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A distraught mother has shared her experience at Coles on social media after an encounter with a checkout staffer about left her feeling “humiliated.”
The mother of eight took to the Coles official Facebook page to chronicle the incident that occurred at the chain's Miranda store in southern Sydney on Thursday.
The distressed woman explained that on Thursday afternoon, she visited Coles Miranda to purchase one kilogram of mince, two packs of chicken mince, four packs of sausages and other groceries for her large family.
However, when the young mother reached the checkout, she was told that there were strict product limits on meat and she could only purchase two packs of each meat.
“I asked her why, and she said it was, ‘Because of people stockpiling,’” wrote the woman in her post, which has since been deleted.
The mother told the cashier that she wasn’t stockpiling, but the groceries were for three dinners.
“Cashier then told me that it's not her problem and that this is happening at all Coles and that there's nothing she can do about it,” the shocked mother wrote.
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The desperate mother said that it had been over a week since she was able to find enough meat for her family’s dinners, so she thought she would grab enough for three nights’ worth to prevent a trip back to the store in a couple of days.
“I didn't realise I'd have to explain and prove that I have eight children by showing my three medicare cards, drivers licence, that we are a household of 10 people [...] in front of a dozen customers and cashier,” wrote the shopper.
Coles ask customers to 'purchase only what they need'
A spokesperson for Coles told Yahoo News Australia that their team members in store are working extremely hard to help customers, under challenging circumstances.
"Purchase limits are in place to ensure all customers have access to what they need, however, we understand that this can be frustrating as families come in different shapes and sizes," said the spokesperson.
"We are continuing to review our stock levels and work with our suppliers to ensure we are able to meet the heightened customer demand," they added.
Coles concluded by asking that "customers continue to treat their team with kindness and respect, and to purchase only what they need".
‘That’s not right’: Coles customers defend mother at checkout
When asked if she could purchase the meat in separate transactions to adhere to the Covid product limit, the Coles staffer informed her it wasn’t possible.
But, that’s when fellow Coles customers stepped in to defend the embarrassed shopper.
“A customer behind me could see how upset I was getting and said to the cashier, ‘That's not right, she has eight children she shouldn't have to explain her life story to you just to feed her family,’” she recounted.
At this point the Coles staffer apologised and allowed the shopper to purchase the remaining meat in separate transactions, much to her relief.
“You have no idea how humiliated I felt, how degrading it was for me to practically beg to be able to buy food,” said the woman,
The shopper added that the supermarket giant needs to be more lenient when it comes to bigger families and put restrictions on “preppers” who are stockpiling meat.
She suggested: “Privately ask for proof, Medicare card and driver's licence without embarrassing your customers.”
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