Retail store Makro endured a PR nightmare on Monday – thanks to waves of customers who began stockpiling goods amid the coronavirus outbreak. With the introduction of social distancing and school closures, a few South Africans lost their heads big time and resorted to panic buying.
However, after skirting the issue yesterday, Massmart – who own the Makro brand – came out fighting on Tuesday. They confirmed that customer limits have now bee enforced, following a huge public outcry. Several videos shared online showed the lunacy of the aisle-raiders, but the company has promised a crackdown – which was followed up by a Tweeted message:
“Our trading brands – including Makro – have already started enforcing customer limits. Not least because we are mindful that stock piling hurts the most vulnerable consumers in our society.”
[UPDATE]: We have already started enforcing customer limits not least because we are mindful that stockpiling hurts the most vulnerable consumers in our society. pic.twitter.com/ANAoPOX0GA— Makro South Africa (@Makro_SA) March 17, 2020
Four of South Africa’s biggest supermarkets have also leapt into action on Tuesday. Pick n Pay, Checkers and Woolworths have already urged customers to refrain from stockpiling, whereas Shoprite were a little more conservative. They simply reassured the public that the shelves would remain full no matter what:
“We would like to assure you that you can continue to rely on Pick n Pay during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond. We have already seen an increase in purchases of certain products, and we ask customers to shop responsibly and with their community in mind.”
All Pick n Pay supermarkets and Hypermarkets will have a special pensioners’ shopping hour on Wednesdays from 7-8am, starting 18 March. Shoppers aged 65+ will have exclusive use of the store > https://t.co/7BkIMs4oXN— Pick n Pay (@PicknPay) March 17, 2020
“We’re monitoring demand and from time to time temporary limits may be applied where necessary. We understand customers’ concerns over coronavirus but appeal to all to only buy what they need so that everyone can get what they need.”
We're doing our best to ensure there's enough for everyone. Thanks for your support! #Sixty60— Checkers (@CheckersSA) March 16, 2020
“We have increased the number of hand sanitisers that you will find in stores and these will be available for use to prevent coronavirus, at the entrance to the checkout queues and at each till point. Extra trolley wipes are being provided for your use and our people are also exercising additional hygiene measures.”
In light of our President’s COVID-19 response, and the valid concerns of customers, our CEO has outlined our way forward: https://t.co/5hh1QaPwfj— Woolworths SA (@WOOLWORTHS_SA) March 17, 2020
Special thanks to our customers for being supportive of the new measures, and we ask that you shop with kindness and consideration.
“A task-team has been convened to give effect to adherence on existing operational policies in its business supply chain. Comprehensive response plans are in place across the business to cover contingencies including chain disruption, product sourcing, additional hygiene procedures, and education on coronavirus prevention.”