The Surrey coastguard were called to the Tesbury's Supermarket in Dorking yesterday to rescue Ashley Darr, a local resident, trapped in the vegetable isle.
"It was terrible," said Celia North, manager of the store. "There were hundreds of people jammed into the veg aisle trying to get the last parsnips. This poor man in the middle couldn't get out. There were trolleys all around him."
Store workers attempted to reach the forty-seven year old to extricate him from the mass of people and laden baskets but to no avail.
"Fortunately he had his mobile phone with him," said North. "And he could call for help."
The coastguard sent a helicopter to the store, and rescued Mr Darr using a winch lift.
"It was quite terrifying," said Darr after the incident. "I was bursting for a wee, but I couldn't get past all that metal work."
Mr Darr originally called the fire brigade, but they were having their Christmas dinner in a Hungry Horse off the A13.
"When I dialled 999, the woman said the fire brigade couldn't get to me before I wet myself, so she had the bright idea of sending the coastguard, and that was the best move all round."
Tesbury's have since looked at the design of the aisles to see if there is any way of improving safety for shoppers.
"Generally the aisles are very safe," said North. "We have no problem. But a perfect storm of shoppers had ensued, all wanting the last bag of parsnips. I'm not sure there is anything we can do to cater for this once in lifetime scenario."
Carl Rottop, who subsequently got the last bag of parsnips, was there during the rescue.
"It was incredible to watch that bloke get airlifted to safety," he said. "I used the distraction to grab the parsnips. I have got a confession. I don't normally eat parsnips. I don't like them. But hey, it's Christmas. We'd have sprouts as well. Except they'd all gone."