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COVID-19 - Tesco 80 Item Limit & Gastroparesis Comments

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Sat 4th Apr 2020
Blog Categories: Health | My Coronavirus Story | All / Filter

As I have had Gastroparesis for a long time, which affects what and when I can eat, I thought I'd make some comments about Tesco's 80 item limit.

During this pandemic, there has been a lot of panic buying - resulting in empty shelves in food shops and considerable difficulty making online bookings for food deliveries. Stores have differing responses - from placing limits on number of items purchased (individually or total or both), and the number of orders per week plus others.

There is never going to be a perfect system when emergency rules and laws come into place in a war, or a pandemic - and nor do I expect there to be. This article therefore provides comments, not criticisms, of Tesco's recent 80 item basket limit.

I acknowledge others are going through much worse times than we are - risking their lives working in hospitals, loosing loved ones, loosing jobs and many things. But I wanted also to record my own story, however small it may seem in comparison.

How we usually shop

Normally we have one delivery a week from Tesco that contains most of our weekly food. It works well; we are busy and don't have time to go to a supermarket at the weekend. It contains families food, plus some alternatives that I eat.

As I am on a limited diet (I can't digest food very well due to my having Gastroparesis as a by product of 30 years of other health conditions), this means I'm limited in what I can buy from Tesco - I have to often buy different to the rest of the family as I generally can't eat what they eat. I have written elsewhere about this - see link below. Note however that having these conditions doesn't make me a sick person.

Changes Now

During this pandemic we are entirely self isolating and have to shop not only for ourselves, but an 83 year old relative too, who due to restrictions isn't allowed to go out. We aren't doing shop visits unless really necessary - so online Tesco orders, delivered to our home. The main problems are being able to book a date - and now putting an 80 item limit on baskets (buying 2 of one item counts as 2 of that 80 limit).

So we need for example to buy 3 sets of milk - our relative, my wife and children, and rice milk for me. That is 3 separate sets of items, and multiples in each, resulting in about 5 items - 5 of out 80.

Apply that to our entire basket and you can see that we are struggling to stay within the 80 limit. Worse though is that not all we order is in stock when picked - in our last order 12 of our 80 items weren't in stock - 15% of our order - and we can't predict what will and won't be in stock.

So what do we order? One pack of bananas shared out between relative and wife/children is better than ordering 6 bananas. But will it be in stock? And what about my food - are my gluten free oats in stock, and what about the rice milk - I can't have any other type of milk - it is rice milk or no milk, simple as that for now. Do we sacrifice 5 of our 80 items on the rice milk for 2 weeks - but if out of stock, then we loose those 5 items completely when delivered.

Fortunately, I have always created a buffer of extra supplies as things do run out sometimes (a factory fire last year limited my bread supplies but I survived), but I need to keep that buffer stocked up. Looking to the months ahead, there could be delays in getting say the rice milk in, or there may be significant inflation on this products - and I there aren't many other options for me without pain. See also:

What about extra orders?

In theory trying to get more than one order per week would be better. However, we are struggling to book in any order just now. During the week I spent 30 minutes with my phone under the duvet at midnight trying to get a date booked - the Tesco app kept on putting me in a queue, but eventually I managed it. But it is hard getting those orders in and would it be fair on others to keep piling in orders? And do I really want to spend two nights a week at midnight trying to book an order, when we're all busy, and trying to do home schooling etc.? I want my sleep too - that is important.

We are growing some of our own food too - in the longer term that should help us - we have done it before.


In reality I'm going to have to adapt what I eat in the months to come I imagine - for reasons of availability and inflation. But you know, I'm quite used to that - you have to be when you're in my shoes - I'm a creative person and will think and find something. It isn't something that bothers me.

Tags: coronavirus,corvid19,pandemic

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All text, images and illustrations © Copyright David Rodgers 2020 unless stated otherwise. No copying in part or whole without written permission.


All articles made are based on my own personal experience, and may not be suitable for everyone. They are not to be taken as formal advice; always seek personal professional advice before doing anything, especially if it is health related, or might affect your health.

Where links are provided to external sites, I am not responsible for the content of these sites.

All content is believed to be correct at time of writing, but policies and prices change over time, and this article is not updated to reflect this. Double check all facts before making any decisions.

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