A heartbreaking photo showing an elderly man forced to buy tissues at an Australian supermarket because there was no toilet paper left has gone viral.
Perth woman Justin Bowers shared the photo on Facebook, blasting shoppers across the country who had panic bought toilet paper out of fears a coronavirus pandemic could cause a shortage of supplies.
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Bowers said those still panic buying needed to "pull your f***ing head in" and think of the vulnerable people affected by the shortages.
"This absolutely broke my heart seeing this old man grabbing tissues because there was no toilet paper left!" Bowers wrote.
"I offered him the very few toilet rolls that I had as I couldn't bear to see him go without!"
She said people who had been buying up essential products in bulk should be ashamed of themselves.
"And shame on all the people who have been buying in bulk because it's affecting so many people who aren't fortunate enough to do so," Bowers wrote.
Bowers' post has now been shared more than 21,000 times and has attracted dozens of comments.
"It's disgusting. Next time I see some moron with a trolley full of toilet paper, I'm going to flip their trolley," one person commented.
"This is heartbreaking. People are so selfish," another wrote.
Others shared how they had seen distressed elderly people at the supermarket struggling to get basic items, with one woman posting a photo of her store's empty toilet paper section.
"This was 15 minutes after the store opened and the shelves were full, a few elderly broke my heart today when they said, 'What am I supposed to do now?'" she wrote.
The panic over toilet paper supplies shows no signs of slowing, despite assurances from toilet paper companies that supply is not at threat from coronavirus.
Major supermarkets Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have all introduced limits on the number of toilet paper packets that can be bought.
Kimberly-Clark, which manufactures Kleenex Toilet Tissue, has now increased its production to 24 hours a day at its South Australia factory.
According to Queensland University of Technology retail expert Dr Gary Mortimer the toilet paper shortage is being made worse by the product's bulk nature.
"The challenge with toilet paper is it comes in big, bulky packets and supermarkets can really only hold 150 to 200 packets in an aisle – those packets fill up an aisle pretty quickly," he explained.
"Supermarkets are also conditioned to hold small levels of inventory, which is replenished every night."
Yesterday Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci sent a statement to customers saying that this week was "unusual and challenging times".
Besides limits on toilet paper Banducci said there would also be restrictions on other items, with people only able to buy one 2kg pack of rice and two bottles of hand sanitiser.
"As you may have read, or seen for yourself, these are unusual and challenging times," he said in the email to customers.
"We know it can be frustrating when we don't have the products you need, or when delivery or pick-up windows are filled more than usual.
"We're working very closely with our suppliers to get products onto shelves as quickly as we can. The makers of Kleenex, Sorbent, Quilton and Woolworths own range of toilet paper have all increased their production to meet this very unusual demand."
Aldi has also reportedly put a 10 bottle limit on long life milk, while Costco has introduced similar restrictions.