The 'nightmare’ behind store owner's mass toilet paper haul

 

It was footage that quickly came to sum up many people's frustration as a second wave of panic buying hit Australia.

A group of Sydney tradies stumbled across a massive pile of toilet paper in a park, accusing the owner, Celia Deng, of hoarding the rolls.

Footage was shared by one of them on Facebook and racked up more than a million views, with many people in the comments slamming Ms Deng, accusing her of stripping shelves.

The only problem was none of it was true, with Ms Deng instead purchasing the toilet paper from a supplier in China for her two convenience stores - something she vows she will never do again as a result of the furore over the viral video.

The businesswoman told news.com.au the whole ordeal was a "nightmare" and has urged people to think twice before jumping to conclusions when they see something on social media.

Ms Deng believes the video was only meant as a ‘joke’, but resulted in her being accused of hoarding.
Ms Deng believes the video was only meant as a ‘joke’, but resulted in her being accused of hoarding.

'I'M VERY UPSET'

On June 16, concreter Elie Abousleiman filmed a video of him and his two colleagues coming across the massive haul of toilet paper in a park in the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Fields.

Ms Deng said the tradies offered to help her move her shipment of toilet paper to her stores for $500, an offer which she says she politely declined.

In response they began filming the video as on Facebook in which Ms Deng was referred to as a "stupid b**ch", encouraging people to come to the park and help themselves to the toilet paper.

Ms Deng believes the video was meant as to be "just a joke" from the three men, but the experience has left her feeling upset and exhausted.

The video racked up more than a million views.
The video racked up more than a million views.

"I never do it again," she said. "As a shop owner I sit in the office all the time, I haven't done labour for so long. I'm exhausted, that was so hard a job to unload the toilet paper.

"The attitudes people (had towards) me, I'm very upset, I never, ever do it again - this is would be my last time.

"I'm not touching toilet paper given all those attitudes, all what they said to me, I just couldn't accept it."

TOILET PAPER WAS FOR ELDERLY CUSTOMERS

Ms Deng said she would make very little profit from selling the toilet paper in stores and had only bought it so her elderly customers would not have to struggle to find it.

"Old people come here (to my store), they couldn't get toilet paper," she said.

"A real estate manager across the road from me said, 'Celia can you get me some toilet paper?' Her husband has problems … he has to protect his dignity, he doesn't want to wait in line for so long to grab some toilet paper and I gave her a packet of toilet paper, 16 (rolls), for free."

Ms Deng said she wished people had taken the time to get the full story behind the video before making negative remarks, some of which had focused on her ethnicity.

"I can understand why people would say, 'Oh this Asian lady hoarding the toilet paper', people couldn't buy it, all the anger come out. I know all that blame comes out, I can understand why they said that," she said.

"But they don't know what is the story behind (it)."

Australia is in the grip of a second wave of supermarket panic buying, with toilet paper hard to get at many supermarkets. Picture: Supplied
Australia is in the grip of a second wave of supermarket panic buying, with toilet paper hard to get at many supermarkets. Picture: Supplied

Fortunately Ms Deng said she had been supported by staff and her customers through the ordeal.

"I've got a very strong customer base here, our people support me, that's why I stay here for so long," she said. "All our customers supported me a lot."

Australia has been hit with a second wave of supermarket panic buying, brought on by a spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria.

Supermarket supplies first began getting low in Melbourne hotspot suburbs, before spreading to neighbouring states.

Woolworths and Coles were forced to bring in buying limits again last week after essential items - but in particular, toilet paper - began flying off shelves.

The panic buying first began in March when the coronavirus pandemic triggered fears that supermarket supplies would be affected.

The shopping frenzy saw fights break out in supermarkets over the in-demand product, with many stores forced to have extra security to mind toilet paper supplies.

Originally published as 'Nightmare' behind mass toilet paper haul


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