Netto

There are few things more frustrating than going to the grocery store to get in on a good deal, and finding that someone else beat you to it and cleared the shelves. So imagine how it must feel to show up and find that ALL the shelves have been cleared? As in, every single shelf in the entire store?

That’s a feeling that hundreds of British shoppers had yesterday, after fellow shoppers raided a grocery store and completely emptied it in just four minutes.

The occasion was a going-out-of-business giveaway. The budget grocery chain Netto shut its doors across England last month, after holding clearance sales offering up to 80% off everything in the store.

But apparently even 80% off wasn’t good enough for some bargain hunters. One store in the city of Lincoln found itself with a lot of groceries left, after its everything-must-go sale. So it gave away as much as local charities would take. And even then, it had plenty left over.

So the only thing left to do, was reopen its doors and let shoppers have at it and take whatever they wanted. It was like an extreme couponer’s dream – everything is free, and shelf-clearing is encouraged!

The store decided to reopen for just 90 minutes yesterday, but eager shoppers didn’t need anywhere near 90 minutes to clean the place out. More like four minutes. That’s how long it took for every last item in the store to be claimed.

The whole process appeared to be rather orderly, though. There were no reports of pushing, shoving or fistfights. Instead, locals politely lined up outside, well ahead of the store’s 10:30am opening time. Once the doors did open, they walked inside and scooped up their freebies. “It was like Supermarket Sweep,” one shopper told reporters.

That particular shopper managed to get a free bag of frozen fries. “There wasn’t much left by the time I got in,” he said.

The store never actually promoted its giveaway – it was a local homeless shelter that announced it. “They have quite a lot of frozen foods that need to go,” the Nomad Trust wrote in a Facebook post earlier this week. “Although they would prefer it to go to charity, they also realize the value in not just throwing it away.”

The post went viral, though some complained about the giveaway. “This food should go to the needy, not to the greedy!” one commenter wrote. But the shelter pointed out that many of the shoppers who showed up were families in need. So, much of the food was ultimately given away to those who could really use it.

So the next time you show up at your store and find an empty shelf where a hot deal should be, it could be worse. Next time, you’d better plan to show up early – by about four minutes.

Image source: Netto Lincoln

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