Shoppers who have been buying baby formula cans in bulk at supermarkets in Australia with the intention of selling them online to China for a profit were recently captured on video, generating some backlash online.
A shopper named Hannah Dixon filmed the moment in a Coles store in Melbourne on Wednesday around noon when about 20 shoppers were lining up to pick up some baby formula.
She described the scene she witnessed as “crazy,” according to MailOnline.
Despite being told by the shoppers to stop filming without their permission, Dixon still allowed the camera to capture the entire moment.
“I understand, it’s just wrong,” Dixon said in the footage. “They’re just doing the rounds, they’re going through checkouts and coming back all over again.”
It is worth noting, however, that a Coles employee can be heard assuring Dixon that they have more formula for other customers. The claim of formula shortage, at least in this particular store, is unsubstantiated.
In an interview with “A Current Affair”, Dixon described what seemed to be a systematic way the shoppers operated.
“It was just chaos, they were going through collecting their items … just sprinting backwards and forwards,” she explained. “They seemed to be working together, they all had the same system.”
Dixon told the line of baby formula shoppers that while what they were doing was legal, “it was wrong.”
“There were workers telling them to stop running … it was a hazard to the other customers,” she was quoted as saying.
“I was shocked at first,” Dixon noted. “I thought there were people trying to steal things.”
China’s growing demand for Australian baby milk formula has reportedly been causing similar scenarios in other stores in Australia.
Some mothers have slammed the behavior on social media, complaining that the bulk-buying has resulted in shortages of milk formula for local consumption.
Previous complaints have led major retailers to enforce a limit of selling only four cans of baby formula per customer.
However, the bulk buyers would just purchase four cans, but before returning immediately to buy a new batch. In her interview, Dixon pointed out such loophole that the shoppers were exploiting.
In response to Dixon’s video, which she shared to Coles’ Facebook page, Coles stated that they are ensuring their “genuine” customers had access to baby formula.
“As we are currently experiencing unprecedented demand, we are limiting sales quantities to four units per customer,” Coles wrote. “We’re continuing our work to ensure our policies are strictly adhered to store to store.”
However, some bulk buyers’ unruly behavior led to some extremely ridiculous situations where Chinese mothers have been barred from buying formula milk on suspicions of selling the milk offshore.