‘A Christmas to remember’: Shoppers scramble to buy bottled water on holiday weekend

MEMPHIS. Tenn. — During a chaotic holiday weekend marked by icy roads and power outages, Shelby County residents learned their water might be unsafe to drink.

“To have these boil advisories is just crazy,” said Vintrell Jones, who was buying bottled water on Christmas Day. “Getting water for Christmas on top of all the power outages– it’s just been crazy.”

“It’s not safe,” said Cathy Harlan, who was also buying bottled water. “It’s Christmas Day and I want to do some cooking.”

Memphis, Light, Gas, and Water issued the boil water advisory to include all customers after 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

RELATED: MLGW ends rolling blackouts, working to restore power

Customers complained that most grocery stores were closed by then.

“We definitely Googled what was open today, and Walgreens was the choice, so we came and bought what we could,” explained Erin O’Dea. “I’m just grateful that my pipes haven’t burst… a Christmas to remember!”

Walgreens customers told FOX13′s reporter Kate Bieri, that the small store had a limited supply of water, so they were forced to buy a handful of bottles at a time.

Memphis Light, Gas, and Water pledged to donate cases of bottled water on Monday at these locations.

RELATED: MLGW offering bottled water giveaway for customers with no tap water

“I understand how challenging this is for customers with low pressure or no water at all,” wrote Doug McGowen, the president of Memphis, Light, Gas, and Water. “Since we expect it will take another day or two to correct all these issues, MLGW and our volunteer partners will offer a bottled water giveaway for customers who have no working tap water.”

In the meantime, restaurants like Perkins scrambled to boil large amounts of water for dozens of customers on Christmas Day.

“People come in and they expect the greatest service in the world,” said Tyvaris Bush, a service leader at the restaurant. “It’s hard for people who are here trying to work on Christmas and cope with being here on Christmas.”

He told FOX13 that employees had to boil water, then purchase mass amounts of ice to cool it down.

He said staffers were constantly running across the street to buy dozens of bags of ice from the gas station.

“It’s been crazy running back and forth, getting ice from everywhere,” Bush said. “It’s a lot of stress just stacked on top of each other.”