Viral Coles photo sparks outrage
A COLES customer says she has "never been so disgusted" after snapping a viral photo of what appears to be a baby formula express lane at her local supermarket.
Deanna Gatt posted the photo to Facebook on Thursday of staff at the Casula Mall Coles in NSW helping customers buy baby formula directly from a metal pallet, apparently in violation of the store's own two-tin purchase limit.
"The store was busy and there was several check-outs unattended and multiple lines of customers waiting for be served," she wrote in the post, which has been shared 3400 times and attracted 4000 comments.
"However I look beside me and there is two separate cashiers serving customers purchasing a whole giant load of baby formula. The trolley in the pic was filled to the top! They had special treatment - they even had a third Coles member placing the formula containers on the registers for them."
Many parents have complained of baby formula shelf shortages amid surging demand over the past five years from "daigous" who resell the products to customers in China at a massive profit.
Supermarkets insist there is no shortage, with stock typically held in reserve for parents who ask at the customer service desk. Nevertheless, the sight of baby formula hoarding continues to generate controversy.
"I have been shopping at this store for my whole life," Ms Gatt wrote on Facebook. "Not only was the customer assistant rude to me when I voiced my concerns, I was told to be quiet and mind my own business."
She added, "Even though they may have been buying two at a time, they weren't going in and out of the store they were just clearly rotating their position in the cashier line. I was told by the Coles member that they weren't doing anything wrong and that it wasn't against Coles policies."
Ms Gatt said Coles was "happy to do the wrong thing because it lines their pocket".
"Coles you should be ashamed of yourselves," she wrote.
A Coles spokeswoman said the supermarket was "committed to ensuring our customers have access to infant formula and as a result we are limiting sales quantities to two units per customer".
"In this instance our team members were complying with Coles' two-tin policy and processing sales to customers through one register to minimise disruption to other customers shopping in the store," she said.
"We are working with our suppliers on solutions to improve availability for customers. Where formula is unavailable, we encourage customers to speak with their local store manager."