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Belgium in Brief: When Stores Run Out

Stores running out of things you expect them to have – be it petrol or pies – is always quite disconcerting.

The reasons and the severity of shortages can vary substantially. Supply issues, a strike, a once in a lifetime decision with far-reaching ramifications – whatever the underlying cause, we are all touched by the effects on the ground.

The empty shelf. 

These problems are – more often than not – temporary in nature, but that’s not to say we shouldn’t be concerned.  There is probably no need to stockpile toilet paper to last you a decade but you can forgive people for getting a little in their own heads when something isn’t there.

As a consumer, there’s something jarring about being presented with a hole where your favourite product could be.

Sure, you COULD buy brown bread, but you wanted white.

That pasta sauce will probably work as well if you subbed out tomato for pepper. Ah, no peppers either… maybe time to buy a frozen pizza.

So why am I talking about this? Well, because it’s in the news. Certain UK petrol stations are running out as quickly as they can supply, and Carrefour is struggling with strikes at logistics centres leading to supply difficulties (more below). And in many parts of the continent, the cracks are starting to show.

How do you react when that thing you wanted is missing? And which key ingredient would lead you to abandon what you planned if it’s missing?

Let @johnstonjules know (or email me

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Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Brussels to implement Covid Safe Ticket ‘by 15 October at the latest’

The expansion of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region will be delayed until 15 October at the latest, confirmed Minister-President Rudi Vervoort on Monday. Read More.

2. Children ‘disproportionately affected’ by climate change

Credit: Unicef/ Sokhin

Research led by a Brussels university shows that children born today will be disproportionately affected by climate change. Read More

3. Empty shelves: Carrefour Belgium confirms supply difficulties

The supermarket chain said it was doing its utmost to limit the impact of the strike on its supplies and to keep its customers informed amid reports of empty shelves in some stores. Here’s more.

4. Belgian minister condemns the spread of ‘American wokeness’

Demir criticised those who “beat others with the woke-stick,” saying that people use the term to intimidate those who think differently from themselves in the pursuit of moral superiority. Read More.

5. Oxfam: Belgian biofuel policy violates human rights in Peru

The report, titled “Fueling human rights violations: Consequences of EU and Belgium’s biofuel policies in northern Peru,” focuses on Belgium’s investment in a sugarcane plantation in the north of Peru, from which it purchases biofuels. Read more.

6. More than 700 Covid-19 patients in hospital

The number of people currently in hospital as a result of the coronavirus has exceeded 700, whilst the number of deaths due to Covid-19 has once again increased. Read more.

7. FAQ: The Belgian Covid Safe Ticket

The Belgian Covid Safe Ticket is back in the news (and this newsletter) so here’s a quick refresher for those feeling a little out of the loop.

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