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As I stood in my local supermarket on Monday watching shoppers rushing towards the ‘cow juice’ department in search of two pints of the white stuff, I came to the realisation that we’ve jumped too far forward.
We now live in a city where anyone can get pretty much anything they want, at a time of their own choosing. We think nothing of being able to walk to buy paracetamol guided only by the moon light, and finding freshly baked bread at the same time as Corrie is on the telly box.
But when the sliding doors on shops open to reveal shivering empty shelves, as they have done for the past 48 hours, it’s clear to see we’ve gone very wrong. The 24/7 availability of aspirin, avocados and apple tart in aisles has led to us not needing to prepare and plan any of our essential needs.
Everything we ever want is available at the time of our choosing. And the possible slight delay in being able to get to such shops has led to some very odd shopping habits.
The panic we’ve seen over the last few days is usually reserved for shoppers struggling on Christmas Eve, suddenly realising that the nearest supermarket doors will be firmly closed for just a tiny 24 hour period and buying as much as they could fit in their arms.
Watching the people of Alresford grabbing loaves and buns off the shelves like they’re the last Xmas pud on the eve of St Nick’s is quite alarming. Snatching hands and alarmed faces didn’t seem to realise that their newly acquired treasures would have gone past their use-by date by the time they got round to munching through all of it. You could hear whispers of a milk shortage going round town, by the same people who have created it by buying the ridiculous amount they didn’t even need!
So it’s difficult to understand why our nervous neighbours and the rest of the panicking people of central Hampshire choose to complain about this. It’s not the local supermarkets fault they don’t have enough supplies, it’s not the council’s fault that we choose to drive on untreated roads – it’s our own fault for not preparing. Why should we expect the army and police to dig our cold selves out of drifts, and our shops to have everything we need on demand, when we could prevent these issues from occurring by thinking and planning ahead? Instead we choose to panic as oppose to prepare, which I’m pretty sure didn’t happen 10 or 20 years ago.
Our new consumer ‘on-demand’ society has led to the feeling that we don’t have to prepare for anything, never worry about our needs more than a few hours in advance, and that others will always get us out of the trouble we put ourselves in.
We may complain about a ‘nanny state’, but unfortunately we’ve come to rely on it.
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