University of Oxford
2 files

31848: Grey Market

online resource
posted on 2023-12-08, 14:18 authored by Lockdown2020 and Beyond Project

I seem to have unknowingly joined the local grey market. Our street's Covid-19 WhatsApp has evolved into a source of how to get hold of things in short-supply. I've been given free eggs destined for a school that had to close suddenly (bring your own box) and flour from an unknown distributor that someone "uses at work". A shout goes up when difficult to find items, such as toilet rolls, potatoes, bread or pasta are in stock somewhere. Meanwhile those who are able to go to the shops offer to pick up items for others, or add them to their delivery if they get a coveted slot. Money is exchanged in sanitised plastic bags and goods are left on doorsteps. We all think twice about what we should ask for in case it's not considered essential; people sheepishly say that Ovaltine is for their mum's night-time drink and marmite for their kid's lunches "if that's ok?" I'm reminded of the man who was ostracised by his village for asking for apple sauce for his roast pork. My neighbour is collecting donations for the local church food bank, and it becomes a handy way to pass on anything that was mis-delivered. Other things are available too, my appeal for a USB keyboard receives two offers in under a minute, and bags of buttons for mask mates are left on my doorstep. Dog crates are loaned for puppy training, emergency plumbers sourced and we've all learning to star-gaze, thanks to our local amateur astronomer.


Message for the future

Do what you can at this time. Look after one another. In the words of a very famous supermarket, every little helps.

About the picture(s)

The buttons were used on mask mates, crocheted straps to save pain behind the ears of carers and NHS workers who wear face masks for up to 12 hours a day.







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