IT was the feeling of the utter injustice of it, that same absolute indignation of a school pupil chastised for some infraction carried out by their neighbour, their protestations of innocence disbelieved.

My first trip to the supermarket was yesterday and it's the first time the crisis has really hit home, so sheltered have I been in my office looking at the news of shop closures, cinema closures, lockdown and the rest as an observer at a distance.

I hadn't been out, basically. And I didn't particularly want to go out but my mum is, let's say, of a certain age and so I'd prefer her at home while I do the shopping for her. I'd rather she wasn't travelling on the bus to the supermarket during the pandemic and surely it makes far more sense for only one of us to be out in areas where strangers are mixing, rather than both of us.

Off I went, fortified with government advice on social distancing and with Dettol wipes and gloves in my pocket, just in case.

In the door and first stop, anti-bacterial spray on the trolley handle. During the Before Times I would dismiss as over-anxious those you'd see tucking a hand inside a sleeve to purpose their cuff for opening a door. I once went on a date with a chap who steadfastly refused to touch door handles, cutlery or glasses with his bare hands.

At the end of the date he asked if I would come with him to the petrol station and put diesel in his car.

I wondered if the entire thing had been an elaborate ruse to ensure he didn't have to touch the pump handle. Now here I am wearing gloves to buy fuel and enthusiastically attacking a shopping trolley with blue roll and spray before I'll touch it.

No one else was using the cleaning station, leaving me feeling troubled. Once through the cleaning area it was every shopper for themselves. Keeping a two metre distance was nigh-on impossible due to the width of the aisles and a temperament divide over those attempting to stay apart and those not giving a hoot.

There should be a universal religious fervour about social distancing, rather than it being an option depending on one's outlook. Some of us uphold Lent, some don't. Some of us observe Shabbat, some don't. All of us should treat the two-metre rule as gospel.

Not least, it's awkward if one person is diving out of the other's way when the second person is more relaxed. It feels a bit offensive to be ostentatiously avoiding someone who is not in any way trying to avoid you.

But I did my level best. The shop took three times longer than it normally would due to avoiding, say, the cucumbers when someone else was perusing them, or ducking out of the poultry aisle as two ladies were embroiled in deep gossip.

Finally it was time for the checkout. I scanned for the least busy till. At some conveyor belts people were stacked like sardines. It was distressing to watch. The woman in front of me was well behind a red and white tape line on the floor. I stood behind her at a decent distance, trying not to block the aisle.

"Look at those people," I thought, "An orgy of germs merely licking distance from one another."

"YOU!" Came a bellow. I looked round to see at whom the bellow was directed. The cashier was staring right at me. Was she about to praise me for being a model pupil? She was not. "Get back! That's not two metres!" The woman in front of me birled round in a panic as if expecting me to be close enough to nibble her ear. I suggested she might take a slight step forward to make up the change and was rewarded with a further chiding for my cheek.

By this point I wished I'd never left home and thought about telling them to keep their shopping. As luck would have it, I needed do no such thing because it turned out they ruddy well were going to keep their shopping whether I liked it or not.

Despite the website and signs up in store saying there would be a limit on everyday essentials to three items per customer, there was a further ration of even more essential items to one. I had two of these - one for my mum and one for me.

The lady behind me piped up to say she is a carer and had the same items, one for her and one for the person she cares for. No, absolutely not allowed, we would have to put one of the two back.

A man further back again in the queue wasn't in need of anything of the things we were in need of and offered to buy one for the carer and give it to her outside. Not allowed, said the manager, who had appeared to return our forbidden fruits, milk, bread and soap back to the shelves.

I am sure the staff members feel stressed and burdened and I felt for them. I also felt shaken from my very firm telling off. But feelings matter very little in a crisis. Practicalities matter greatly.

By reducing purchase limits to one, the supermarket is forcing customers to make two shopping trips when one would do. I had planned to spend the rest of the week in isolation but will need to go to the shops again to pick up the vital supplies I was forced to leave behind.

At the moment I'm responsible only for myself and Ma Stewart but there are others who I am sure will need support eventually too. Without being able to buy more than one item at a time, that becomes a daily shopping expedition rather than one a week.

While we've all been lambasting them, could the stockpilers be the responsible ones? Not those who have enough tins to do until the four horsemen arrive or enough loo roll to insulate a bunker, but those who anticipate needing to suddenly self-isolate for 14 days and who, sensibly, don't want to go out if they do.

Preparedness is not always greed, and a desire to help others yet stay safe at the same time should be enabled by big business. There must be a balance between rigid limits and store cupboard over-enthusiasm.