A couple of Asian shoppers were kicked out of a Big W store in Australia after allegedly getting involved in a scuffle for exceeding the two-tin baby formula limit per purchase.
Part of the incident was caught on video and posted on Facebook by user Nikki Schoerie on April 11. It occurred at a Big W branch in Lilydale, northeast Melbourne.
The incident started when the man was in line at a self-service checkout and was seen trying to buy four tins of baby formula, 29-year-old witness Stephanie Groen told the Daily Mail.
A supermarket staff member stopped the couple from exceeding the limit and said they were allegedly seen at the same store with more of the same product that same day.
After being confronted and questioned, the man reportedly became aggressive and started to argue with the staff and refused to return the product, Groen said.
“I told him to put the tins back, but I only said something because I was standing there with my trolley and I couldn’t get past – he was holding everyone up,” Groen, who became frustrated, said. “As soon as I did, he turned to me and asked, what’s it got to do with you?’ And when I looked at him…he had crazy in his eyes.”
The man swore and yelled at Groen until an elderly man, who Schoerie identified as Rod, approached them and told them to put the products back. The latter also claimed to see the two at a local pharmacist buying baby formula earlier that day.
“I’ll take you outside, buster,” the man, who suddenly turned hostile, told Rod.
Although Groen tried not to touch anything or anyone over the fear of contracting COVID-19 and passing it onto her children, she instinctively pushed her cart between the two men to prevent a potential brawl.
“You could tell that he really going to lose it,” she said of the man holding the baby formula. “It was scary – he went full aggressive.”
Unfazed by the social distancing rules, the two men were face-to-face during the scuffle. The aggressive man then threw the baby formula into a trolley and ripped his face mask off as he prepared to lunge at the older man before witnesses interjected.
“You’re not allowed to buy the formula and that’s it,” a store staff member said as a security guard escorted the couple out of Big W.
“I probably shouldn’t have gotten myself involved,” Groen said, adding that no one else in the line said anything nor intervened. However, she was compelled to stop the escalating situation before someone got hurt.
“If I hadn’t done anything the situation definitely would have turned violent,” she said. “He went full crazy over formula.”
Asked if she was shaken by the incident, Groen said she’s not afraid of the possibility of bumping into the couple again when she returns to the store.
“I’m a big Dutch woman and I feel like I can defend myself,” she said. “I’m just sick of seeing all the baby formula disappear leaving none for people who need it.”
Many supermarkets in Australia imposed a two-tin baby formula limit as a way to stop “daigou” shoppers, or people who buy products overseas and sell them online in the Chinese market for profit.
Feature Image Screenshot via Nikki Schoerie