Shopping the golden hour

Antoinette Jones was fortunate to stock up on toilet paper before the shelves emptied again.
Antoinette Jones was fortunate to stock up on toilet paper before the shelves emptied again.

It was barely daylight when shoppers started filing past the security guard stationed outside Coles Tenterfield on Monday, presenting their seniors or disability card to gain special access to the rationed goods inside.

'Community hour' shopping is operating at the supermarket each weekday from 7-8am, to give the aged and infirm access to groceries.

Some items are held back to ensure there's stock on the shelves to help these shoppers (such as the much-desired toilet paper), although occasionally it takes several trips for people to secure the items they need.

Acting store manager Lee Harley said the arrangement is working well, although getting in supplies is still rough. This is despite Tenterfield being classed as a priority store as there's no Woolworths or Aldi alternative.

Mr Harley has been informed that the supply issues are starting to flatten out.

In the meantime security is in place during Community Hour and in the afternoons to help with disputes over product limits although disturbances have been minimal, unlike what staff have had to deal with in other locations.

The run on staples, in this case flour, is as evident in Tenterfield as it is elsewhere, although there's word that shortages will soon ease.

The run on staples, in this case flour, is as evident in Tenterfield as it is elsewhere, although there's word that shortages will soon ease.

Antoinette Jones was one of the customers taking advantage of Community Hour on Monday, calling it a great initiative .

"After what we've seen on TV, those over 80 wouldn't stand a chance," she said.

She said she and her husband can't get all the items they want, but they expect that.

"We've been through the war, so we know how to make do."

Last week packs of toilet paper where being broken down by staff into two-roll bags, with a limit of one bag per shopper, in an attempt to spread the stock available as far as possible.

There's been some confusion about which products are grouped into the limit-restricted categories, but on the whole Mr Harley said customers have been considerate.

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