Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9862481:

Like a Shakespearean play 8 10, 2:30pm

To be fair, that's not so much England as England's crazy uncle. Unfortunately, he's been around a lot lately...

The problem is that, once these things start, you have two (rational) choices - join in (if you're actually or very probably going to need whatever it is), or ride it out and take your chance on going without. Petrol was an insidious case; as soon as the news came out that BP were having to shut a few of their forecourts because they couldn't get fuel to them, I knew what the effect would likely be (and when I heard on the news that the government was saying that there was plenty of fuel, and people "didn't need to panic buy", I was stone-cold certain - telling people not to panic buy is THE guaranteed way to get them to do so). Probably, quite a few other people did as well. So - lots of people took the first opportunity to fill up in anticipation of a shortage. Causing a shortage. (I had half a tank of fuel and no definite big journeys to do; I didn't rush to fill up, and limited myself to short trips as much as I could. But my wife has an elderly parent who lives a couple of hundred miles away, and we've had to go over there on short notice a couple of times, so when I passed a station that seemed to have business-as-usual levels of customers, I topped up, "just in case". Doubtless adding to the pressure in my own, small way.)

"Just in time" is a great concept if your supply chain is rock-solid, but a lousy one if it's not, basically.