In an April 7 video posted to YouTube, John-Paul Drake, director at Drakes Supermarkets in South Australia, shared a story about a customer who reportedly attempted to return a mass amount of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
“I had my first customer yesterday who said he wanted to get a refund on a 150 packets of 32-pack toilet paper and 150 units of one liter sanitizer!” Drake said. “I told him [shows middle finger] that. That is the sort of person that is causing the problem in the whole country.”
Prior to telling the story about the man attempting to return his goods, Drake spoke about panic buying and hoarding, claiming that the store’s “product limits” on toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and detergent were implemented in order to allow a broader number of people access to those items.
“If everyone had just bought the things that they’d needed for their immediate short-term, we would be fine,” Drake said. “But the reality is, we’ve had so many people hoarding products and buying products that they’re never gonna use.”
The grocery store director noted “some staggering statistics,” claiming that the stores have “sold eight months of toilet paper in four weeks,” as well as “a year’s supply of flour in nine days.”
As to how the man was able to purchase so much? Drake said in a LinkedIn post: “He had a team of people buying one of each across all of our stores!”
Appearing on Sky News Australia’s “Paul Murray Live,” Drake provided more detail, claiming that EBay had allegedly shut down the man’s store, which is why he wanted to return the items in the first place. Drake repeated that claim in an interview with ABC Radio Adelaide.
On “Paul Murray Live,” the grocery store director said that “one of the big guys said we’re not gonna take anymore refunds on toilet paper and sanitizer, and we made a pact to do that as well.”
As the story gained traction, some have commented on social media wondering why Drake wouldn’t accept the returned items in order to resell them.
“Why not take it back for half the price, lesson learnt to buyer, then sell it to the people at half price as you don’t have enough stock to go around? Time to use your head for good, not for attention,” one person wondered.
Another user suggested a possible reason why the items might not have been able to be accepted: “Since you can’t know where the stock has been or if the sanitizer has been watered down, tampered with, etc, you couldn’t be sure it was fit for sale.”
While many applauded Drake for his behavior, some found it inappropriate.
“Whilst I don’t disagree with the sentiment, it’s not exactly the most professional response I’ve seen. Perhaps understandable in the current context, but I’d still urge everyone to retain their professionalism when doing their job,” one user stated, adding that while customers can “sometimes behave unacceptably,” providers shouldn’t “stoop to that level.”
The comment garnered 16 “likes,” with one user responding: “Regardless of your customer’s behavior, as a service provider you ALWAYS have to remain professional.”
Professional or not, Drake appears to be taking the opportunity to get his face out there, providing a link in his video description to a merch store. Being sold in the online store are T-shirts of Drake giving the finger with the caption, “Give em one of these.”