A SINGLE mum-of-two has spent more than £2,000 stockpiling since the country was hit with ‘Ping-a-geddon’ – getting enough food to last her family into 2022.
Emma Tarry, 26, is clearing shelves of milk and filling her supersized freezer because she’s convinced the new ‘pingdemic’ will mean supermarket closures without warning.
Today, a Cabinet minister warned 20% of supermarket workers have been forced into isolation – amid warnings the country could be set to face its worst food shortages in 75 years with half of deliveries being delayed.
Shockingly Emma, from Lancaster, doesn’t consider herself selfish and claims people are bonkers if they don’t ‘ping-pile’ – saying it’s the only way to starve off her anxiety and protect her kids Jayden, seven, and Leo, five.
She tells Fabulous: “I consider myself a super stockpiling Queen. My kids are fussy eaters so stockpiling is essential.
“I’ve always loved to be prepared. My anxiety is through the roof about the new food shortages. Knowing I have a double freezer full of food and dry goods in the cupboard is a huge relief.
“I have ten kilos of chicken, 10 boxes of fish fingers and six bottles of Calpol among my haul. My supersized freezer is full of frozen fruit and veg too.
“I’ve not stopped stockpiling since the first lockdown and with the news this week, I know that’s the right decision.
“People judge me but I refuse to change or back down. I am proud of the bulging pantry which will feed my family well into next year.
“It’s been methodically planned. I simply spend an extra £250 a month – around £2,000 total – on the food and essentials shop.
“I don’t put pressure on supermarkets, it’s just a simple click on a computer mouse to add an extra couple of tins.
“Personally, I can’t understand why everyone isn’t doing this. I would advise anyone to start now, you only need to spend an extra £20 a week – you’ll soon be addicted.
“I like to lead by example and get anxious if my stockpile falls behind the standard I set in March 2020.
Personally, I can’t understand why everyone isn’t doing this. I notice supermarkets are not telling people not to panic buy and think that’s alarming
“In my shed, I have 14 boxes of cereal, 12 litres of UHT milk and 68 tins of dog food, as well as baked beans, canned veg and tinned fruit. I protect it with my BB gun, as people have tried to break in before.
“You have to be prepared. We can’t guarantee what’s going to happen in Europe or when this hell will end.
“Ping-down is worse than lockdown – it’s way less predictable. This is a major crisis for the country.
“I know my ‘be prepared’ motto is keeping my family and friends safe. I have a ping-pile WhatsApp group with some other mums and we swap items among ourselves.
“We also let each other know if we hear about an outbreak at a supermarket, so we can go to a different shop before it gets overwhelmed.
“I notice supermarkets are not telling people not to panic buy and think that’s alarming. They don’t know what products they will have in the supply chain.
“Stockpiling is not a crime. I know people will either love or hate my approach, but I don’t care. I won’t let my family go without.”
Former beauty therapist, Lou Lucas-Smith, 43, is clearing shelves of biscuits, milk, flour, crisps and toilet paper – spending £1,300 on her haul.
Lou, from Plymouth, claims people are bonkers if they don’t ‘ping-pile’ – saying it’s survival of the fittest.
She says: “I don’t care what other people think. I am ping-piling for myself and my family because it’s a roll of the dice who gets pinged and who doesn’t.
“I went into a local supermarket on the weekend and shelves were bare in the fresh fruit section, salad cabinets and in some of the cupboard essentials.
“No-one can predict when the app will tell you to isolate, meaning suppliers and supermarkets can’t guarantee service. This is worse than the original pandemic.”
Lou says living in a seaside town, she has to take extra precautions this summer.
She claims: “Staycation tourists are making it worse. They’re coming into my town and buying everything in sight.
“Everywhere in Devon is heaving and there is no food and cleaning products. I won’t be caught short. I am sick of walking in and seeing supermarket shelves bare.
“Anyone who tells me I’m selfish or criticises me is wrong. I bet they secretly have heaving trolleys and cupboards too.
Anyone who tells me I’m selfish or criticises me is wrong. I bet they secretly have heaving trolleys and cupboards too
“If people ask about my overflowing trolley, which they sometimes do, I tell them I’m shopping for a big end of school celebration with lots of kids.
“I’ve always been a forward planner. I went to three different supermarkets to do a big shop on Monday – and did a top-up yesterday.
“After reading about the food shortages, I knew I needed at least two months’ worth of food before the weekend hit.
“I just loaded up my trolley with whatever I knew would keep – a crate of oranges, three dozen cans of soup, boxes of crisps, 500 toilet rolls, 3,000 iced lollies and at least ten family size boxes of cereal.
“I’ve always stocked up on sweets and biscuits. My freezer is overflowing with frozen vegetables and meat, so I know I won’t be caught short.
“Underneath the sink, I have 24 litres of cleaning fluids, four boxes of washing detergent and over 240 tablets – so I am covered for clothes washing until Christmas.
“I also have 10 bottles of spray cleaner and 400 bin bags, as well as dried spaghetti, sauces and Pesto for easy meals.
“My advice is to do the food shop early in the day, before the supermarkets sell out of fresh food like salad.”
Lou is also cashing in by selling supermarket home delivery slots, and has people willing to pay her a premium to queue for them at grocery shops.
She says: “It’s something I did in lockdown, to get cash for haircuts, new make-up, and clothes.
“The moment I realised we were in a pingdemic I was on the phone to my regulars, offering to sell them supermarket home delivery slots for £15-20 a pop.
“I also shop for people and sell essentials on at a 40% mark-up. I don’t feel bad, I’m helping them.
“I’ve bought extras of things I know my regulars want. I’m a proud pandemic businesswoman.
“I’m not ashamed. I was forced into doing this by the lockdown and government rules.
“I have to earn a living. I’ll use the money to treat myself to a holiday after lockdown and to add to my own stockpile.
“People who criticise me simply don’t understand supply and demand. I don’t care what people say.”
Admin Assistant Becca Brown, 36, has spent almost £900 ‘ping-piling’ groceries, donuts, cakes, and even PPE kit.
Becca from Truro, Cornwall, reckons people who don’t ping-pile are the “crazy” ones and says she feels smug when she sees empty shelves, as she predicted it.
She says: “I moved to Truro from Devon two months ago. I was hoping for peace and quiet – instead it’s been Covid madness.
“As soon as I saw bare supermarket shelves I went into survival mode. Over the last week, I have been grabbing whatever I can. I feel dead smug about it, I know I have everything I need.
“The seaside resorts are swamped with thousands of extra people, it’s the perfect storm.
“I won’t be caught without my favourite treats like donuts and chocolate rolls. I’ve loaded up my fridge and freezer with six weeks’ worth of food.
“When I went shopping yesterday, I ignored the tuts as I grabbed entire rows of biscuits and milk.
“I know it’s the right thing to do – the supermarket shelves are bare. All the fresh veg was gone so I grabbed apples, oranges and lemons by the boxload.
“I also bagged cases of cereal, dozens of bottles of squash, 4,000 teabags and loads of sweet treats.
“I’ve got a dozen bottles of wine and another dozen of prosecco too – I can’t have myself going short.”
Over the last week, I have been grabbing whatever I can. I feel dead smug about it, I know I have everything I need
Earlier this year, Becca piled up on PPE and had loads leftover.
She says: “I do artwork using PPE kit and won’t be criticised. It’s a representation of what we’ve all been through with Covid.
“I went into debt in the first lockdown buying £2,500 worth of PPE kit, masks, gloves and other equipment. But then I sold my spares on eBay for five times the price.
“People attacked me, saying the NHS was running out of kit, but if I could get it why couldn’t they?
“We can’t control what’s going on with the pandemic, but I can control my food storage. The only solution is to buy it all and bunker down.
“People claiming I am stopping other people getting their hands on essentials are talking rubbish.
“I have shelves of basics like cans of minced meat, baked beans, fruit, canned vegetables and curry pastes.
“I have lost friends over my attitude but now they’re asking me for some of my food. The answer is no.
“I have planned my purchases and keep an exact log on an excel spreadsheet so I know what I have.
“The rest of the country should do the same. If you don’t have a ping-pile you are allowing yourself and your family to be threatened with shortages. I won’t be criticised for smart planning.”