It is the ultimate middle-class nightmare, and likely to cause mayhem in the aisles: Waitrose has sold out of its Heston Blumenthal's Hidden Orange Christmas puddings, forcing desperate customers to bid up to £150 for the desserts on eBay.
The supermarket chain has been forced to order in emergency supplies of the 1.2kg pudding – which went on sale in September priced at £13.99 – mirroring last year, when it also sold out of the product.
Despite the retailer buying three times as many units this year, the puddings have sold out. Now Waitrose has increased total orders of Heston puddings to 10 times last year's figure. The gourmet puddings are being offered on the auction website eBay for up to £150.
The trade magazine The Grocer reported that the supermarket has promised on its online message boards that considerably more stock of the dessert would be delivered to its stores in early December. The chain apologised to customers who could not find the pudding in local stores. In response to one customer who asked whether more puddings would be delivered in time for Christmas, it said: "Demand for Heston puddings again this year has been immense."
One shopper asked: "With weeks to go, will further supplies be forthcoming? Does this signify we will once again witness the £250 pud on eBay?"