A Coles supermarket in Melbourne came under fire for an aisle sign indicating Asian food items in the same section as pet food.
A Reddit user posted a photo of the store’s Aisle 10 sign, which reads, “Cat food, Dog food, Asian” with the caption “How are these 3 categories related” in the r/Melbourne subreddit.
Many Reddit users were quick to label the sign as “racist,” questioning why the Asian food was sectioned together with pet food.
“I’m not exactly the most PC person around but um…isn’t that kind of a racist implication?” one user commented.
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“75% of the supermarkets I’ve been in have the same layout, so how did this sneak in?” another user wrote.
Other users suggested that the supermarket may have been going through rearrangements, also noting the odd combination of rice and cleaning products in the next aisle.
“Assumption you’ve pulled the racist card when more than likely it’s not,” one user replied. “Looking at the other aisle, it’s just as quirky with the stocking. Likely, they’re moving stuff around and doing it over a few days, so come back in a week, and it’s probably going to be different again. Our Coles reshuffle shelving all the time.”
“It’s pretty clever if you are designing it to force customers to use every aisle,” another user argued.
The supermarket has since changed the signage following the online backlash. A Coles spokesperson also explained that each of the Coles supermarkets in Australia have different layouts. The spokesperson noted that the Melbourne store specifically has “split aisles with signs at each end to make it easier for customers to navigate.”
“While the signage appears to show pet food and Asian food located next to each other, they are actually in very separate sections,” the spokesperson told News.com.au.
“While we would typically aim to ensure special ranges, such as Asian or other international foods, are located within the grocery section,” they added. “In some smaller stores or where aisles are split, they may be found in a different area.”