31848: Grey Market
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.