car, your heart sinks.

Faith and hope are what keeps us going, but scrolling through my social media feeds this morning, it was hard with the best and worst of people was laid bare.

A mother of a baby was indeed begging for someone to sell her milk powder for her baby.

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A grandmother was pleading for someone to sell her daughter a pack of nappies for her grand daughter.

A man in Lowestoft was kindly offering a pack of four supermarket own-brand loo rolls for anyone in need. He wanted to share in times of shortage not profit.

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A woman told how she had seen vans being loaded with essentials in supermarket car parks by people clearly preparing to create their own black-market businesses. Entrepreneurial yet wicked. Making money out of others’ anxieties.

A health care worker told the story of visiting six supermarkets for basics after her hospital shift but came home with none of the items she needed.

People were queuing before 6am outside supermarkets to grab what they could, however they could – from other people’s hands if need be.

Meanwhile, people suffering from symptoms of coronavirus – raging temperatures, sore throat headaches – had no paracetamol because greedy other people had raided the shelves for just in case.

Supermarket workers are being expected to become enforcement officers rationing greedy shoppers to no more than four items of the same product, presumably keeping an eye out to the crafty families of four working together to take home 16.

Communities were gathering support for networks to help those who can’t get out, to ensure people in isolation don’t feel cut off any more than they should and get what they need by small taskforces.

People wanting to help, people wanting to hinder and those who just want to think about themselves. The ‘ring the bell, conductor, I’m on the bus people.’ People for whom the words sharing and consideration of other people aren’t in their vocabulary.

Last weekend, no one could have envisaged the rapid escalation to what now feels like the cusp of an apocalypse. Now the idea of civic unrest and people fighting for basics isn’t a fantasy.

This column was to remain a coronavirus Covid-19-free zone. A light relief. There is none.

Well, perhaps if those self-centred idiots who emptied shops of loo roll, hand sanitiser, meat, soap with more than they’d ever need, thought again and made up care packages for the elderly, who are afraid and feel isolated, who can’t get out and leave it on their doorstep.

When people want to profit from a killer disease, a society needs to take a look at itself.

In the meantime, self-isolation isn’t a tangible option for some people – usually women – in the ‘sandwich generation’ running themselves ragged making sure elderly parents are safe, stocked up and healthy for three months’ isolation, while setting themselves up for homeworking worried sick how long they can pay their bills for and work for their business will last, and dealing with school age children who need to get the mixed messages about social distancing but are still going to school, if their school is open.

Worse still, their children are at home in self-isolation and they are trying to home school them between making conference calls for work and making sure their parents have hot meals, soap and loo roll, left in care packages on the front doorstep.

Watching colleagues frazzled with small children and elderly parents with chronic conditions keeping all plates spinning hits home. And the dog still needs walking too.

For them – and everyone – Mothering Sunday will take on a whole new meaning this year when mothers everywhere will be making even more things happen like magic for everyone else so life in Regime Virus is bearable and manageable.

I think of the pubs, restaurants, cafes and independent businesses that could be obliterated by the virus and admire the spirit and diversification some of them are showing.

Our favourite Blue Joanna bar and restaurant in Norwich is now delivering its delicious food to the self-isolated.

Another café is delivering its afternoon teas, bringing a bit of pleasure to the locked away.

Small independents are thinking on their feet – while they are still on their feet – to survive by doing different and we can help them do that from our sofas and living rooms, keeping their cash flowing until we go out of our front doors again.

Norfolk and Suffolk are full of small independent businesses. Help them through this time by thinking of them first when you need to spend.

This is the entrepreneurial spirit we want to support and make sure the altruistically resourceful come out on top over the miserable, cheating, greedy selfish.

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