Sunday, 20 January 2013
We were forecast to have snow on Friday. Not a vast amount of it - the most that was forecast for here was just a few inches. Since the County Council got caught out when it snowed in December, and all the roads locally gridlocked because nowhere had been gritted, they've been out almost every night spreading salt, so there was no real likelihood of the main roads becoming impassable. MrEH went off to work as usual in the morning, and I pottered about doing odds and ends - emptying the dishwasher, sorting out some laundry, and doing a bit of washing up, before heading out - as I usually do on a Friday morning - to get our weeks shopping in. I went via the Charity Shop to drop off a couple of "bags o' stuff" from Project Spare Room, and it was business as normal with the exception of a bit of road-salt scattered around the front door, and from there I headed over to that large supermarket beginning with a T.
The first surprise was that it was quite difficult to find a parking space. Not only on my usual side of the car park, but on the other - further away from the store side - too, which is usually almost empty that time on a Friday morning. Curious. On entering the store though, it all became clear. At least four times as many people as usual, all piling their trollies high with bread, fruit & veg, milk & meat...quite honestly it gave the impression that war had just been declared and rationing was imminent, rather than, as was actually happening, a few flakes of snow were falling. Yes, panic buying was in full flow! Now, bear in mind if you will, that in this town we have 6 large Supermarkets, plus countless smaller ones. Every area of housing has a central area of shops with a convenience store of some description, in short, I would have my doubts that anybody living within the town itself is, at any given time, more than a mile at the very most from the means of acquiring for themselves the means to make a cup of tea, an omelette, or a slice of toast.
A comment from a friend later on that evening started me thinking - she mentioned that it had struck her how different the ethos of stockpiling is to the panic buying that a lot of us have witnessed due to the winter weather. Many of us in Frugal-Blogland are familiar with the concept of Stockpiling, or keeping a storecupboard - bulk buying particular items, usually dried or tinned goods, when prices are low, to save money on future food purchases. Of course it also has the advantage of meaning that if, for any reason, we are unable to get to the shops easily, we can also feed ourselves and our families for some time without too many issues. My shopping list on Friday consisted of milk for both of us (had I not been able to get out I had UHT in the cupboard), fruit (we had apples in but no citrus fruit), veg (again, had I not been able to get out I have frozen veg in) and potatoes (for which I could happily have substituted couscous, pasta or rice, all of which I have in abundance). I also picked up some sliced haslet and some pate for our lunches. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing in vast quantity, and more importantly nothing which will, in a week from now, be on its way to landfill as it has not been eaten. The breadmaker spent the evening whirring away to produce a fruit loaf for our breakfasts over the weekend, and even if we were to get snowed in for a week, we would be in no great danger of starvation!
How much snow did you get? Did it mean you had to change your plans, or did you see others around you doing so, and wonder why?