Spain in crisis: are ice cubes the new toilet paper?

In Madrid, wholesalers can't keep up with ice cube deliveries and restaurants are struggling to meet demand. Now reports about shortages have triggered panic buying. Commentators recall the empty toilet paper shelves at supermarkets during the pandemic and suspect genuine fears underneath the ironic tone of this summer debate.

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El País (ES) /

Citizens clinging to symbols of security

El País sees the panic buying as a sign of the seriousness of the situation:

“Overwhelmed by the circumstances, the people think they can regain a certain control over everyday life by buying the necessities, which then, however, become those goods that are in highest demand. This new chapter of mass panic buying illustrates the uncertain environment in which Europe is now navigating. ... This gloomy panorama is reinforced by the power of social networks. Images of empty refrigerators, as well as fake news and exaggerations, intensify fears that supplies of the desired product will run out. These platforms explain to a large extent the fact that the phenomenon of panic buying is becoming more frequent. This time it is driven by the panic of being left without frozen water.”

ABC (ES) /

The death of little luxuries

ABC laments that Spaniards are now being robbed of even the small pleasures of daily life:

“The ice that is breaking up in the Arctic. ... The ice that is lacking in this Spain that has become a Sahel. ... Having no ice cubes, sleeping badly, drinking the warm municipal tap water broth are all signs that we are heading inexorably to perdition. ... The death of the enjoyment of ice cubes has led to the outcry of the common people who are being deprived of one of the few pleasures still left to them. ... Going to get ice, opening the freezer at the petrol station - these were tiny luxuries poor children could enjoy. Now they are just memories in this Spain that is in flames everywhere.”