Lots of Time + Pent up Energy= Too much Thinking

There are those, close to me, that would add the word muddled in front of Thinking. I refer, of course, to those amongst us who are confined to quarters. Therefore, I am going to use headings to try and be disciplined about Thinking . The following defines my interpretation of the above formula….

Lots of Time

I know it is only a few days into imposed social isolation and the weather has been wonderful (certainly in the UK). But the ‘lots of time bit’ has not dropped yet. So I get up a bit later, maybe 30 minutes. Take an hour plus to read newspaper, instead of 15 minutes. Then comes commercial houseekeeping , emails etc…. followed by coffee break 15 mins. If we are going to the supermarket , we walk (was that wrong?). So its a half an hour there, half hour back, 45 minutes queue , 20 minutes inside (now going by car 4 minute drive, but with the queuing,combined with doing some shopping for elderly neighbours round trip still takes best part of an hour and a half) . So now its Lunchtime -half an hour then exercise , takes between one hour and two, depending on whether it’s walk or bike. With other odds and sods its 4 pm plus, if I am lucky.

Pent up Energy

Err…, see above under exercise and supermarket visit. Oh yes, what is it about walkers. Who are these walkers? Most of whom , in a previous life, it would never have crossed their mind to go for a walk. I have 3 methods of spotting them.

1. When they approach the edge of the pavement there is a look of bewilderment in their eyes as they are not sure what to do.

2. When they have gone about 500 metres there is a look of fear as they are not sure how to get home

3. Those that venture into more open areas and you are at least 30 metres away from them, they do another 10 metre hip swerve, as they have no concept of space or distance.

Here’s a no 4. Invariably they are dressed as ninja daffy ducks. They have scarves around their faces and hoods up, with only their eyes showing and when they walk they actually waddle.

Are they victims of the toilet roll syndrome. ‘everyone seems to be doing this , so s’pose we should as well’

Too Much Thinking

Once again I am going to use headings to try and be a little more disciplined with my thinking. The headings I have selected are ones where I have had some clarity of thought, in addition to restricting it to a reasonable list.


Now there is an odd one . Why think about crime? Well, primarily, because I thought household burglaries would fall as would street muggings. However, my next train of thought was what would Jonnie Robber (always blokes ) do for cash . But more siginificanlty what would those who commited crime because of the need to pay for their addictions eg Drink or Drugs. They still have a driving need for to feed their addiction, are they just going to stop ? Or just as importantly where are they going to go for funding ? So to speak. An interesting juxtaposition ,is that in the Favelas of Rio the drug lords are enforcing self isolation to protect the population whilst the President derides Covid as just the ‘sniffles’.

“Whoever is caught on the street will learn how to respect the measure. We want the best for the population. If the government is unable to manage, organised crime resolves,” read one message sent to residents of a Rio de Janeiro slum. Financial Times 27 March 2020


Sociey has and is changing , perhaps mainly for the better. However, I am not convinced these changes will be long lasting after the pandemic is over. Many said Brexit changed UK society. Now Brexit is nothing like the situation were are in now . I am not convinced it changed much, it only exposed what was already there. With Covid, having a worlwide impact, in one way brings people together, but my concern is that once it is all over, this togetherness will be forgotten . And what is just as likely is an increasing fear of outsiders .

Consumer Behaviour

Perhaps not so far reaching , and maybe not so important, but it remains significant as it will be all about getting an economy back on its feet. There are a number of factors that come into play, working out how, what and when is a completely different matter. Consumers will have been locked out of their normal patterns of buying behaviour. To a degree, if they really want to buy something (non essentials) they will go online . Is this pushing the consumer further to online ? Not totally convinced as I believe over a period of time some will start to value the experience of going to a retailer and go back to them. The consumer is finding out now that they cant just pop into a local High Street to try a product out before buying online. Hopefully they will understand the function of a Shop.

As for the health of the High Street, it is not going to be good . The weak ones will go including the ‘biggies’. There is nothing to suggest otherwise . On the positive side, there will be opportunties for the good independents. The local consumer , on the whole, is trying to help the independent where it can . Currently, this relates to local grocery stores, restaurants offering take aways, pharmacists and newsagents. There will be many out there who have never actually been into their local shops, who may now understand their function.

Once we are let out of our homes , will we rush out to the High Street ? Simple answer, is ‘Yes’. I am quite sure there will be a very short Retail boom. However, will this last ? Here, I am not so sure. I suspect there will be those who were already questionning their ‘consuming activities’ and think I did without that for weeks/days/months on end. Do I really need it ? I feel that it will impact further, on the consumers demand for things.


I need someone to tell me how is that when the bank rate is virtually zero, and the government is covering 80% of commercial loans, that lending rates are going up . I don’t want to knock the banks as they are critical in the current climate and don’t need knocking down, but this has to be addressed.

There is so much more thinking to be done……and probably lots of time to do it.

Law of Supply and Demand…..(or how to make the page bleed)

Under normal circumstances, the laws of supply are one of the fundamentals in microeconomics determining price levels within a market place.

We are not, however, in normal times . When Covid 19 first raised its ugly head (do viruses have heads ? Microbiologists essay question) early February, for me anyway, the questions started to arise concerning supply chains from China .

The intials concerns were are we going to get stuff …and when ? Thus intimating there maybe shortages. There was no hint of any price increases, apart from higher shipping costs if manufacturers such as Land Rover started to air freight parts. This rapidly changed to panic buying of product buying of product such as Toilet Rolls and sanitisers. Again no price risers. Or rather not by reputable traders, you cannot take idiots and profiteers as part of the Laws of Supply and Demand. They are, essentially, the laws of the black market. Move on rapidly again and we have economic concern of no demand (apart from food, medicine and Netflix subs), perhaps ‘takeaways’. Lack of demand and prices fall. Rather they should, but with few exceptions (oil) this is not necessarily the case. I think the implication here , is that the retailer is taking the view if nobody is coming into my shop, what is the point of dropping my prices and taking even less money. What they are doing , or at least some, they are offering additional services such as free local delivery.

Now I am not an economist. Hang on a mo…I am. I am the proud owner of a mediocre Economics A Level, achieved after much hardship in the early seventies. Hardship as I was forced to write the papers with an ‘Osmoroid Pen’ (image below). As to those close to me will know I am not known for my copperplate handwriting. I would be proud to lay claim to my eloquent academic prose seemingly making the pages bleed with detailed analysis. But I cant . They bled because the ink ran all over the paper. Julia, also, adds I was just plain lazy.

Osmiroid Pen Set – with explanations for those that have never seen a cartridge pen ! Or ‘How I make a page bleed’

I can also lay claim to knowing Adam Smith, not the Adam Smith(he died in 1790), but that’s not the point. It enhances my mediocre ‘A’ Level by association. Instead of claiming I am from the school of Adam Smith Economics, I can say that I did Economics, at a School where there was an Adam Smith. I digress…I go back to ….. I am not an economist but the Laws of Supply and Demand do not generally involve Moral and Ethical influences. They do involve human behaviour but currently , and I really do mean the ‘immediate’ now , as things are changing so fast, the moral and ethical factors are, I believe, having an impact upon the Laws of Supply and Demand.

There is, now a third unknown . Most of the time these laws operate in democratic capitalist societies. What we are now, temporarily, experiencing is the suspension of capitalism with massive state intervention (certainly in the UK) and that is with a right of centre, libertarian conservative Government. As to how this all pans out Socially, politically and economically, is anybody’s guess. Plus when the gates start to open, atthe end of the of all this , will the Laws go into overdrive or will everyone be so grateful that they are actually selling something they will forego market forces ?

Footnote: I said things are changing very fast and within the last 24 hours The Sunday Times have said that Tesco has but prices up on a number of products. This isnt quite as clear as that as they have said in the main they have removed Mutli Buys to avoid ‘over buying’. At this stage I have some sympathy with that rational as I don’t beleive Tesco would be stupid enough to take advantage of the current situation . Here is another statistic that has been banded about. Approximately 25% of the nation’s calorific intake comes from restaurants, Cafes , fast food joints and take aways. The vast majority of this intake is now being transferred into the supermarkets. It takes time and money to re-adjust to this shift . Consequently it is not just a spike in Demand it is also a shift of the pattern within that demand.