Desperate Coles shoppers beg for more rapid Covid tests

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Coles shoppers desperate for rapid antigen tests (RATs) have formed huge queues at one store in Victoria, with staff saying they've "never" seen a line like it.

One frustrated shopper posted a series of Tweets on Wednesday morning after queuing up to get her hands on the elusive RAT tests from 7am at her local Coles store in Central West Shopping Centre in Braybrook, Victoria.

“My local Coles got RATS at 7am today and are only selling one per person. There’s a huge line already and they’re selling fast. $30 per [box],” she wrote on Twitter.

While waiting in the growing line, the woman explained that Coles were selling a box of two tests for $30 and five tests for $50 – with no option to buy a single test.

Desperate shoppers line up outside Coles supermarket to buy rapid antigen tests
Desperate Coles shoppers lined up to buy rapid antigen tests from 7am. Source: Twitter

By the time the customer reached the front of the line she counted only 30 boxes left, despite the line of frantic shoppers continuing to grow.

“People are desperate to get more than one RAT,” she wrote. “One man said, ‘I have a big family.’”

Coles implements one-pack purchase limit for RAT tests amid strong demand

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that amid high demand from shoppers, the supermarket has implemented a RAT test purchase limit for all shoppers.

“We are seeing very strong demand for the Hough Covid-19 home test kits sold from the service desk of our supermarkets,” said the spokesperson.

“To help manage demand, we have a one-pack purchase limit in place, and we are regularly replenishing stocks for our stores.”

According to the Coles website, the Covid-19 self-test kits are “currently unavailable across many of our stores, and are temporarily unavailable online”.

Instead, shoppers are encouraged to continue to check local stores at the Customer Service Desk.

‘I’m probably going to get Covid from this. It’s a hot spot’

Meanwhile, Coles staff were growing increasingly worried at the swathes of people queueing to get their hands on a test.

“I’ve worked Christmas Day, New Years Eve and never a line like this,” a stressed Coles employee told the shopper.

“I’m probably going to get Covid from this. It’s a hot spot,” added the supermarket employee.

The concerned shopper shared a series of photos of the lines winding out of the shopping centre on Twitter, saying people had travelled from all over Melbourne to secure a RAT test amid soaring Covid numbers.

Shoppers line up outside a Coles supermarket in Malvern in Melbourne
Coles employees share fears of getting Covid amid hige lines of shoppers waiting for RATs. Source: Getty

'Find a Rat' website launches to help people find home testing kits

With RAT tests currently flying off the shelves at supermarkets and chemists, the ‘Find a Rat’ website was launched on Monday to help people find home testing kits.

Created by software developer and Pipelabs co-founder Matt Hayward, 'Find a Rat' allows anyone to find where RAT kits were last seen and where they are out of stock.

Mr Hayward told Yahoo News Australia the site received over half a million visits in less than a day and the public response has been positive.

"It's really great to see the community come together and help share information and help keep everyone safe," he said.

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