Dad’s desperate plea to Woolies
A SYDNEY dad has written an open letter to Woolworths begging the supermarket to once again reduce the number of tins of infant formula customers can purchase.
"We are a group of concerned customers who are struggling to obtain baby formula for our babies/toddlers, due to some customers buying eight or more tins," said the handwritten letter posted on Woolworths' Facebook page by Ivan Chan.
"We have to keep calling stores all over Sydney to feed our children. The problem has become acutely worse since Woolworths increased the per customer limit to eight tins. We demand Woolworths bring the limit back down to two tins per customer to ensure adequate supply for Australian families."
Woolworths increased its limit from two tins per customer to eight in August, following Coles' move the previous month, with both supermarkets citing improved supply following years of long-running shelf shortages.
Baby formula is popular among 'daigou', or personal shoppers, who buy up stock and resell the products to customers in China at inflated prices. Some daigou can make more than $100,000 a year.
Scenes of Asian shoppers stripping shelves of products, queuing up in the dark outside chemists, filling trolleys and car boots and even pushing, shoving and running down supermarket aisles have generated outrage on social media.
Not everyone was sympathetic, with one user saying Mr Chan should "order your formula online or ask (Woolworths) to order in extra for you instead of complaining".
"Hungry babies don't wait for online deliveries. Hope you don't have to experience that one day," Mr Chan replied, adding he and the two other people who signed the letter had "all been trying to get some for several days".
"All the stores from all our neighbourhoods had sold out across Sydney," he said.
"As I said, this wasn't a problem until Woolies suddenly increased their limit by 400 per cent. We literally watched two women swipe everything off the shelf before we could get anything for ourselves."
Customer Julie Armstrong wrote on Woolworths' Facebook page that on Thursday morning she was "horrified to see 20-30 people running out of Woolworths with boxes of baby formula before running back for more".
"They were stashing it behind pillars to get more, the carpark was full of cars over flowing," she said. "I asked why, I was told by an employee it happens everyday, as the formula company likes the sales so they let them do it."
In response to Mr Chan's letter, Woolworths said it had "been working very closely with our suppliers and recently changed our formula tin limit as a result of improving supply in the market".
"Please know that we've shared your feedback with the relevant teams," it said. "We will continue to carefully monitor stock availability, supply arrangements and feedback from customers and will adjust the limit again if needed."