This week has seen Britain sparked into a frenzy. After members of the Unite union voted to strike, we have seen crazy scenes across the nation’s forecourts. A ‘panic buying‘ culture has ensued up and down the country, resulting in massive queues, petrol stations closing and injuries. The ridiculous panic buying resulted in a 172% increase in the demand for petrol in the UK and a 77% rise in demand for Diesel, according to independent retail group RMI Petrol.
As people rushed to the pumps, the increased demand had a huge effect on all motorists. With queues spilling onto main roads, carnage followed. The worst case taking place in Dorset, where crazed motorists waiting for fuel managed to obstruct the entrance to the Dorchester Road ambulance station. This resulted in police forcing the closure of petrol stations to stop the hazardous traffic. Craziness personified.
I have experienced the carnage first hand. Firstly, I narrowly avoided being hit by a car entering my local garage at 11pm on Wednesday. Luckily, the forecourt was so full, the driver had to slow down so I luckily escaped. However, this was nothing compared to the scenes at the same petrol station yesterday. The entrance to the station is one of the exits of a roundabout (you can probably guess where this is going). Not only did the queue spill into the roundabout blocking one of the lanes, it resulted in tail backs right up the road. We were left trying to muscle ourselves into the other lane to get home (not the easiest task in a Fiat Seicento!). I was extremely pleased to see this particular station not selling fuel today!
The scariest story related to the panic buying, has to be that of the woman in York who got 40% burns after decanting petrol in her kitchen (full story here). After her daughter ran out of fuel, the woman in her 40’s attempted to move fuel from a container to a glass jug when the fumes caught light. Her burns are described as “severe”.
The worst thing about this panic buying is, there has actually been no strikes announced. People are queuing for miles on the back of over-hyped media coverage, over cautious political statements and threats from unions. I don’t understand it. It has been widely publicised that Unite drivers can’t strike without giving seven days notice, and further announced today that it won’t be before the Easter holiday, yet the panic continued. It would be understandable if a strike had actually been announced, seeing as cars play such a pivotal role in our society, but this senseless buying is ridiculous and dangerous.
Who is it that is panic buying then? Scrolling through various forms of social media and comments sections of articles, it seems the masses are generally against rushing to the pumps. We either have a nation of hypocrites, or those with an online presence are much more socially aware than the rest of the country.
There are a few groups I feel sorry for with this ridiculous situation. Firstly, the police. They have so many better things to be doing with their time, yet have been forced into dealing with petty traffic incidents that have occurred from the unnecessary panic. I feel most sorry for those who genuinely have to refuel before a journey and get caught up in the mayhem of the entire situation. Come on Britain, sort it out.