Weeks into Auckland’s level 4 lockdown, after watching the rest of the country tucking into their favourite takeaways, some Aucklanders are going to extraordinary lengths for a taste of normality.

Video shows shoppers queued inside the Pak’nSave Manukau store waiting for the daily offering of fried chicken to become available in the deli section.

One shopper who recorded the video said there were around 45 people queuing inside the store, a full 30 minutes before the chicken went on sale.

He told the Herald that the store sold the product before lockdown but there were never queues like this.

Another video posted to TikTok showed a shopper arriving 30 mins before the chicken was put on sale at the store.

He claims that he then had to “kill time” and showed a video of a child playing on a trolley while they waited for the fried food to become available.

Describing the others in the in-store queue as “fake shoppers” he showed trays full of fried chicken waiting for sale and then the same child with takeaway-style buckets.

Pak’nSave Manukau has made repeated appearances on the list of Locations of Interest after a visit from an infected person.

Another video, from the Royal Oak store, shows a large menu offering deals with familiar names such as “Family Feast”.

The shopper in that video said they forgot what they intended to buy when they saw the fried chicken – and offered the product a 6/10 for taste compared to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The Herald approached Foodstuffs, the company that operates Pak’nSave and New World supermarkets, for comment on this story.

By the time of publication, Foodstuffs NZ had not responded to queries over the scenes depicted in the TikTok videos, or to questions about which stores offered the takeaway fried chicken.

They did respond to an earlier question regarding safety issues raised by the queues seen inside Manukau Pak’nSave.

Antoinette Laird, Head of Corporate Affairs for Foodstuffs NZ, told the Herald that the company was “working extremely hard to ensure adherence to alert level protocols” and that the safety of their teams and people remained a top priority.

“The deli is often a popular stop in-store and fried chicken, which is available at many Pak’nSaves, is a favourite with our customers at Pak’nSave Manukau. All Foodstuffs stores are 100 per cent locally owned and operated, and each store has the opportunity to tailor their offering to the specific needs of their community,” Laird said.

She said that, where practical, stores are introducing additional measures to help customers physically distance and ease potential temporary congestion points in-store.

“These solutions are varied and depend on the store needs and include: reducing the menu offer, purchasing additional cooking equipment and adding more signage on the store floor to help customers easily identify a 2m distance,” Laird added.

“We know it’s not easy shopping at the moment and it’s a challenging time for everyone. We ask customers continue to play their part by maintaining 2m distance both inside and outside the store, scanning in, #mask-up, #shopnormal and be kind to each other. We can get through this together. Kia Kaha.”

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