“The pressure has never been so bad; we’re constantly busy”: How supermarkets are struggling to cope with COVID-19 demand

Amid the current COVID-19 crisis, more shoppers than ever are panic buying items and leaving supermarket shelves bare and empty.

As well as having an impact on customers, this is also having a detrimental effect on those who work in supermarkets.

Amy Chappell, 29, who works in a Morrisons supermarket in Ilkeston, spoke to us about how shops are struggling to cope with demand.

“The pressure on us is so bad, we’re constantly busy and we don’t have the staff or the hours to cope,” she said.

“People are queuing up at 6:30am to be let in at 7am, and rushing in like we’re going to shut in ten minutes.”

“They’re buying mutlipacks of handwash and toilet roll, and then coming back two days later for more,” she added.

Amy also explained how she believes that panic buying is psychological for the majority of people.

“I think it’s psychological – it’s like Christmas; we buy too much and then food just runs out,” she told us.

However the worst part of this experience for Amy is being on the receiving end of verbal abuse from customers.

“We’ve been verbally abused constantly like it’s our fault we don’t have the stock,” she said.

“People say things like ‘I bet you get your shopping’, but we don’t have time to.

“Our HR (human resources) department have been amazing though, we are all working together so we can pull through,” Amy added.

“Any medical issues that puts us at risk, we’re sending staff home with full pay, and anyone who is pregnant is off for 12 weeks with full pay.

“People should only be buying what they need, otherwise everything will run out and shelves will be empty.”

By Faith Pring

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