Sunday, March 22, 2020

By Timmy Ryan, Broadcaster and Liquorist

Timmy Ryan’s weekly column for the Waterford News & Star


THERE was a time when any of us could go out in public, conduct our business and that was that.

Nowadays, thanks to the wonders of technology, there is a possibility that, like it or not, we could well be, unwittingly, the star of someone’s mobile phone video show.

You might have seen the rather disgusting scenes from Sydney, Australia recently where two women are seen fighting in a supermarket over toilet roll.

Yes, I kid you not. The clip has gone viral and at last count had racked up well over 200,000 views.

I heard about it and laughed and eventually checked it out for myself. I expected to have a good chuckle over the debacle but instead I actually found the scenes quite disturbing.


‘I’m not too bothered the Horslips gig in Waterford is off. Concerts can be rescheduled. There are wider implications for the commercial life of the country but health has to come first.’


Clearly, we have mirrored our friends in Oz and people have begun panic buying in earnest as COVID 19 spreads worldwide. Baffling though it seems to me, one of the items being much sought after is the humble toilet roll pack.

They are selling like hotcakes just about everywhere and as crazy as it seems, once again, we’re seeing pics on social media of empty supermarket shelves.

These ladies Down Under, and I use that term loosely, confronted each other when a mother and daughter who had a trolley loaded with the stuff, wouldn’t part with any when another woman wanted just one pack.

Voices were raised, blows were exchanged and an incredulous staff member shouted “Look what you’re doing. You’re fighting over tissues.”

Police were actually called.

Naturally, it had been all filmed for posterity and the world got to see the disgraceful antics of our Antipodean shoppers.

Comments flew in aplenty, not all amused it must be said.

“Imagine what would happen in an actual apocalypse,” one person remarked. That certainly made me think.

My favourite post though stated: “We’ll discover a cure for coronavirus before a cure for stupid.”

Well said. There is nowt as queer as folk, as the old saying goes.

I have to think that when any society stoops to this kind of behaviour, it really shows us at our absolute worst.

Seriously, would you be proud of someone you knew behaving like that?

I agree with the comment about a real catastrophe. How would we react in Waterford?

I pray we will never have to find out.

A day or so later, I did find a cartoon in a British newspaper quite witty. It portrayed a man, again in a supermarket, pushing a trolley piled high with loo roll with the word bubble saying, “I thought I’d get as much as I can before those idiots start panic buying it.”

Remember the sliced pan unpleasantness in recent times?

Apparently, a leading chain outlet in the UK has started limiting the amount of items that customers can purchase.

Shoppers are limited to no more than five items in some cases, mainly hand sanitisers, wipes and sprays, pasta, UHT milk and some tinned vegetables.

Yet, we are being told on national news that there is absolutely no need to stockpile here in Ireland. You may be sure that most people will ignore the assurances.

My suggestion is a bit of street wise nous will come in handy here. If you are majorly worried, why not pop around the various shops and buy two or three of whatever item you feel you need to stock up on and avoid the veneer of the dreaded panic buyer.

The new rules/guidelines in place until the end of the month may well be helpful although there are those who seem to feel we have acted too slowly.

I’m not too bothered the Horslips gig in Waterford is off. Concerts can be rescheduled. There are wider implications for the commercial life of the country but health has to come first.

We may not like it but we have to deal with it.

I presume the fear of landing in self isolation is what is driving the panic stations.

If stuck indoors for a prolonged period, I would have imagined that my priorities would not really have included large amounts of toilet roll.

However, the very fact that the stuff is now a sought after commodity means we all might have to get with the programme or risk losing out. It may not be such a bum steer after all.

Friendships could be tested severely in the event that you are refused by a neighbour when you might possibly have need of asking them if they have any spare toilet roll.

Perhaps this more than anything could herald the end of days as some conspiracy theorists are gleefully suggesting.

Water, food, no, the last battle for mankind may be for a stash of Andrex extra soft toilet tissues.

Drug dealers face certain extinction as punters can’t afford to put powder up their nose as opposed to velvety, cushion soft bog paper up their rear ends.

The black market is sure to flourish and armed guards will probably have to accompany any rare consignments of roll hitting the stores.

I do feel though if you are faced with a little ‘downtime’ indoors, you avoid Maura and Daithi as a surfeit of viewing may lead you to needing more toilet roll. Hence the vicious circle is perpetuated.

I refuse to get carried away with the fearful. I’d imagine the Lord saw this coming, just like Sars and ‘Mad Cow’ disease.

I might be in the minority here but I happen to think He’s worth more trust than Simon Harris, no disrespect intended.

Wash your hands of the fear, stay well and help your immune system by not overdoing the booze and inviting sickness. One other tip, keep your sanity intact by not listening to all the doom and gloom merchants constantly being wheeled out on the TV and radio. Headlines for me and I switch off.

Don’t panic.

A little sense will go a long way.

Comments are closed.

By Timmy Ryan
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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