Louise Lucas, 42, has revealed she has been block-booking supermarket delivery slots from major supermarket chains including Tesco, and then re-selling them for up to six-times their original price. The mother-of-two has admitted to booking up to 10 delivery slots per week through supermarket websites and a newly-found network of online sellers.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic the Government has widely advised Britons to use delivery services – especially the most vulnerable members of society in the “shielding” category, who have been ordered not to leave their homes.
Ms Lucas from Plymouth, has defended her actions and insisted her customers are more than willing to pay for her services and branded herself a “community helper”.
Ms Lucas said she stumbled across the idea after losing her job during the COVID-19 crisis working at a beauticians.
Tesco delivery slots have been in high demand during the coronavirus crisis
The Government has urged Britons to use home deliveries
While helping out at her grandfather’s farm in Cornwall, Ms Lucas was asked by a 65-year-old retired garage owner, if she could find some food delivery slots for him.
The pensioner then offered her £60 for the two delivery slots she found online – even though they typically cost £5 each.
Ms Lucas initially turned down the huge cash sum for the slot but he insisted she take the money.
Sensing a huge opportunity, Ms Lucas then spent seven hours online and booked several more and found people also selling unwanted slots on social media.
Ms Lucas insists her services are valuable as she is the one staying up all night to find available delivery slots and then is the one who fills out all the orders and payment processes.
She said: “I’m now finding slots for people all over the country, having used social media and word of mouth to advertise. It’s like a special lockdown club.
“I now have a group of 15 repeat customers who all ring me for supermarket slots, a chat and have me run errands to the pharmacy and post office – I have taken the stress out of their quarantine.
“Most slots, and I sell about six and 10 a week, I sell for between £20 and £30 each. I get £20 an hour for running errands. But I don’t make them pay for the chats of course.”
Ms Lucas also revealed some of her friends were left shocked but she defended her actions by insisting no one is forcing people to use her services.
Speaking to The Sun’s Fabulous, she said: “You have to have an entrepreneurial spirit. I am not taking advantage of vulnerable people’s suffering. I’m offering a good quality service – not least because people hate queuing.
“When they have a slot they don’t want, I buy it off them for a tenner, and sell it on for £20 or £30. I’m also doing people’s bank balances a favour I reckon – I consider myself a real community helper.”
Ms Lucas also revealed she hopes her profits would eventually be enough to pay for a holiday.
She added: “I know people will be outraged I am selling the slots, or making a profit on other people’s, but there is no rule to say I can’t.
“The money I make pays for food and some luxuries for me like prosecco, make-up, clothes and bath bombs for me. I deserve a treat and I know I have earned it. I hope to get a well-deserved holiday out of it too.
“I am planning to continue my ‘personal PA service’ after lockdown.”
Tesco has confirmed it is launching an investigation.
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We were shocked and disappointed to hear about this.
“We now have more than 1.2m weekly slots, with priority access for our most vulnerable customers.
“We continue to encourage customers who are able to shop in store to do so, so we can free up more slots for people who really need them.
“We’re investigating this abuse of our system, which is designed to be as fair as possible, and will consider closing any accounts linked to it.”