Backlash for Woolworths after store locks up pregnancy tests

Pregnancy tests for sale in Woolworths are stored in electronic cases.
Pregnancy tests for sale in Woolworths are stored in electronic cases. Photo: Facebook/Ellie Blackwood

When Victorian resident Ellie Blackwood saw how her local Woolworths was selling pregnancy tests, she turned to their Facebook page to lodge a complaint.

"Hi Woolworths," Ms Blackwood wrote on Monday. "I was wondering why your pregnancy tests are stored in electronic cases that require women and girls to seek permission before they can purchase?

"It certainly can't be because they are deemed a luxury or expensive item," she continued, identifying that the pricier Nicobate product, for sale next to the pregnancy tests, was sitting unsecured on the shelf.

Ms Blackwood's post quickly went viral, garnering almost 1000 reactions and nearly 100 comments.

A Woolworths spokesperson responded, advising that the pregnancy tests were secured to prevent "stock loss".

"Hey Ellie, we try to reduce the risk of stock loss as much as possible," Woolworths wrote. "This packaging was intended as a security measure implemented by our store team. We've now followed this up with our team and passed on your feedback and the case will be removed. Thanks!"

While Ms Blackwood acknowledged that "it definitely makes sense that they are secured because they might be more frequently stolen", she also outlined exactly why that might be - and it isn't their "resale value".

Instead, Ms Blackwood argued, "[The tests] must be being stolen because women feel embarrassed about buying them. Can you now imagine someone too ashamed to purchase a pregnancy test at the checkout amongst their other groceries, going to the customer service desk and asking 'Steve the store manager' to help the unlock this electronic box?"

Other commenters also highlighted the complexity of the issue, noting that while preventing stock loss might be an important consideration, it also creates barriers for women and girls "who may want to obtain a pregnancy test but be anxious about doing so".

"While we might like to think there isn't judgement, the perception of its possibility is often enough to discourage young women," writes Rachel Louise.

Some commenters, like Ms Blackwood, called out several more expensive items for sale in Woolworths that aren't under lock and key.

"The most stolen things from supermarkets are meat, men's deodorant, speakers and batteries, and cheese," writes Elissa Waters, adding, "The next time I see Meredith goats' cheese in electronic casing I'll be on board with this line of argument."

Ms Blackwood later thanked Woolworths for taking the feedback on board and removing the cases. "I really appreciate that you are taking this issue seriously and many thanks for acting so quickly," she wrote.