September 24, 2020

Coronavirus: What’s behind the great toilet roll grab?

“I didn’t want to overbuy as I didn’t want to be a part of the problem. So I placed an online order on Amazon for 30 rolls for £18 – I thought that would definitely cover her for three months.”

Josh, a 25-year-old carer from Nottingham, is one of the many UK shoppers who have been trying to get their hands on a highly sought-after commodity: toilet paper.

He looks after his mum, a disabled cancer patient, and has been trying to make sure that she has enough supplies to last for 12 weeks – the amount of time people most at risk of coronavirus have been told to stay at home.

But Josh’s delivery never came. He says it was listed as out for delivery by Hermes on several different days, but eventually it just disappeared from the portal. Josh believes it was stolen.

He says that he was offered a full refund for the purchase, but found the whole situation frustrating: “Panic buying just instigates panic buying, and we need to make sure that there’s enough to go round for people like my mum.”

Hermes told the BBC that it doesn’t receive any information on what is inside the parcels it delivers, and that nearly all of its deliveries are successful.


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