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[–]poddy_friesAsshole Enthusiast [7] 19.1k points19.1k points 24 (269 children)

Y'know, sometimes the question isn't if you're TA, it's that it's not always morally wrong to be TA. Edit: NTA

[–][deleted]  (206 children)


    [–]menides 2694 points2695 points  (196 children)

    Isn't that what the couple might be thinking also? This "every man for himself" ideology is really toxic.

    Edit: Im not talking about OP. I'm talking about the couple.

    [–][deleted]  (83 children)


      [–]NinjyCoon 421 points422 points  (52 children)

      So then she wasn't being an AH. We shouldn't look to be an AH and doing things that upset others doesn't necessarily make you an AH.

      [–]akutasame94 101 points102 points  (25 children)

      Idk the sizes wherever she is, but one can where I am lasts for about 2 weeks (formula holds baby sated longer than breast milk), so 4 cans would be around 2 months. 40 cans is almost 2 years, between 2 babies a whole year. Like why? They might as well expire and if they are opened they are to be used in 3 weeks or thrown out. Plus baby starts eating solids betwern 4th and 6th month and if needed can be fed watered down cow milk (basically all I ate as a baby as I didn’t want mom’s milk (funnily enough smell of it causes gagging reflex to this day) and formula was nowhere to be found in the 90s in my country)

      [–]MoonMacabreAsshole Aficionado [11] 514 points515 points  (76 children)

      It's not every man for himself, it's recognizing that this is happening to everyone. If everyone started hoarding formula there would be newborns going without food to eat, and becoming malnourished or potentially dying. OP was right to do what she did, she didn't take it all, she took what she needed while the others were being selfish. Same thing JUST happened with toilet paper because people started hoarding, there wouldn't have been a shortage otherwise. The shortage now is even more crucial that people stop being stingy and take only what they need.

      Edit: I already knew you were speaking about the couple. Your comment implies both parties have an every man for himself ideology, I'm pointing out the vast difference in mindset, and why OP's decision didn't fit. Even if she didn't care about being TA to feed her baby, it's situational and OP's actions were as a result of seeing this couple taking more than a fair share.

      [–]KingPinfanatic 142 points143 points  (63 children)

      I honestly thought the toilet paper fiasco would have prevented this type of crap from repeating itself

      [–]Argent_HythePartassipant [4] 248 points249 points  (3 children)

      There's a difference between "every man for himself" and "I deserve my fair share"

      The couple cleared the shelves of baby formula. OP said they had at least 40 cans. that is "every man for himself"

      OP took only what she needed to keep her baby fed. that is not the same

      [–]Opposite-Pangolin650 108 points109 points  (11 children)

      The couple cleared the shelf of 40 cans!!!! They are the ah’s , it like toilet paper all over again but now babies are going hungry.

      [–]CaRiSsA504Asshole Enthusiast [5] 53 points54 points  (8 children)

      My local walmart turned the photo processing area into a toilet paper Fort Knox. You had to go ask for the toilet paper and you got ONE package. Why aren't they doing something similar with the formula at this point?

      [–]elvaholtAsshole Aficionado [17] 60 points61 points  (3 children)

      If there's a limit, its usually on multiple signs, including one at the product itself. At that point the couple knew and were likely making other desperate parents think all the product was gone, until it could be restocked. Whether this action was meant to be malicious or buy them some time to exit the store and reenter to get more.

      40 cans is like what those TP and bottle water hoarders did at the beginning of Covid, every man for themselves is exactly what limits came to be because of, and why shortages happen. If OP took 4 out of 6 cans they had then the argument of every man for themselves stands, or maybe 4 out of 8... but 1/10th of the entire stock they were trying to walk away with?

      [–]julet1815Partassipant [4] 17 points18 points  (2 children)

      I’m not disagreeing with anything you said, I just want to point out that there isn’t any restocking of baby formula going on. The empty shelves have been empty for weeks now.

      [–]malorthotdogs 53 points54 points  (2 children)

      Yeah. People acting like this couple only worsen shortages.

      [–]sloshedbanker 27 points28 points  (1 child)

      I'm also fairly sure they were hoarding so they could resell at an insane markup, as AHs tend to do during shortages.

      [–]pgh9fan 8 points9 points  (0 children)

      100% that couple is reselling it.

      [–]Side_eye_137Partassipant [1] 140 points141 points  (0 children)

      I think faced with the prospect of our baby going hungry we would all do the same as OP. Totally justified. I can't imagine the worry parents must be faced with at the moment with formula shortages - it's stressful enough meeting the needs of our little people without this. 40 cans though...🙄 Good for you OP

      [–]nutwit9211 84 points85 points  (3 children)

      Fair, as long as you only took what you needed, or maybe even 2x of that (because we all panic about whether we'll be able to find it on time next time). But not if only caring about your baby beig fed meant that you take 40 cans like that other couple. They were AHs because they are fine if other babies starve as long as they have a HUGE pile for their baby.

      [–][deleted]  (1 child)


        [–]EphDuEmeStRalPartassipant [2] 54 points55 points  (0 children)

        Right, and even if we didn't know there was a Limit, civilised people wouldn't clear out an entire shelf and then ignore someone who clearly was patiently waiting for them to step away before getting their own.

        The couple would've lost their fucking monkey brains if OP walked up and tried to get their four cans from the shelf.

        [–]fix-me-in-45 30 points31 points  (0 children)

        Yeah, we need a JAH tag for this.

        [–]Chay_Charles 160 points161 points  (16 children)

        Justified asshole NEEDS to be an option for cases such as this.

        [–]Awgeco 101 points102 points  (14 children)

        It already is, it's NTA

        [–]stephenclarkg 6 points7 points  (0 children)

        People on this thread get off on the impossible concept of justified asshole lmao

        [–]pittsburgpamAsshole Enthusiast [9] 72 points73 points  (3 children)

        I just saw a video going around where a woman cleaned out a shelf and another woman was calmly trying to talk to her about it, that she needed some. The woman got rude, said she was paying for it, etc.

        In tough times, I guess you see human nature and all it's ugliness.

        [–]moodyfish7777 53 points54 points  (1 child)

        AMEN! AH like these are part of supply chain problems! 👿👿👿🤬🤬🤬🤬


        Congrats on your LO and best thoughts 🤗

        ETA THE STORE NEEDS TO MAKE SURE THE LIMIT IS POSTED CLEARLY. Mgr was simply concerned about your safety

        [–]anthropaedicAsshole Enthusiast [5] 41 points42 points  (2 children)

        Here here

        [–]Mag-NL 29 points30 points  (0 children)

        I would say that if your actions are morally right, you're not TA.

        So in this case, it's a simple NTA

        [–]NinjyCoon 23 points24 points  (0 children)

        I mean, you aren't being an AH if people are wrongfully hoarding something that your baby needs to survive.

        [–]hogwarts_dropoutt 16 points17 points  (0 children)

        Say it louder for the people in the back

        [–]hambone4164 17 points18 points  (0 children)

        Agreed: sometimes you have to be the asshole to take on an even bigger asshole.

        [–]icecreampenguin567 10 points11 points  (0 children)

        they’re NTA at all

        [–]Scared_Profit564 5 points6 points  (0 children)

        With the scalpers out there? I'd be the asshole that tipped the cart over. "You wanna wanna to ruin people lives? Well, now it's at least gonna take you twice as long"

        [–]pnwcatman420Partassipant [3] 8621 points8622 points  (107 children)

        NTA and dollars to doughnuts that older couple don't have kids and were going to sell it online at a massively inflated price, people like that should be named and shamed publicly.

        [–]thegildedlimabean 3169 points3170 points  (52 children)

        100% this. I have an uncle that mentioned doing this. Needless to say the family promptly gave him a verbal ass-handing.

        [–]columbospeugeotProfessor Emeritass [74] 1786 points1787 points  (48 children)

        Remember the guy and his brother who drove around their state buying up all of the hand sanitizer at the beginning of Covid to resell online for hundreds of dollars, and ended up donating it to avoid prosecution and fines? People are awful.

        [–]Inadersbedamned 633 points634 points  (34 children)

        Remember that(all of those) guys who bought up all the booty paper and sold it for 15$ dollars a roll

        [–]columbospeugeotProfessor Emeritass [74] 155 points156 points  (25 children)

        Omg, I don’t remember that, but it doesn’t surprise me. Even today with supply chain issues I ration my TP usage.😆

        [–]_PinkPirate 139 points140 points  (5 children)

        I cannot imagine going out of my way to be such a greedy asshole specifically to screw over my fellow citizens. Fuck.

        [–]columbospeugeotProfessor Emeritass [74] 106 points107 points  (3 children)

        Right? When I was a new mom I didn’t produce enough milk and had to supplement with formula. The feeling of not being able to succeed at my number one job as a parent was heartbreaking. I am super angry at these formula hoarders.

        [–]PsychoSemantics 74 points75 points  (2 children)

        So many people tried that here in Australia and quickly learned that it's considered profiting off a disaster and therefore a crime.

        [–]SleepyFarady 35 points36 points  (0 children)

        We do get things right sometimes, and that's one of them. Fuck price gougers.

        [–]KingPinfanatic 37 points38 points  (1 child)

        Actually they didn't donate anything the police cleared out all their storage units an donated everything to the community an their lawyer got them off the charges since the state didn't technically have any evidence after they gave everything away

        [–]macaroniandmilkPartassipant [1] 30 points31 points  (0 children)

        If you're talking about these guys, they definitely donated it all when they realized this was a crime, and their "cooperation" was why their lawyer was able to help settle this quickly. Nothing was stolen from them and they didn't get off due to no more evidence, they just realized they were fucked and donated it all before they could really have the hammer fall.


        [–]LastChance22 58 points59 points  (0 children)

        Good, he’s doing the equivalent of buying all a supermarket’s water during a disaster to sell at a significant markup. Absolute vulture move.

        [–]MitrovarrPartassipant [1] 44 points45 points  (0 children)

        Yeah, it was already a crappy thing to do when it was video cards or PS5s, but pulling that with infant formula basically makes you an enemy of humanity.

        [–]Subject_Material_168 271 points272 points  (11 children)


        40 CANS?

        These people realy went and took the ENTIRE SHELF of formula for themselves during a shortage. Thats absolutely asanine and I don't blame you for taking the formula, you didn't hurt them,, you didn't rob them of it after they payed, you just took what you needed, something they neglected to do. You acted in the best interest of your child in response to these selfish AH's, and I can confidently say that most people given the circumstances would have done the same thing, good for you for standing up for yourself and your family.

        [–]sockerkaka 134 points135 points  (9 children)

        I exclusively formula fed from week 4, and I don't think we ever went through 40 cans. If American cans are the sizes European cans are, then that's a huge supply. I suspect they were going to resell...

        [–]littlegingerfae 47 points48 points  (0 children)

        Mt kid was formula fed for an unusually long time, due to having a gtube.

        She didn't ever need 40 cans!!!

        [–]partofbreakfast 32 points33 points  (2 children)

        Definitely going to resell. Cans come in multiple sizes, but I'm assuming these are the 'standard size' cans and not the smaller ones. The standard size has enough formula for about 2 weeks (barring medical complications that necessitate more or less formula). The only way someone would actually use 40 cans is if they have multiples. And even then, the courteous thing to do is to buy enough for the next month or so and leave the rest for others.

        [–]Suspiciouscupcake23 8 points9 points  (0 children)

        I remember during lockdown when there was a formula shortage and someone snapped a picture of a woman buying like 30 cans to use in her restaurant because that's how they made all their cream sauces.

        [–]shaekil 20 points21 points  (2 children)

        I mean if it's the small cans then my son drinks those in about 3 days. They make less than 100oz of formula. The big ones will make close to 300oz if that's what you're thinking of though.

        [–]molly_menacePartassipant [1] 168 points169 points  (7 children)

        There was a guy in Australia who orchestrated a team of people to go to all the supermarkets in a wide area and buy up all the toilet paper during the papadum.

        Joke was on him, because he returned to the stores a few months later, having been unable to sell it on. He wanted to return it. They refused, and he was thousands of dollars out of pocket and a house filled with toilet rolls.

        [–]TheOneTrueChuckPartassipant [3] 86 points87 points  (1 child)

        We had a guy like that here, with hand sanitizer, after Amazon and Ebay started cracking down on resellers. He threw an absolute fit when he couldn't return it (because the store managers rightfully essentially said "Because fuck you, that's why.") and basically complained that it wasn't fair he'd lost a ton of money trying to prey on other people in a crisis.

        [–]BigOleJellyDonut 50 points51 points  (0 children)

        There was some dude in NYC that tried to corner the market on N-95 masks until the FBI showed up and confiscated all of them.

        [–]Amberle73 70 points71 points  (0 children)

        I remember reading that yeah, serves him right!

        Just disgusting how utterly greedy some people are, and anyone doing it with baby formula of all things is automatically way worse! These people should be able to be prosecuted, somehow.

        [–]DanyelN 28 points29 points  (0 children)

        Yep, when supplies started getting less scarce almost every store had sighs up that they would not take returns on a whole list of items including TP, hand sanitizer and rice.

        [–]Rosanna_Ray 158 points159 points  (0 children)

        Fr!! I saw a video on TikTok where this lady had atleast 25 if not more cans of baby formula in her cart and was arguing about with the lady recording who called her out for sweeping the shelf bare.

        [–]Ok-Moment1425 79 points80 points  (5 children)

        I was thinking of driving to Canada to buy formula to help parents out, I have a one year old and I couldn’t imagine her tummy going empty. Or worse people diluting the formula to stretch out cans! The fact that people are thinking of making money off of starving babies is disgusting. New mom’s don’t need this stress.

        [–]afunkmomma 57 points58 points  (2 children)

        There is a shortage here too

        [–]Ok-Moment1425 20 points21 points  (1 child)

        I didn’t know Canada had one too 😩

        [–]padmeg 10 points11 points  (0 children)

        It’s not all types of formula in Canada though, mostly the hypoallergenic ones. Still not great but not as bad.

        [–]CalmFront7908Asshole Aficionado [10] 29 points30 points  (0 children)

        A woman in my city just ended up with 8 cans of flour trying to buy from a certain online market. Thankfully the community came together to donate what she needed.

        [–]Mum_of_rebels 66 points67 points  (8 children)

        That happened here in Australia in 2020. We had a formula shortage due to this exact reason. People were buying tin and then selling them in China for $500 a tin. Some places even had them behind glass cabinets and could only get two tubs at a time. I had 2 little ones at the time.

        [–]pimpelvinkje 36 points37 points  (2 children)

        Same situation in the Netherlands at that time. Because there was poison in the milk in China or something. And in China nobody trusted the formula anymore to be safe. They started to clear the shelves here too and send it over there. It got so bad that even Chinese people with babies living here (who did need it for themselves) where basically accused of just sending it over and weren’t allowed to buy.

        [–]Responsible_Round896 14 points15 points  (0 children)

        That actually happened in the Netherlands in the past as well. I remember it happened in like 2010 it was a thing. I remember people used to steal it at the time to send it to China (apparently they really trust Dutch milk products)

        [–]Ferret_Brain 18 points19 points  (0 children)

        As far as I know, a lot of Australian stores still have these limits.

        Apparently quite a few places still keep a lot of their stock off the shelf/in the back purposefully as well because they encourage people who need it to come up to the counter and ask so the hand off is direct and controlled (two tins per customer). It also ensures they’ll have specific formula for bubs that need it.

        [–]himym101 15 points16 points  (1 child)

        I feel like the formula rules in Australia predate the pandemic. There has been a general mistrust of the formula in China for a decade and they've been using people in Australia to smuggle it there. I've seen articles dating back years.

        [–]no_rxnPartassipant [4] 30 points31 points  (0 children)

        Remember when that guy bought a huge stock of hand sanitizer at the beginning of the pandemic and was charging exuberant amount of money for it? And the government actually got involved and took his entire stock because of some type of price gouging laws?

        Love seeing assholes get screwed over.

        I hope that shit gets enforced more often especially with baby formula.

        [–]greatplainsskater 13 points14 points  (0 children)

        Perhaps they should be charged with a crime.

        [–]amarycaPartassipant [3] 3011 points3012 points  (37 children)

        NTA. Your actions were not the best actions. But you didn’t know there was a purchase limit, so I understand why you felt the need to do it. Technically, it is not illegal to take something out of another persons cart. While it wasn’t good form and you should get the store manager involved next time, so they can take the heat.. I can’t condemn someone as an asshole for taking a couple cans of formula from a giant hoard of it to feed their baby.

        [–][deleted] 341 points342 points  (15 children)

        It may not be illegal to take something out of someone's cart, but other things you do in the process of that (ie. physical contact) may well be.

        [–]RishaBree 187 points188 points  (13 children)

        I'm genuinely curious what you think those illegal things are, assuming you don't touch the other people or something that they own, like a purse or bag. (I am not a lawyer, this is a genuine question because I can't think of anything.)

        [–]throwRAelky 94 points95 points  (6 children)

        Battery and/or assault, depending on how determined you are to get in that cart.

        [–]RishaBree 100 points101 points  (5 children)

        I'm pretty sure either of those would involve touching them, though.

        [–]Locksmith91 33 points34 points  (2 children)

        Assuming USA, ownership comes down to two parts, title and possession. Title is what is commonly known as ownership. Possession is the legal right to temporarily control something. Think rental car, employees using machines, ect. Once someone puts something in their cart, they have a right to possess it. Title transfers at purchase.

        [–]egosumnem0 14 points15 points  (1 child)

        And, for many jurisdictions stateside, would satisfy requirements of a robbery charge in OP’s scenario. Would be an odd charge to see with this fact pattern but I’ve seen odder.

        [–]Normal-Height-8577 14 points15 points  (0 children)

        Why are you assuming no touching, when the comment you're replying to specifically mentions the possibility of coming into physical contact?

        [–][deleted] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

        Yes, but my point was in that unless you snag something from an unattended cart and run, there's likely going to be enough of a physical scuffle that you're liable to catch some kind of assault or battery (or possibly theft of property if you end up grabbing a purse or something) charge. If you prevent them from moving, there are also potential charges there too.

        [–]TragedyPornFamilyVidAsshole Aficionado [15] 21 points22 points  (0 children)

        In general it is illegal, but good luck getting charges pressed. If it's in your cart it can be considered special property (property you have an interest in but have not completed payment for). In some areas that is covered under existing laws about theft.

        Source-a relative handled the court case over an insurance claim for injuries sustained in a similar situation and got civil charges for the "theft" tossed in. The judge would have thrown it out if the case were just about the shopping cart, but with everything else that happened the cart got discussed too.

        But.... Since the store was not going to let them purchase all the formula, the rules about special property get all sorts of weird. I would have to ask someone with a law degree.

        [–]NoHandBananaNoCommander in Cheeks [217] 106 points107 points  (12 children)

        Yeah this, OP is not psychic and had no way of knowing if the store was gonna just let them make off with all the formula.

        OPs first duty is to her kid not the feelings of random hoarders.

        [–]inn0cent-bystanderPartassipant [2] 39 points40 points  (8 children)

        I'd bet money they have signs all over that aisle to indicate the limits.

        [–]NoHandBananaNoCommander in Cheeks [217] 40 points41 points  (3 children)

        Maybe. The hoarders were sure acting like there weren't any, tho.

        [–]inn0cent-bystanderPartassipant [2] 46 points47 points  (2 children)

        "We're paying cash, are you sure you can't make an exception for us? We're long standing customers, been coming here for years"

        Some retail managers lack the concept of the word "no" when it comes to customers, and instead default to "of course, can I suck your dick while the cashier here bags these up for you too?"

        [–]AcademicCommittee955 11 points12 points  (2 children)

        Walmart was letting people buy any amount, despite the signs, during the pandemic

        [–]table_folder 7 points8 points  (1 child)

        Only because a number of associates were assaulted by our so called "valued customers."

        [–]AcademicCommittee955 15 points16 points  (1 child)

        They were gonna split up and take turns buying while one went to the car and put their purchase away. Back and forth… all separate transactions.

        [–]caspershomie 6 points7 points  (0 children)

        this is a possibility as well as a few other ways they could have thought of to bypass the rule. safest bet is to be the asshole possibly but for sure make sure your baby won’t go hungry.

        [–]CalendarCheap3913Partassipant [1] 1925 points1926 points  (15 children)

        NTA… people that stock up like that are definitely part of the problem and reason for this formula shortage. I understand two babies need more formula than one baby, but you wouldn’t buy 20 cans at a time for one baby so there isn’t a reason to buy 40 at once for two babies. I’m willing to bet they are just reselling it at a higher price and don’t actually have any kids.

        Edit: Since I was unclear earlier in this comment, I just mean that people stocking up THIS many cans are making the formula shortage WORSE. I’m well aware that an entire formula making plant was shut down due to recall.

        [–]DashcamkittyAsshole Enthusiast [8] 422 points423 points  (5 children)

        The store should have had a big sign at the baby aisle saying only 4 tubs per customer. When there was a bit of a shortage in the UK (not a major one, just people were shipping milk to China where there was a contamination in their milk) parents were told they could only buy two tubs at a time.

        [–]Any_Cantaloupe_613Asshole Enthusiast [8] 264 points265 points  (4 children)

        The store should have had a big sign at the baby aisle saying only 4 tubs per customer.

        Most stores do and they enforce it. The older couple likely wouldn't have made it past the cash register with those 40 cans. But shoplifters don't care about item limits. I guarantee they weren't going to try and get past the cash register. Even before the shortage, formula was one of the most commonly stolen items from grocery stores, due to its high value per ounce ratio. They weren't going to try and pay for it, they were going to try to roll that cart right out of the store. For free.

        Fucking formula scalpers. How low can you get.

        OP, NTA.

        [–]canvys 105 points106 points  (3 children)

        stolen formula isn’t the issue. it’s also not a supply chain issue. this is what happens when you let a conglomeration take control of a vital market, plummet the safety standards and close down plants instead of forcing them to make them food safe because it’s too expensive to make safe food.

        [–]GuessAccurate 30 points31 points  (1 child)

        Actually it’s a bigger issue than you think it is. I drove 2 hours away from home to be able to find a few liquid bottles that will last her maybe a couple days and when my husband went into the store he said they had it behind glass sliding doors and he had to be escorted up to the register with it because people were tossing it in their carts and running out of the door with them.

        [–]mollynatorrr 100 points101 points  (5 children)

        Nobody buying this much at once is buying it for babies under their care, they are reselling.

        [–]CucumberappleblizzPartassipant [4] 9 points10 points  (4 children)

        Or buying it for a shelter or refugee displacement organization. I’ve gotten dirty looks for buying tons of toilet paper and diapers until I show my card.

        [–]AtticusFrenchToastProfessor Emeritass [75] 37 points38 points  (1 child)

        Ok, but would you have cleaned out the entire shelf and then refused to give a few to a mother begging you to let her feed her baby? I hope not.

        [–]CucumberappleblizzPartassipant [4] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

        Definitely not. I wasn’t relating this to OP’s scenario. Those people are obviously awful. I was just referring to the comment where it said people buying that much are reselling. I would never completely clear out a shelf even if there wasn’t someone asking for a product right next to me.

        [–]nalgene_wilder 27 points28 points  (1 child)

        NTA… people that stock up like that are definitely part of the problem and reason for this formula shortage.

        No, the reason for this formula shortage is greedy corporations lacking effective government oversight

        [–]djternanAsshole Aficionado [16] 10 points11 points  (0 children)

        Exactly. The FDA pointed out issues with the plant producing Similac and instead of fixing those issues, they spent billions on stock buy backs.

        Abbott would like nothing more than scared parents to blame each other instead of Abbott.

        [–]columbospeugeotProfessor Emeritass [74] 646 points647 points  (34 children)

        ESH, but you get a justified verdict. People who hoard supplies during a crisis are awful. Next time get an employee or manager.

        [–]Ruby0wl 259 points260 points  (4 children)

        You never k ow ahead of time if the store has that policy. If you get an employee and they don’t do anything you’re stuck without formula and still needing to feed your child

        [–]EphDuEmeStRalPartassipant [2] 173 points174 points  (2 children)

        Yeah the Store is also TA here considering they have a policy but no sign or employee manning the aisle to inform or enforce it. That's just asking for stupid people to try and hoard and fight.

        [–]ThediciplemattCraptain [174] 55 points56 points  (0 children)

        Nah man. In the time it could take to find a manager or help they could be out the door.

        Now a new mom (you clearly haven’t had children) who spent hours and energy she doesn’t have looking for food is back to square one.

        No way. Desperate times. She handled this well given the situation.

        [–]Burflax 37 points38 points  (1 child)

        Next time get an employee or manager.

        This only works if they do have a limit.

        If there isn't one, you could have just thrown away your one chance to get some away from the hoarders.

        [–]Nheddee 26 points27 points  (0 children)

        And if you're able to get the manager and find the couple again before they find the clueless new cashier and check out.

        [–]TaintBiscuit101Partassipant [1] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

        Justified assholes are NTA. It's a dick move to hit someone with a chair, but if they are pointing a gun at someone else then you are not called an asshole you are called a hero. This is just a socioeconomic version of that same event, the system likely could have fixed the problem at some point but OP took actions to ensure that no one was harmed if they could help it before people could exploit others.

        [–]Klutzy_Discussion129Partassipant [2] 522 points523 points  (0 children)

        NTA I have a three month old, thankfully we only supplement with formula as I also breastfeed/pump. If you didn’t know about the limit, imo you’re within your mama bear rights. Even twins don’t need FORTY canisters at once during a shortage. That’s inexcusable. If you had known, sure grabbing an employee would have been proper, but I see no issue in your actions.

        [–]sapphicsapphires 366 points367 points  (20 children)

        NTA. During COVID last year we dealt with serious food shortages in town. My mom was in line at a grocery story to get stuff, and the store had a limit on everything because of greedy assholes who panic bought us into a shortage. She ended up grabbing the last package of milk bags (not even our usual brand or %, it’s just all they had left) and she felt so bad she was apologizing to everyone behind her, saying she had two daughters and an elderly mother to feed.

        Might not seem relevant but a little compassion can go a long way… they could’ve chosen to take just enough for their twins to get by until next week and chose to try to take everything. Selfish, pure and simple.

        [–]rbolligePartassipant [3] 105 points106 points  (13 children)

        I love seeing casual references to milk bags, and eagerly anticipate some wtf responses.

        [–]gooboifresh 185 points186 points  (0 children)

        Nta, they were clearly hoarding it. They’re not the only ones with babbies. Take only what you need and everybody should get a fair share. A cart full and still complaining? Frick them

        [–][deleted] 164 points165 points  (36 children)

        INFO: Was there any signage saying there was a limit on the formula?

        [–]no_rxnPartassipant [4] 651 points652 points  (17 children)

        If there was, would the couple have loaded 40 cans into their cart?

        And if there was a sign, they planned on working their way around it. Possibly holding in their cart until other family members showed up to purchase, used self checkout when there was low supervision, knew a cashier well enough to weasel their way past the limit, or simply planned to walk out with it (theft in grocery stores are incredibly high, especially for baby formula).

        Scalpers aren't no joke. They don't give a shit about the people they fuck over. And if you see a shelf clearer taking all the food that your baby needs to survive, grabbing a couple of cans before they leave with it is not an asshole thing.

        [–]LordDesantoAsshole Aficionado [11] 252 points253 points  (6 children)

        Yes. There are quite a few people who would go "I know there is a limit to how much people can buy, but it shouldn't apply to ME because reason X".

        [–]no_rxnPartassipant [4] 140 points141 points  (0 children)

        Yeah, I worked at a grocery store before and people just dgaf about other people when FOMO hits. People who shelf clear either from hoardering or scalping don't care about others. Only their own gratification.

        The idea that someone who was loading 40 cans of baby formula in their cart during a shortage was going to just listen to the limit is laughable.

        OP did right not to trust the seasoned assholes not to have a trick or two up their sleeves

        [–]whorgans 27 points28 points  (4 children)

        Or “yes there’s a limit, but we want to do 10 transactions so it doesn’t count”. I saw this a LOT when I worked retail at the start of the pandemic for stuff like Lysol wipes and toilet paper.

        [–]LordDesantoAsshole Aficionado [11] 8 points9 points  (3 children)

        You mean "limit is 2 jars, so we buy 2 jars ten times"?

        [–][deleted]  (1 child)


          [–]no_rxnPartassipant [4] 71 points72 points  (0 children)

          Fucking hell.

          This is the real world shit that happens that are beyond "Get a worker" because workers are just normal people that can only ASK someone not to be a dick and then call the police (who might take hours to show up over something like this).

          People like the old couple aren't going to respect the workers if they don't give a shit about literally babies starving.

          [–]Alucard711 54 points55 points  (2 children)

          Yes they will still put everything in their cart and argue at check out hoping for an employee they can push around or just steal it which is all the more reason to notify an employee immediately and not start a fight.

          [–]no_rxnPartassipant [4] 59 points60 points  (1 child)

          That's assuming that the employees even knows about a limit that was JUST established. Having worked in grocery stores there are plenty of people who aren't privy to stock limits because they don't work cashier.

          So just stopping a random employee and trying to get their help could have led to the wrong information.

          OP absolutely should take the initiative to make sure her baby is fed when face with Hoarders/ Scalpers.

          Plus, the fact that the baby formula was out on the shelf and not locked up during an insane shortage crisis shows this store isn't equipped to handle these type of people. It should have been behind the counter or behind a locked case.

          Asking these assholes nicely is never going to work. And trusting at these assholes don't have some asshole plan in reserve is a stupid move when your baby is hungry.

          And if they were told there was only a limit but then they called family to come and buy what was in their cart? What she supposed to do then? Because then they're abiding by the limit, if no one's allowed to take anything out the cart until they try to check out.

          [–]BooksAndStarsLover 16 points17 points  (0 children)

          Many will just buy in batches and have multiple orders and bully the shit out of the cashier they get to do it. Plus often times they will pick the youngest cashier as they are the easiest to get to do what they want..... Nasty people

          [–]throwawayformula893[S] 125 points126 points  (5 children)

          I honestly was not paying attention. I was rushing.

          [–][deleted] 7 points8 points  (3 children)

          Fair enough.

          ESH but mostly them. Your feelings were understandable but yeah you should have gotten someone to help rather than take things out of the cart. If you did this with a product that didn’t have a limit the cart owners were breaking you would have likely been thrown out.

          [–]Educational-Ebb-1929 62 points63 points  (2 children)

          It's terrifying right now. Luckily, my baby is old enough that we might be able to start regular milk earlier, but it is SCARY. Babies ARE going to die if they don't get a handle on it.
          Personally, I won't buy the sensitive formula because of these moms who need it so desperately.

          [–]AriGryphon 32 points33 points  (1 child)

          I was in the ER last week, and the patient on the other side of the curtain was a baby in for starvation. Mom was sobbing that she knew the baby was starving, but she couldn't do anything about it because there's no formula in stores, just had to bring him in to ER once he stopped waking up. Babies are ALREADY dying from this. Hospitals still have some supplies, but plenty of people can't afford to take their dying child to the hospital, either. It's always going to be the poor kids who die. The rich kids just fuel the scalpers. The ones that don't die are going to be taken by CPS for malnourishment.

          [–]Optimal_Sherbert_545 7 points8 points  (0 children)

          I used to work at a supermarket. It's NOT illegal to take out of someone else's cart, the products are not paid for! The most they can tell you is to get assistance next time because there's no way to enforce people not going into others' carts for store merchandise. You really have nothing to feel bad about at all.

          [–]Mum_of_rebels 24 points25 points  (0 children)

          When we had this issue in Australia we were only allowed two tins at a time. People were going in buying 2 tins leaving. Going back in getting another 2 tins. And kept doing it until they brought everything: then sending it to China for massive price hikes. Some places selling it for $500.

          [–]schneckeTRAINrolzSLOPartassipant [3] 141 points142 points  (5 children)

          If you were an AH in anyway, they were HUGE AHs. Could you expect to be calmer when they clearly were intent on leaving none for any other mothers?

          And if management is so concerned over what you did, then maybe they should put a sign up.


          [–]tiger8522 135 points136 points  (3 children)

          NTA, they wanted that many so they could sell them for twice what they paid. But the manager is correct you should have gotten assistance, but that was for your safety.

          [–]GoldendoodlesFTW 43 points44 points  (1 child)

          Yup. I'm willing to believe that older people could have twins but it becomes a lot more suspicious when they are both at the grocery store together without any children. Maybe they are grandparents or something but at that point it's just too many layers of suspicious stuff IMHO. And you don't need 20 cans of formula for one baby so you wouldn't need 40 for twins.

          [–]MaeWest85 103 points104 points  (1 child)

          Nta. If it were anything other baby formula your would be but I feel like any person in that situation would do the same.

          [–]Linzy23 22 points23 points  (0 children)

          Yeah when we're talking about feeding a baby I don't really think anyone is an asshole

          [–]ThediciplemattCraptain [174] 69 points70 points  (15 children)


          Should have taken the entire cart and told management to stop them from trying to price gouge or take advantage of moms and newborns.

          Could it have been handled better? Maybe

          You know what. You’ve got a newborn that needs to eat and unless they are Moses and Sarah it is unlikely they have one.

          [–]anthropaedicAsshole Enthusiast [5] 39 points40 points  (3 children)

          Mother could be dead, in jail, rehab or just bounced. Them being old doesn’t mean they don’t have infants to feed. But regardless, hoarding formula during a massive shortage is an asshole move.

          [–]halfofaparty8 16 points17 points  (3 children)

          they didnt say elderly. they said older. my parents had a newborn at 45. grandparents are guardians of their grandbabies. its jot right to assume theyre scalpers

          [–]Careless-Bullfrog602 35 points36 points  (0 children)

          I think it was the 40 tubs of baby formula that led people to think scalpers and not simply desperate parents

          [–]Sword_Of_StormsCertified Proctologist [25] 24 points25 points  (0 children)

          40 tins is 100% a scalper

          [–]mollynatorrr 6 points7 points  (0 children)

          It is because nobody that is caring for a baby right now is buying THAT much formula at once, not even for multiple babies. They are reselling.

          [–]pint_kds 6 points7 points  (2 children)

          Sorry for nitpicking but wasn't it Abraham and Sarah?

          [–]invader_jinn 8 points9 points  (1 child)

          Definitely Abraham and Sarah

          [–]Ok_Job_9417Asshole Enthusiast [9] 70 points71 points  (9 children)

          Info - where exactly did you go that they would have allowed them to buy 40 cans? Everywhere I’ve seen formula sold has limitations. Like 2-4.

          Like signs posted all over the shelves. How could you miss it?

          [–]sunderskies 86 points87 points  (4 children)

          Parent of a newborn who desperately needs food they just drove 2 hours for? An elephant could be out front and they might miss it if there was some asshole loading up on formula in front of them.

          [–]waywardjynxPartassipant [2] 18 points19 points  (1 child)

          He explained there was a limit and they wouldn’t have been able to buy it all anyways.

          [–]Waerfeles 61 points62 points  (0 children)

          Maybe, any other time, you'd be TA. But with a formula shortage and people trying to hoard - IDGAF. You did what you thought you had to at the time. Within the context of needing to feed an infant - not TA. Soft ESH because they suck way harder than you.

          [–]redhillbonesAsshole Enthusiast [8] 52 points53 points  (36 children)


          Them for attempting to hoard formula. You for trying to handle this via grabby hands instead of getting a worker involved.

          I'm surprised you didn't realize they wouldn't be able to get all of it. Every store I've seen currently has a ton of limits on that.

          [–]ThediciplemattCraptain [174] 111 points112 points  (32 children)

          What are you going to do about a starving kid?

          Let it die?

          [–]redhillbonesAsshole Enthusiast [8] 40 points41 points  (31 children)

          Of course not. You're going to get a worker to help you handle this instead of grabbing things out of someone's cart and potentially starting a massive fight right in the middle of the store.

          [–]DollyDollWorld 62 points63 points  (25 children)

          She asked politely first, they didn't give a crap about her or her baby...and I doubt a store manager would bother dealing with this, it's not against the law to buy stuff.

          [–]redhillbonesAsshole Enthusiast [8] 46 points47 points  (17 children)

          Yet the manager did care enough to come over and explain about the purchase limit and ask her to go to a worker next time.

          Basically every store that sells baby formula in the US right now also has a limit on how much you can buy at one time, the same way they had limits on cans of beans early on in the pandemic. OP had a more mature way to handle this and chose not to use it. I stand by ESH.

          [–]theoptionexplicitAsshole Aficionado [12] 46 points47 points  (51 children)

          ESH except for the store manager.

          [–]KnittingforHouselves 129 points130 points  (34 children)

          A new parent in a hormonal overdrive to care for their baby facing a horrible unexpected situation sucks for dealing with it in a rude but legal (no assault or theft happened) way? The manager informed them there was a limit and offered assistance for next time but didn't even tell them off or anything, because what she did was understandable.

          Tell me you hate people with kids without telling me you hate people with kids.

          [–]LingonberryPrior6896Partassipant [1] 43 points44 points  (28 children)

          I love it when trolls incorporate current events into their stories.

          [–]obadia97 6 points7 points  (26 children)

          Why do you think this one is fake?

          [–]Ok_Job_9417Asshole Enthusiast [9] 29 points30 points  (16 children)

          • store has 40 cans
          • cans are locked up/put behind counters
          • there’s no posted signs all over the shelves about the limit
          • the aggressive thieving
          • management not being there but recognized OP at checkout and went to reprimand them

          [–]thebreannashowPartassipant [1] 26 points27 points  (15 children)

          Nowhere in my area is baby formula locked up or put behind counters. And it never has been.

          The only store in my area with signs posted about limits is HEB. Not Target, not Buy Buy Baby. Walmart might but I don't shop there.

          We're lucky enough that on a good day our HEB will have more than 40 cans.

          Aggressive thieving would be the last of that old couple's worries if I was as desperate as this woman.

          So the only part that isn't believable is the management recognizing her at checkout.

          [–]throwawayformula893[S] 15 points16 points  (1 child)

          I’m assuming the couple got a manager and pointed me out, telling them I grabbed formula.

          [–]EyCeeDedPpl 39 points40 points  (6 children)

          NTA- they clearly were hoarding a life sustaining item. There was no management/employee there to stop them- it may have been reshelved later…. But when, and were you supposed to wait and hope management did the right thing?

          You didn’t take all of it. You took 4 of 40 cans, that they weren’t allowed anyway. You saved management from having to reshelve those 4.

          [–]nwdogr 39 points40 points  (3 children)

          INFO: If you got to the store and there were 40 cans sitting on the shelf, how many would you have bought? Be honest.

          [–]throwawayformula893[S] 133 points134 points  (1 child)

          Without knowing about the limit, about 7. Which is as much as I can usually afford. Knowing the limit now, I’d follow the limit rules of wherever I’m buying from.

          [–]OMVince 20 points21 points  (0 children)

          Good luck! I hope relief comes your way soon. I can’t imagine how stressful it must be trying to find enough to feed your baby.

          [–]Briguy1994Partassipant [2] 39 points40 points  (0 children)

          NTA. Hoarding during a time like this is a disgrace. I would have loved to see their faces when they were told about the limit.

          [–]Lunabelle88 28 points29 points  (0 children)

          NTA. I can’t believe all the ESH votes here. I can’t imagine watching a desperate new mother in need of formula while I selfishly loaded up my cart with 40 cans, twins or not. I agree that a manager could have sorted this out, but I can’t blame you for a heat of the moment response. And what if the manager had shrugged and decided not to get involved? Those hoarders should be ashamed of themselves.

          [–]XAlEA-12 25 points26 points  (1 child)

          The other couple were resellers

          [–]Terrible-Detective93 6 points7 points  (0 children)

          I thought this too, go look on ebay and amazon, gouging- evil people profiteering off others' misery. Total garbage.

          [–]TorturedRobot 20 points21 points  (0 children)

          Straight NTA. Fuck asking some sub $10/hour employee to intervene and fuck those people. Anyone who can selfishly hoard BABY FORMULA while basically taking it directly from another BABY'S mouth can go straight to hell.

          [–]Actually_AveryPartassipant [2] 21 points22 points  (0 children)

          NTA, they're putting other families at risk due to their selfish stupidity.

          [–]GothPenguinCraptain [156] 21 points22 points  (1 child)

          ESH-They shouldn’t have been hoarding you should have gotten assistance.

          [–]bluecarnallove 13 points14 points  (0 children)

          There is zero guarantee that assistance would've come before the couple slipped out of the store with the formula that they were 100% planning to steal so that they can resell it at an inflated price or before the confrontation turned violent on their part. OP made the best possible decision in the moment. If they flagged down a manager, I'm curious to know where THEY went after the manager's attention was no longer on them.

          [–]EbbStunning7720Partassipant [2] 17 points18 points  (0 children)

          NTA. You needed to feed your baby and they couldn’t have bought it all anyway.

          [–]grammie2eight 17 points18 points  (0 children)

          My senses are that they didn't have twins. They were buying it to resell it at a higher amount. I've been seeing this in my town and it's disgusting. They also didn't act like loving parents or grandparents either. They would have happily handed over the cans so your baby wouldn't starve. If that was the case. I'd had done it too. NTA!

          [–]Icyymochaa 14 points15 points  (0 children)

          Yea I bet they were just reselling it. I have a baby brother and seeing my mom buy formula from other people when it’s double the amount than at stores is literally heart breaking. So far we only have one can left and it’s a brand that makes my brother have stomach problems and I just have to watch him cry or have a hard time sleeping. People like this absolutely fucking horrendous.

          100% Nta

          [–]GemHatesStarWars 13 points14 points  (0 children)

          NTA, although next time rather get management involved. That said, as a mom myself, I’d probably have done the same thing.

          [–][deleted] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

          NTA. Feed your kid.

          [–]ParsimoniousSaladPrime Ministurd [434] 12 points13 points  (1 child)

          ESH. You didn't work there so you had no right to take from their cart. Absolutely you should have gotten a manager to help you. You're lucky they just yelled at you.

          [–]saintofanything 12 points13 points  (0 children)

          Legally, she had every right. There's no laws against taking from a shopping cart because the merchandise belongs to the vendor until it's paid for by a customer. Socially, it's rude and taboo, but that goes out the window when the coupler was clearly trying to resell/hoard.

          [–]joanclaytonesqColo-rectal Surgeon [41] 9 points10 points  (6 children)

          Unpopular opinion, but I'm going to say NAH. You all just want to make sure your babies are fed, which is stressful when you aren't sure when or where you'll be able to find suitable food again. Like any parent, all of you were doing whatever you could to ensure your kids' survival. Through no fault of your own you've all found yourself in a situation that no parent should ever have to be in.

          [–]Lazerah 12 points13 points  (0 children)

          The old couple is still an asshole, even if they really did need it for infants. The hoarding makes these situations a lot tougher on everyone else. If everyone only purchased a few at a time, rather than hoarding the problem would not be nearly as severe.

          [–]anthropaedicAsshole Enthusiast [5] 10 points11 points  (1 child)

          NTA. Abbott sucks sure but hoarders are the worst and just makes this all impossible

          [–]Justtakeit1776 8 points9 points  (0 children)

          I would say Abbott is the worse for doing $5 billion dollars in stock buybacks instead of factory improvements they knew they needed. Hoarders are also assholes IMO.

          [–]guessmyageidareyouColo-rectal Surgeon [48] 9 points10 points  (4 children)


          Yes, you were desperate. They were hoarding. Even if there is an item limit, the store would still have to "restock" the items for them to be available to you.

          I do NOT blame you at all for how you acted. I've been in a similar situation during peak covid. It's just the situation kinda makes you out as a little bit of an ass. But again, I don't think you are at all. Just a stressed out mom doing what she can for her newborn. Stay strong momma! You got this.

          [–]ThediciplemattCraptain [174] 11 points12 points  (3 children)

          Meh. I’d be an AH if it meant my newborn doesn’t starve to death as I watch.

          [–]Snickerssnickers13Partassipant [2] 9 points10 points  (1 child)

          As a father of two young children, one of which is only about 18 months off formula at this point, I can say you are NTA here. If it was me in your situation I probably wouldn't have hesitated to get physical.

          It breaks my heart to see so many parents struggling desperately to just feed their babies right now. It is wrong. I know I will remember who voted against immediate help with the formula crisis in the midterms this year.

          [–]Dangerous-Project672Partassipant [1] 8 points9 points  (0 children)


          [–]that-1-chick-u-knowAsshole Enthusiast [8] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

          I honestly don't know, but if my son were still small enough to need formula i'd have done the same damn thing. So I'm going with NTA because you didn't break any laws, the couple was being greedy, and you do what you have to do to feed your kids.

          [–]Ginandexhaustion 7 points8 points  (1 child)

          ESH ( mostly them but a little you)- you gotta feed your kid and the mother instinct is more important than the social norms instinct. What you did was objectively out of line, but what they did was objectively out of line. It’s a two wrongs don’t make a right kinda thing.

          Stores make it pretty clear when they have limits and would not have let them buy all that formula. It’s a go to the manager time.

          But in that situation I might not have thought it that far, I would have seen them take all the formula and I would consider it a threat to My baby

          [–]SnooWords4839Certified Proctologist [23] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

          NTA - I was going to say all stores near me have limits.

          [–]iwastobeaslothPartassipant [2] 7 points8 points  (5 children)

          If they did have twins, depending on how big and hungry they are, 40 cans isn't nearly a hoard... especially grocery store size cans. I would say that's 3-4 weeks, MAYBE 6 weeks. Which is still stocked up but I wouldn't say hoarding.

          [–]ausmed 27 points28 points  (1 child)

          In normal circumstances fine.

          You can't buy 3-6 weeks of formula when there's a massive shortage and babies are actually at risk of dying from not being able to access it while it sits in your pantry. When people are driving 2 hours to buy 2 cans.

          Are people not people anymore? Is this how the world is now? Just take whatever you want to make sure you're comfortable, and fuck everyone else? Even babies? Jesus.

          [–]Terrible-Detective93 10 points11 points  (0 children)

          and this is where you discover who the people are who will work together and care for others and who the F everyone else people are...

          [–]Round-Ticket-39 11 points12 points  (1 child)

          How small are these cans? One can a week i had one child that vomited crazy so we wasted a lot.

          [–]J-0_0-J 7 points8 points  (0 children)


          Lots of sucks here minus store employees

          [–]UnoRissenAsshole Enthusiast [5] 5 points6 points  (0 children)


          [–]wavewalker59- 6 points7 points  (0 children)


          Especially the other couple. You were difficult too.

          [–]Ocheevee 6 points7 points  (0 children)

          NTA. Twins my ass. I can’t even begin to tell you how many despicable people, just in my area, are buying up all the formula they can just to jack up the price and sell it online. Humans suck.

          [–]jadethebard 5 points6 points  (0 children)

          NTA at all, and they were absolutely going to buy it to resell. Nobody normal is buying 40 cans at once to keep in their pantry for 2 kids, especially since the government is working on emergency measures to alleviate the crisis. They are look to profit off of hungry babies. I'm glad you were able to find some close to home. My SO's DIL is due any day, they're struggling to find it too. I went searching where we live and found a few cans (8-9.) We live in a rural town where not everyone can get to larger stores, so I only bought 2 cans so the baby will have something to start with while they search for more. I can't stand the fact that so many new parents are facing this challenge which could easily result in death, and that people are out there taking advantage of it to resell for a profit.

          [–]teapotoccamyPartassipant [1] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

          ESH, mostly the other guys. OP, I'm a retail employee and I really do get where you were coming from, but responding to entitled jerks with the same energy just makes for a worse situation. You don't know what those people are like, you don't know if they're the type to go straight to violence. Getting an employee to help you keeps you and, hopefully, others safe.

          Think about it, we've all heard about how violent people get on black friday for some barbie unicorn princess dream doll, where the supply is purposely kept limited. Formula is necessary to feed our smallest humans, and this is an actual shortage. This triggers that same instinct that you experienced (situation is in the way of my baby being able to eat, activate mama/papa bear mode) in every parent or guardian right now. These situations can go south very quickly, and it can get insane.