• Fri, Mar 21 - 6:00 pm ET

Woman Asks Why Store Isn’t Stocking Formula, Unbelievably Told She Should Be Breastfeeding

Woolworths Supermarkets Ahead Of Annual ResultsAn Australian woman sent an email to her local headquarters of Woolworths to find out why the store wasn’t stocking her formula with any regularity anymore. She got a call from the regional manager saying there hadn’t been much of a demand for it and she should be breastfeeding anyway. Jaw – meet floor.

She told a local radio station that the manager first started to explain the reasons why he couldn’t supply the stock: “He then said to me he didn’t feel it was a needed product… and when I queried… he told me there isn’t a lot of newborn formulas on stock because newborn babies should be breastfed.”

Woolworths has gone into damage control, apologizing directly to the woman on their Facebook page:

We are very sorry that you not only had a bad experience in one of our stores, but that you had been both upset and dissatisfied with the responses received from your contacts with Woolworths.

We will get one of our senior managers to contact you and talk through both our response and the issue of stocking the newborn formula in her local Woolworths store.

Woolworths stocks a range of formula in its stores around Australia. We believe that mothers should be supported in their individual nutrition choices for their newborn children whether that be formula or breastfeeding.

Wow. Why is a man with a chip on his shoulders about formula-feeding mothers the manager of the “Baby, Formula and Needs” section of the store? That seems odd. It’s really disturbing that one person’s bias can effectively get a product off shelves for no reason. It is beyond annoying to go to a giant store like Woolworths and have them be out of formula. I wonder how many women were inconvenienced by this? I’m sorry, but this is a big deal. This guy should be fired – not for openly judging a customer but for seemingly withholding necessary stock. What a fool.

Every time I read another story about someone giving an unsolicited opinion about how a woman decides to feed her child – I feel like my brain is going to explode. I don’t even know what I would do if the male manager of a store made a comment like that. I’m pretty confident I would start with “F**k off,” but I’m not sure what would come next.

(photo: Getty Images)

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  • Robotic Socks

    OK OK OK, so the pro-breastfeed only army vs. the anti-vax army

    Who wins?

    • pixie

      I think I’d like to see the anti-vax vs pro-life

    • Tea

      Pro-lifers tend to be armed, so my money’s on them.

    • pixie

      This is true, though still be highly entertaining for the rest of us!

      And maybe if the anti-vax people are severely beaten down the herd immunity will go up again?

    • Ptownsteveschick

      Oddly enough, most people I have met recently are either both of those or normal. Like WTF?

    • shel

      Wait, wait… can we get the Attachment parent vs. RIE parents in on this too???
      It needs to be like some crazy island Survivor type thing… think of the alliances and backstabbing… Who’s going to partner with who? Which parent is going to come out on top with an amalgamation of all of the above to be the ultimate sancti-whatever??

    • itpainsme2say

      Yes it could be called Mommy Wars

    • Mystik Spiral

      It only counts if it’s the CHILDREN of the “breast is best” vs. the CHILDREN of the anti-vaxxers. Which will result in the strongest children: liquid gold vs. natural immune system?

    • itpainsme2say

      I would literally pay money to have this study(war) done I for real want to know

    • Tsabhira

      It’s basically the same army anyway.

    • Lackadaisical

      While most people I know who breast fed are pro vaccines, those are the milder people who believe in a parent’s choice. Most of the militant anti-vaxxers are militant compulsory breast feeding for everyone as it can be part of the same conspiracy of toxins from industry thing. That means they would have to beat themselves up.

    • Tinyfaeri

      I’m cool with that.

    • rrlo

      I am totally pro-breastfeeding – as in I think it is a really good thing if mother and baby are interested and able – and extremely pro-vaccine. Those two are not mutually exclusive.

    • Andy

      Ditto. Both of my kids are boobie babies. They also get all their vaccines. While I’ve seen firsthand that breastfeeding protects a baby from the flu, I’m just not confident that my “liquid gold” can protect them from, I don’t know, polio or some equally nasty shit that’s a mere plane ride away from spreading into the US. Because science.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      The pro-breastfeed army. Simply ’cause they can use their breasts as weapons to squirt milk into the eyes of their enemies. Bonus points if they have an STD. Anti-vaxers don’t have needles as weapons because ‘duh they chose not to vaccinate!

  • Rachel Sea

    That dude needs to not work around people.

  • Lackadaisical

    How very judgemental. Mums can’t win, can we? If we breastfeed some people make it difficult and act as if we are lap dancers putting on a show at a young kids party and if we formula feed we are shamed for being allegedly selfish and neglectful mothers. I was about to respond with a “what about mums who adopted their baby or physically can’t breastfeed?” and then I thought that that starts to imply that there are good formula feeders who can’t help it and bad formula feeders who can. Basically this attitude is wrong as it is nobody’s business but the parents and how a parent feeds a kid does not reflect on their parenting one way or the other so long as the kid is healthy and fed.

  • Liz

    I mean… was formula not selling there? If there’s no demand for it, then I can see why he wouldn’t stock it. It’s not like that’s the only store in town, go somewhere else for formula. Yeah, his attitude sucks, but supply and demand.

    • Momma425

      I don’t think that the issue is that there wasn’t a big stock of formula. If there isn’t a big supply and demand there- fine. She can go to another store. I think the issue was the response given to this woman, being told that babies “should be” breastfed and shaming this woman for not doing so. It’s none of anyone’s business why she needs formula. Maybe she doesn’t have breasts. Maybe her milk never came in. Maybe she wants to enjoy a glass of wine. Maybe she is taking antidepressants. Maybe she is choosing to drink formula herself. Who freaking knows?
      The correct statement is not that babies should be breastfed. Babies CAN BE breastfed, or babies CAN BE formula fed. Neither is better or worse.

    • AP

      No one said it’s her biological child, either. Adopted and foster babies are entitled to food too!

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      Not on the same scale, but it’s like the other day when I wanted to order flowers for my mom to say thanks for helping me, and purolator (since when does purolator deliver flowers?!) fucked up. When I called and asked the manager and he was very passive about the issue, I asked him how he would feel if he had tried to have flowers sent to his own mother and this happened, and I got the snarky “well, I wouldn’t have the delivered in the first place, I would bring them in person” response. like F U guy. F U.

  • Liz

    I mean… was formula not selling there? If there’s no demand for it, then I can see why he wouldn’t stock it. It’s not like that’s the only store in town, go somewhere else for formula. Yeah, his attitude sucks, but supply and demand.

  • Mystik Spiral

    All he had to say was “It’s not selling, we’re losing money on it, we decided it’s not in our best interest to carry formula anymore.” Mom could’ve found a new place to shop, everybody move along.

    If a regional manager of a chain store can’t explain something so fundamentally simple without judging his customer’s choices, he’d be best off finding a new job. What a douchenozzle.

    • koolchicken

      It’s interesting. I used to work in a shop in a downtown area (financial district to be specific) and on the rare occasion we had people ask about formula or diapers that’s exactly what we’d tell them. We had six very small aisles so we weren’t about to waste space on something we’d have shoplifted WAAAAY more than purchased. Yet out of the five or six inquires a year at least half of them would be very, very rude. So perhaps the manager is just sick of people complaining about something he might not actually have any control over? I’m not saying he’s right, or that he handled the situation well. But you just never know what he’s just dealt with so I always try to cut service workers a bit of slack.

    • jsterling93

      Exactly! My son’s daycare called and said they had run out of his formula because they had forgotten to let me know they were short. I ran to the corner grocery and couldn’t find formula. When I asked I was told that it was shop lifted so much they just stopped selling it. I went to another store. No big deal. But don’t tell me what I should be feeding my kid.

  • JJ

    Why is a man who will never have to worry about breastfeeding or the inability to breast feed telling women what to do? I agree if he had just said, we don’t stock it here due to low sales, then I could understand basic business logic. But really to tell a woman she should be breastfeeding like its her sole job as mother? how do you know this woman’s story exactly. Maybe she can’t breastfeed due to milk issues, perhaps she is on medication she can’t stop taking or maybe she has to go back to work and doesn’t have time available to pump everyday at work. Hell maybe she just doesn’t want to breastfeed just because she doesn’t want to. It’s her right to decide that for herself not you Mr Regional Manager. When you are pregnant for nine months and give birth then maybe I will briefly ( and I mean briefly) listen to your opinion of breastfeeding but no female boobies = no say in how a woman feeds her child.

    • Momma425

      Even if he did have the ability to have kids of his own, his opinion STILL doesn’t matter.
      I chose to formula feed my kid. I don’t care if you have a penis or vagina, no boobs, man boobs, 2 boobs, or 10 boobs- nobody but ME gets to decide how I chose to feed my baby.

    • JJ

      Oh I completely agree. When I say would listen to his opinion or anyones on the issue briefly I mean for like two seconds before I laugh in their face and say, “it’s not you f***** business please shut up now” lol

  • RayneofCastamere

    So long as the’s kid’s getting the nutrition that he or she needs, it ain’t nobody else’s business how they got it. END.

  • Allyson_et_al

    Wow. If that had happened to me, I would have punched the guy in the throat, right through the phone.

  • rrlo

    I wish we could remove all the emotions and knee-jerk reactions out of the topic of breastfeeding. But it is never going to happen.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    Retailers. Pfft. I asked a Shoppers clerk about the Life Brand formula, and why they haven’t had it in stock in awhile. She was like, “Uh, I don’t know anything about formula, my kids are older now. I think they discontinued it.”
    Discontinued their Omega formula? Really? Looked it up online and no, it’s still being manufactured and sold. It’s remarkable how incompetent some people are about where they work. Be just a little familiar with the products for sale. At the very least, don’t make things up. And maybe not be flippant or impolite.

    • pixie

      Yeah, it really boggles my mind when people don’t know anything about where they work (except for new employees, they get a pass). You don’t even need to know about everything in the store if it’s a large store, just know your section. I worked in the “beauty” department (makeup, oral care, lotion, shampoo, that sort of thing) of a Superstore for a year and a half and I knew that department pretty well. Unless there was a special seasonal item that was in the flyer but not the store yet (unfortunately, this happened quite a bit, since the flyers were company wide and not all the stores had their systems updated in time or had received stock in time) I could tell what we had and what we didn’t in that section and if I wasn’t sure, I’d go look in the right aisle with the customer.
      I understand someone from one department maybe not knowing where something else is (I couldn’t tell someone exactly what aisle the steel wool was in, I got that before. Also for windshield washer fluid…) but I could point in the general direction.

    • Kaili

      I know! Whatever happened to “I’m not sure but I will find out for you. Do you have a moment for me to ask/call/smoke signal for your answer?” When I was a retail manager, I was pretty laid back. However, the was hell to pay if I caught my staff making shit up because it’s just too easy to ask! If no-one knows it’s pretty easy to take an email address for when you do find out. It’s called customer service and none of the practices I just spoke about are hard to do.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I wrote head office a letter of complaint. They’re going to talk to the lady and her manager, and see about why that product hasn’t been in stock. I wouldn’t have even considered writing the complaint if she had just looked into it for me. Discontinued indeed.

  • EX

    So there are a million reasons why what this manager said was not at all OK but all I know is that when my 3 day old baby hadn’t peed since coming home from the hospital and I rushed to CVS before they closed to buy newborn formula (in a snowstorm – no joke) to try to give my child some sort of nutrition because my milk had not come in and by any standards she was not getting enough to eat and was at risk of dehydrating and if they had been out of formula and if that manager had told me I should be breastfeeding anyway I may now be in jail for attempted murder. The end. Sorry for the run-on sentence.

  • ChickenKira

    You know, I was wondering why my local Woolworths has pretty much halved how much formula they stock, and gotten rid of the one that my daughter uses, guess I’m not going to ask now.
    Hello good friend Chemist Warehouse.

  • VĂ©ronique Houde

    OMG Why the FUCK does he even care

  • Frannie

    My initial thought was “They still have Woolworths?” Maybe this kind of customer service is why…

  • Kelly

    Gosh, I’m such a shitty mother. I should have just thrown my baby in the trash and started over when I couldn’t breastfeed.

    What the fuck is wrong with me? People like me are just ruining the world.

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