‘Jerks, drongos and bloody idiots’

“It is unAustralian. It is ridiculous. It must stop.”

Those were the words from a furious Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he demanded that all Australians adopt a common-sense approach to the purchase of essential items as supermarket shelves continue to be stripped bare.

His sentiments have been echoed across the country with West Australian Premier Mark McGowan slamming panic buyers and labelling them “jerks, drongos and bloody idiots”.

“Stop hoarding,” Mr Morrison said. “I can’t be more blunt about it. Stop it. It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.

“That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing.”

He also decried the numerous reports of customers abusing staff at supermarkets and other shops.

“Do not abuse staff. We’re all in this together. People are doing their jobs. They’re doing their best. Whether they’re at a testing clinic this morning. Whether they’re at a shopping centre. Whether they’re at a bank, a train station, everybody is doing their best. So let’s just support each other in the work that they are doing.”

Talkback radio has even been notified of vulnerable Australians behaving badly at their dedicated ‘pensioner hour’ at supermarkets from 7am to 8am.

In addition to essential items such as pasta, rice and flour, toilet paper, tissues and hand sanitiser now being subject to restrictions, the meat sections at supermarkets and suburban butchers are also reporting panic buying. And store owners in some rural towns are reporting an influx of city shoppers stripping their shelves.

Aldi is now joining Coles and Woolworths to curb panic buyers and is restricting purchases to a range of items, including toilet paper and long-life dry foods like pasta and rice.

Aldi Australia CEO Tom Daunt has echoed calls for calm and for consideration for staff who are working under extreme pressure.

“All Australians deserve access to groceries and we are working extremely hard to deliver on this promise,” he said in a press release.

“We know many of you are worried about the spread of coronavirus and your ability to access fresh food, hygiene products and essential items. We want to let you know that there is more than enough food to go around; we just need your patience and support.”

YourLifeChoices members have been having their say on shopping restrictions and the ‘pensioner hour’, which Woolworths conceded “wasn’t perfect” on day one.

Nomad51 said: Great idea, BUT the shelves are empty. What’s plan B?

mudGecko: Plan B: Keep calm and carry on. Remind your children that you were required to go to war, not to go home and sit on the couch.

tango18: Good idea, but unfortunately I am not even fully ‘human’ until about 9.30am when my medications kick in … Brownie points for the intention, but the timing is not good for most elderly or disabled people.

Turtle: Went shopping at 7am, shelves still empty, met the manager who asked how the experience was, said it would be good if there was products on the shelves. Reply was can’t help that. Went back at 10am to find some of the shelves restocked. Guess it was nice to think of us oldies.

Ozirules: It’s pot luck what you will find whatever time you shop as the times for restocking shelves vary. I’m an active retiree and have visited the supermarket at different times for a week and still can’t get essentials. Unless more drastic measures are brought in, the dog-eat-dog mentality will continue.

DreamOn: I am SO FURIOUS at those low-lifes who have commandeered so much of the available stock, touring around different shops, even travelling to rural centres as well, and now even selling it on eBay at double or triple the price. Our society has sunk very low indeed!

Are you perplexed and disappointed by the panic buying? What stricter measures could be introduced to curb the problem?

If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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Written by Janelle Ward

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