BAGGING a Christmas delivery slot before they sell out can be a mission – but there are hacks you can use to book one even when there are none left.
Shoppers are flocking to book their slots and get their festive food in earlier this year as shortages threaten Christmas Day feasts this year.
The PM admitted earlier this month that toys and turkeys could be in short supply this year as the HGV driver shortfall continues to wreck havoc across the country.
While the chancellor Rishi Sunak also warned shortages will hit families this Christmas.
The country is facing a gap of 100,000 delivery drivers – meaning that not enough deliveries of food and goods are being made to keep up with demand.
It's meant Brits have scrambled to buy their festive food earlier this year, with turkey sales up 409% and 250,000 Christmas desserts already ordered.
We've outlined what the dates for your diary are in terms of clinching a slot.
But with competition at an all-time high, we explain how you can bag a slot even when shops have sold out.
Check if you're eligible for a priority slot
Last year, supermarkets dramatically increased the number of slots available to vulnerable or isolating customers during the Covid crisis.
It meant that those who couldn't get to the shops were able to book a slot reserved for shoppers who needed a delivery most.
These are separate slots from the main ones – meaning that you may be eligible for a delivery at Christmas even if all other slots have run out.
Resolver consumer expert Martyn James said to check whether you're on the government's priority list – this means you should be able to reserve a slot ring fenced for the most vulnerable.
He told the Mirror: "Each supermarket has a Q&A explaining how this works, but in short, if you were shielding over lockdown because you were classed as vulnerable, you should already be on the priority list."
Sign up to emails from supermarkets
If you've lost out on a slot, then all hope is not lost, savvy saver Joseph Seager, who runs the Dad Fat Diary blog, said.
He told The Sun that supermarkets will likely release more slots in the run-up to Christmas though, so make sure you keep refreshing the website.
"Supermarkets know that demand will be off the scale so will be releasing more slots over the coming weeks," he said.
"By setting up accounts on the supermarket sites and making sure you tick to receive emails you should be informed as to when new slots are released.
"However it's also worth putting reminders in your phone to check each morning or evening as slots can become available if people cancel.
Don't be loyal
You might have your favourite supermarket you get your groceries from each week.
But as Christmas is a busy time for shops, it's best to register your interest for Christmas delivery slots for more than one shop.
Then, make sure to register for a Christmas delivery pass scheme to boost your chances of nabbing a slot, Joseph added.
These slots are released to customers who have signed up, before they are released to the general public.
Shops like Morrisons offer this benefit.
Ask a friend
Christmas shopping slots can be like gold dust – so if you know a friend or a friendly neighbour who has managed to book one, it might be worth seeing if they can order some of your groceries in too, shopping expert Naomi Willis said.
Naomi, who helps run finance blog Skint Dad, said: "You could politely ask if they’d be willing to add what you need to their delivery."
She says it could be a better bet than waiting until a slot comes available if a shopper cancels their booking – the chances of which are "pretty low", Naomi said – and requires you to keep refreshing the supermarket's website.
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