A MUM has spent £1,000 stockpiling since the government announced a new mutant strain of coronavirus – and is now selling on goods for a profit.
Shockingly, Lou Lucas, 42, from Bodmin, Cornwall, doesn’t consider herself selfish, insisting she is “helping others” despite charging people up to 40% more for grocery items.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new Tier 4 restrictions for those in London and the South East on Saturday, effectively cancelling Christmas for millions.
With the rules on Christmas bubbles changed and concerns over lorries getting into the UK too, many flocked to supermarkets to clear shelves of goods.
Despite reassurances there is enough food for everyone and no reason to bulk buy, many have queued through the night to ensure they are well stocked up.
For this reason, Lou – who is in Tier 1 and has two grown-up sons – tells Fabulous she is simply an entrepreneur providing a service to those in Tier 4 who can’t get to the shops.
“As soon as Boris announced the new Tier 4 regulations I got on the phone to my regulars and offered to shop for them personally – but only if they accepted my 40% mark up, plus an extra £20 for my time.
It made sense, I was already heading to supermarkets to add to my stockpile.
I am not ashamed – I’ve been selling on supermarket delivery slots throughout lockdown to make money, so this was an obvious extension of that.
I was forced into doing this by the lockdown. People are willing to pay more for delivery slots I knew I could charge them for shopping too.
I’ve spent £1,000 adding to my stockpile since the weekend so I either sell them stuff from that or they pay me to stand in the queue and get their food. It’s easy money.
I can splurge at Christmas with the profits, treat myself to a holiday after lockdown and buy up big for my own stockpile.
It’s a service like any other and it’s helping people in need, anyone who criticises me just doesn’t get business.
It’s survival of the fittest now. I don’t care what people say, I have to make a living.
I'll shop for people personally – but only if they accepted my 40% mark up
On Sunday and Monday I got up at 4am to make sure I was first in the queue at my local supermarket.
I knew people who start worrying about food shortages, so I wanted to buy up milk, toilet roll, fruit, vegetables, canned items, cereals and cleaning products.
Some people told me to put stuff back but frankly I will do what want – they had their trollies loaded up too.
The shelves were stocked so they should stop moaning.
All I’m doing is helping people in other tiers, yes for a profit but I’m a grafter and, frankly, a lot of people want to avoid crowded Tier 4 shops so they’re happy to pay me to buy and ship.
I’d say my services are essential.
Let’s just be real, with all the new Tiers you are going to see people shipping hard to find items all over the place. I’m only small time so why can’t I benefit?
I also get to increase my own stockpile so its win-win I reckon. I am looking after my family and sick of people moaning.
I am not the only one doing this and I’m proud to have found a way to keep my family afloat during this tough year.
I worked as a beauty therapist before Covid hit, but obviously that dried up when things got shut.
I needed a way to make money, so when one of my grandad’s mates asked if I knew anyone who could run errands for him and get supermarket shops in return for cash I jumped at the chance.
He was isolating and ended up paying me £40 for a couple of slots I found for him. I didn’t want the money at that point but he insisted, and I realised this could be something I did on a bigger scale.
I’d say my services are essential
He recommended me to friends and soon I had quite a few people coming to me for help.
They were just relieved they could get a slot, and loved the fact I was chatty on the phone and prioritising their needs.
I'd never take money from those who clearly couldn't afford it, but it is their choice if they want to use my services or not. No one is forcing them to.
I'm now finding slots for people all over the country, having used social media and word of mouth to advertise.
I have a group of 15 repeat customers who all ring me for supermarket slots, a chat and have me run errands to the pharmacy and post office.
Most slots I sell for between £20 and £30 each. I get £20 an hour for running errands. But I don't make them pay for the chats of course.
In the lead up to Christmas more and more people heard about me from my regulars. Then two of my local customers rang me on the weekend when Tier 4 was announced.
They have family in London who wanted to ensure a supply of groceries and didn’t want to have to go out and couldn’t get supermarket slots.
I offered to buy the items and ship them via courier and so far I have done that for five people. I charged a 40% mark up if the order is under £60 and 30% if it’s over, plus an additional £20 an hour for my time.
People are happy to pay it and I am happy to do it, a lot of the stuff comes from my own stockpile.
Some of my friends are horrified that I am charging for shopping at such a premium, I’ve lost friends over this but I’m not bothered.
I run a bigger risk of getting Covid by queuing, so I am risking my life. A premium is needed.
People just want to criticise. I am beyond caring – in fact, I consider myself a real community helper.”
Fabulous previously contacted Tesco, and a spokesperson said: “We were shocked and disappointed to hear about this.
"We’re investigating this abuse of our system, which is designed to be as fair as possible, and will consider closing any accounts linked to it.”
In other real life news, one woman opened about about why Christmas Day is REALLY special for her and her bloke – it's the only time they have sex.
And another woman revealed she's made £1 million during lockdown by talking dirty in a British accent.
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