Life

Five Questions About...The 'Mail' Exposing People Buying Lava Lamps During Lockdown

The 'Daily Mail' are doing what they do best: publicly shaming people!
31 March 2020, 7:45am
lava lamp
Photo: Peter Carroll / Alamy Stock Photo

While most of us spent the weekend binge-watching Tiger Kin__g before walking around the house saying, "Hey, all you cool cats and kittens," unprompted, to nobody at all, other people were being stopped by police and fined or arrested on coronavirus-related charges.

For instance, officers were called to break up a gathering of 25 people who'd met up to have a buffet and a karaoke party at a house in Derby, while a man in Salford was fined after driving two hours to pick up windows that were so large his wife had to ride home in the boot of the car.

In other punishing-people-for-doing-nonessential-stuff news, the Daily Mail took the opportunity to publicly shame shoppers flouting the lockdown rules, capturing some leaving a B&M store in Stockton-on-Tees "with a variety of non-urgent items including a lava lamp, paint, a houseplant and doormats".

None of the above is good – anyone who can should stay inside for obvious reasons. But also: is "publicly shaming people" really the best way to expend journalistic resources right now? Naturally, the Mail's readers have already asked some important questions in the comments, like "How would they have survived WWII?" and "What's the difference between buying essentials to getting some DIY goods?"

But there are still a few more pressing questions to be answered.

IS TAKING PHOTOS OF PEOPLE DOING NON-ESSENTIAL SHOPPING CONSIDERED AN ESSENTIAL JOB?

This is rich coming from someone who writes jokes about shagging for a living, but sitting in the B&M car park secretly papping people buying paint doesn't seem that necessary, does it?

HOW MANY GROUP CHATS ARE THESE PICTURES IN?

The Mail's readership is huge – tens of thousands of people across the UK will have seen these pictures – so it's very likely that someone who knows the subjects personally has seen them and sent them to other people who know them. It's also very likely the subjects' neighbours are now watching their front doors through the window, fingers hovering over the 9 button on their phone.

As someone who just regrettably said "arvo" in the work Slack, I know what it's like to be shamed in a public forum, and I sympathise with them all.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME ANYONE THOUGHT ABOUT LAVA LAMPS?

Lava lamps are a relatively cool thing to have, but I honestly haven't thought about them since Argos catalogues were widely available. Really, who knew that B&M not only sold bedding and cleaning products at affordable prices, but lava lamps too? Maybe I'll spruce up my self-isolation chamber with a lava lamp as well.

WHAT'S HE GOING TO DO WITH THE LAVA LAMP?

I guarantee that the man in the picture – who was photographed leaving the shop clutching not only the lava lamp, but also an energy drink and a tin of paint – had never considered buying a lava lamp before buying that lava lamp. So it's safe to assume that he is already delirious from self-isolation. Rather than shaving his head or tweeting about sourdough, he is instead channeling his energy into renovating his bedroom in a chaotic way. I'd like to see the results, please DM me.

BUT ALSO: WHY AREN'T PEOPLE STAYING AT HOME?

Taking photos of people with the intention of publicly shaming them on the website of a national newspaper is obviously not a great thing to do. But potentially risking contracting and then passing on coronavirus just to get a lava lamp is also fairly shitty, isn't it. All in all, nobody wins.

@nanasbaah