An anonymous Townsville mother, named Nadine, told Kidspot she was approached while purchasing cheap milk in Woolworths.
The stranger reportedly told Nadine: “It’s people like you that are contributing to the downfall of the local farmers – you and your $2 milk.”
Nadine defended herself by saying: “I support local businesses where I can – I buy my papers and mags from a newsagency when I can afford it and I buy bread from the local bakery, WHO THE F**K ARE YOU TO JUDGE ME!”
The cheap milk boycott started after dairy farmers rallied people to buy branded milk – but even struggling dairy farmers have admitted they sometimes buy cheap milk.
In response to Nadine’s story, Kellie Burns posted on Facebook: “Of course us (dairy farmers) aren’t the only people facing tough times. You do what you need to do and if that means you need to buy $1 then please do.
“Don’t be ashamed by it. No ones knows your situation, it takes a very rude person to pipe up to a stranger and dictate to them what they should be buying,” she said.
— Simon Tabet (@SimonTabet) May 17, 2016
Activists have been buying branded dairy to help out Australian farmers. Image via Twitter.
The boycott comes at a time when the Salvation Army have warned about disturbing new statistics” about poverty in Australia.
Their annual report found 68 per cent of people living in private rental properties or paying off a mortgage are experiencing extreme housing stress.
“What we’ve discovered is that life on the breadline is tough,” said Salvation Army Spokesman Major Gary Masters.
“People are just anxious to put meals on the table,” he added.
The Australian-wide survey found 86 per cent of people went without five or more basic items a week and that included meals.
“Those who are on Newstart – after they pay for their basic accommodation – many of them have less than $16 per day,” said Major Masters.
On that budget, poorer families purchase cheaper items because that’s what they “have to do”, he said.
The people who can afford to make ethical milk choices are making a huge impact while others are not as concerned.
Photos showed branded milk selling out. Image via Facebook.
“I accidentally bought Woollies milk the other day and only realised when I got to the counter, ” says mum-of-three Shauna Anderson.
“I was in a rush and with my kids and they were fighting and I just opened the fridge and grabbed it and ran and then when I got to the counter I wanted to hide it! Bad me. But I bought it anyway because as much as I love the farmers there was no fucking way I was dragging three kids back through the supermarket to the fridge at the back. Oh the shame,” she said.
For people who are not on the poverty line, there are other considerations surrounding their finances.
Confused about what’s going on with all this milk business? Monz has an explainer for you. Post continues after audio.
“Prior to milkgate, I have always purchased Coles or Woolies brand milk, just as I purchase their tinned products, pasta, etc. Why? Because it’s significantly cheaper. Yes, I feel guilty about this. But I also have a mortgage. In Sydney. Which is significant. So if it’s a choice between mortgage/bills/etc or expensive milk, I know where I stand,” says 24-year-old Karen.
“This is a very selfish view, yes, but if I start with the milk, then do I need to buy Aussie fashion, tomatoes, seafood, etc? Where does it end? My husband doesn’t agree with me and will always pick up non-supermarket brand milk (and we’ve now started to buy it post-milkgate) but I know eventually I’ll probably go back to buying the cheap milk,” she said.
Meanwhile, mother of two Katherine Daley says: “I don’t feel ashamed at all buying cheaper milk. I don’t feel bad either.”
The 38-year-old says she supports farmers in other ways.
“Next week someone will be moaning about the apples I buy. I buy what I want when I want with my money.”
Mad As Hell takes a look at milkgate.