Baby milk formula purchase DENIED due to having an Asian sounding last name.

Baby milk formula purchase  DENIED due to having an Asian sounding last name.

DENIED. Adrian Cheng could not believe his eyes as Woolworths online refused to honour his purchase of baby milk powder. He even ordered as per the restricted  number of four tins. A once loyal customer of the retail giant and a former employee, Adrian when confronting customer service was told he may have committed fraud. Was it that his last name being seemingly “Chinese” set off alarm bells for Woolworths, despite the fact Adrian is Chinese Australian?

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This would have been okay, if it was just one off, but interestingly it was not. Reginald Dong, who also ordered four tins of baby formula on Woolworth’s online shop, also got his order cancelled. When he contacted customer service he was told he breached the terms and conditions, despite the fact he ordered the limit of four. On Facebook Sarah Kong, also complained to the Woolworth’s Facebook page, and has not received a response from the retail giant. Sarah, a Korean Australian, faced the same problem that Cheng and Dong did and has not received a response from the retail giant to date.

The question which needs to be asked is was there an element of racial profiling in this country, due to the misdeeds of a few? Now it is true that baby milk formula is in high demand in the Chinese market, particularly after the deadly tainted milk scandal in 2008, and in 2013 where a temporary ban was imposed by the Chinese Government on baby milk formula imports after a strain of bacteria was found in some of the products. However, China till this day still predominantly relies on New Zealand for its milk powder products, as opposed to being fully reliant on Australia.

In understanding the situation in China, it is not surprising, that many Chinese tourists are leaving Australia with eight, ten or more cans of baby milk formula. In actual fact, any parent, regardless of their ethnicity would do the exact same thing.

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The xenophobic spotlight is on the Chinese, and with the pre-existing and simmering fears of a “Chinese invasion”, we need a change in how Australians view those of Chinese ancestry and these incidents.

The worst thing about this, is that families like Cheng and Dong, who are Chinese Australian families, and Kong who is Korean Australian are also being clumped into this group just because they have Chinese sounding names. Before this incident, Woolworth’s were also in hot water when shoppers spotted two different signage, one written in Chinese with different baby milk formula tin limits.

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At the end of the day, Woolworth’s have the responsibility to issue both Adrian Cheng, Reginald Dong and Sarah Kong and their families a formal public apology. There is no reason why they should be denied a purchase if they followed the rules. There is also probably other Chinese Australian families who have also been denied their purchase of baby milk formula but who are not making it public.

Before this incident, Woolworth’s were also in hot water when shoppers spotted two different signage, one written in Chinese with different baby milk formula tin limits.

The Progressive Movement for Chinese Australians have started a petition demanding Woolworths issue a formal apology to the affected families and to the Chinese Australian community.

Pictures were sourced from news.com.au and SMH