'Do the right thing': Coles and Woolworths tighten toilet paper limits

Coles and Woolworths have announced they will tighten the limit on toilet paper packs allowed per customer in response to growing customer chaos amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Instead of being allowed four packages of the sought-after bathroom essential, Coles customers will now be limited to buying just one pack at a time.

On Thursday, Coles followed Woolworths’ lead in enforcing the four-pack limit, but shoppers still expressed widespread difficulties in trying to get their hands on the product, some reportedly visiting up to five stores in search of a pack.

A flyer seen inside a Coles store and shared online notified customers of the stricter limit, saying it is “the right thing to do”.

“There’s enough toilet paper for everyone, if we all do the right thing,” the notice reads.

The store notice was posted online.
A sign seen in a Coles store notifies customers of the change in policy. Source: Facebook

Angry customers flooded the Facebook page of both Coles and Woolworths to complain that the four-pack limit had not been effective in stopping people panic buying bulk supplies.

The hysteria grew to such heights on Saturday, that there were two separate in-store instances of fights breaking out over toilet paper.

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia on Sunday the one-pack limit would be enforced for customers shopping both in-store and online, to “help improve access to toilet paper for our customers”.

“Our suppliers have increased production and we are making additional deliveries to stores, while our team members work hard to restock shelves in stores,” Coles said in a statement.

“The vast majority of products in our stores and via Coles online remain available for customers. This additional measure will allow us to maintain stock levels in stores so more customers will be able to purchase the products they need.”

The supermarket shared a photo on Sunday afternoon of what it said was new stock headed for stores.

“Toilet paper arriving from our suppliers this morning, loaded onto our trucks and being delivered into stores,” Coles said alongside an image of a warehouse full of toilet paper.

An image of a warehouse full of toilet paper can be seen.
The supermarket tried to assuage fears with this picture Sunday afternoon. Source: Facebook/Coles

Woolworths reduces limit to two packs

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia on Sunday that the retailer would be introducing a two-pack limit for customers.

“To ensure more customers are able to purchase what they need, we now have a two-pack per transaction limit on toilet paper, both in-store and online,” they said.

"We continue to work closely with our suppliers to get products onto shelves as quickly as we can. The makers of Kleenex, Sorbent, Quilton and Woolworths own range of toilet paper are continuing to produce extra stock in Australian facilities to meet the demand.

Coles toilet paper seen stacked up in the aisle.
Coles customers will only be allowed to buy one pack of toilet paper per transaction. Source: Getty Images

“As a result, large volumes of toilet paper supply are flowing through daily to our stores nationwide. With this ongoing stock delivery, we encourage customers to continue purchasing only what they require.

“It's worth noting that the vast majority of products aren't affected and there aren't significant shortages in most stores and online.”

Panic buying began earlier this week which saw supermarket shelves across the nation become cleared of toilet paper and other household staples including rice, pasta, canned food and water.

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