Heartbreaking picture of elderly man surrounded by empty supermarket shelves amid panic-buying

Photo has accumulated more than 235,000 likes on Instagram

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 18 March 2020 11:36 GMT
Older people enjoy dedicated shopping sessions at supermarkets

A photograph of an elderly man standing among empty shelves at a supermarket amid the coronavirus pandemic has garnered a huge reaction online.

Ever since news emerged of the virus spreading around the world some people have started buying food and home essentials in bulk.

However, doing so places a disadvantage on other members of society who may be unable to visit their supermarket first thing in the morning or cannot afford to buy large quantities of items in one go.

Supermarkets have been urging consumers to be “considerate” when shopping, with some introducing dedicated hours for the elderly and their carers to shop before the masses.

To highlight the magnitude of the situation, Milli Taylor, of Milli’s Catering, shared a photograph on Instagram showing an elderly man looking down at a piece of paper in a supermarket aisle, the shelves stripped of produce.

The picture was taken by her sister, Lauren Taylor, who spotted the man at a Sainsbury’s store near her home in Epsom, Surrey.

Milli’s Instagram post has accumulated more than 235,000 likes and plenty of comments from people expressing their concern over the situation.

Lauren, who took the photograph, said it was “awful and just really sad” to see the elderly man that day.

“That was only one aisle and the others were in a similar state of empty shelves,” she said.

“People were grabbing lots of stuff that were still on the shelves.

“It’s really just sad and disappointing in society that it’s got to this point,” she added. “Everyone needs stuff, but he had been left with nothing.”

After taking picture, Lauren shared it with her family on Whatsapp.

She said she “didn’t expect" the enormous reaction to the picture after her sister, who was in Sri Lanka at the time, shared it on Instagram.

“I just wanted to share it with my family who are dotted around the world to compare and prepare my sister for what she was coming back to after a holiday,” Lauren said.

“I just want people to think about their own grandparents who will have to go through more suffering. It must be scary for them.”

Milli said she felt compelled to share the picture on Instagram as she found it “shocking".

“I didn’t know what we were coming home to,” she stated.

“It was pretty bleak. You have to be careful not to judge a full trolley because they might be shopping for a large family in isolation but it seems that people have been over-buying and not thinking about everyone else that may be in the same or worst situation.”

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