Woolworths shopper slams store over health emergency risk

A Woolworths shopper has slammed the supermarket for obstructing an emergency defibrillator in the entrance of a Western Sydney store.

The concerned customer shared a post to the Woolworths Facebook page, explaining that she was disheartened to see the defibrillator blocked by a flower display.

The woman witnessed the obscured defibrillator at her local Woolworths store in Merrylands, a suburb in Western Sydney.

Defibrillator located outside Woolworths supermarket
The Woolworths shopper voiced her concerns about an obstructed defibrillator. Source: Facebook/Getty Images

“Disheartening to see this in one of your NSW stores. When equipment like this is needed, minutes matter and it is obstructed by a permanent flower display,” wrote the woman in her scathing post.

In the accompanying photo, you can see the automated external defibrillator (AED) located on a pole directly in front of the store’s display of indoor orchids for sale.

The AED in the Merrylands store features the internationally recognised green signage to indicate there is a defibrillator in the store for all staff and customers.

However, the shopper is suggesting that the plant display is affecting the accessibility of the AED, making it difficult for people to retrieve the device in an emergency situation.

While there is no current legislation that explicitly mandates AED placement in Australia, NSW Health does recommend businesses ensure they are visible to all visitors, accessible and ready to use.

Woolworths shopper 'over it' after failed attempts to solve AED issue

The frustrated Woolworths shopper told Yahoo News Australia that after noticing the location of the AED, she informed team members and security guards at the store.

She also emailed Woolworths’ customer service team who assured her the “store will be informed”.

“I have been trying to contact someone from Woolies for almost six weeks now,” the shopper told Yahoo News Australia.

After several emails back and forth with Woolworths and a call with the Head Office on Wednesday, March 23, the shopper revealed there was still “no change”.

Woolworths shoppers exit supermarket with trolleys full of groceries
The Woolworths shopper confessed she was "just over it" and swore not to shop at the Merrylands store again. Source: Getty

“She said she emailed the store manager and he would call/reply to me in two to three working days. No response,” she explained.

The Western Sydney woman lamented that the “store manager is never available” and she did not expect a response from them following her public Facebook post.

“They are totally uninterested and there has been no change,” she concluded.

She then confessed she is “just over it” and swore not to shop at the supermarket giant's Merrylands store again.

Woolworths confirm store's defibrillator will be moved to more accessible location

A Woolworths spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that the Merrylands store will move the AED to a more accessible location.

"We’re in the process of having the store’s defibrillator moved to a more accessible location," the spokesperson said.

"We thank the customer for their feedback and have apologised for our delayed response."

Defibrillator inside a box for public use with green signage
Defibrillators deliver a controlled electrical shock to a person experiencing certain cardiac arrhythmias. Source: Getty

What is an automated external defibrillator (AED)?

An AED is a small, portable device designed to deliver a controlled electrical shock to a person experiencing certain cardiac arrhythmias.

According to the NSW Health website, anyone can use a defibrillator, as they come with verbal and visual instructions to guide people.

The website also reads that defibrillators "cannot hurt someone" as it "only shocks a person who is in cardiac arrest".

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