After the ‘Nutella riots’ French supermarkets see ‘violent’ nappy rush

French shoppers have proven that it's not just cheap Nutella that will send them into hysteria. Discounted nappies work too, apparently, according to reports on Tuesday.

After the 'Nutella riots' French supermarkets see 'violent' nappy rush
Photo: WikiCommons

After customers at a French supermarket went into a feeding frenzy over discounted Nutella last week, it appears the French appetite for a special offer has taken hold (some would say of their senses).

On Tuesday, customers went bananas at an Intermarché supermarket – the scene of the Nutella riots – in Metz in north eastern France, and this time shoppers were battling over nappies.

The supermarket chain was offering a promotion for a “mega pack” of Pampers nappies for €7.18, rather the usual €23.95 – a discount of 70 percent.

And the customers weren't prepared to wait in line, it seems.

“It was horrible. It was out of control. Around 250 people were there when the shop opened, just to buy the nappies. Women were fighting each other” the store manager told the Republicain Lorraine newspaper.

“We had to call the police – the staff members were overwhelmed.”

A customer told the paper that the shelves were empty by 8.40am, adding that she saw some women come to blows. However, unlike with the Nutella fiasco, there is no footage available of the nappy rush. Or at least not yet.

The supermarket will sell the nappies at the same price on Wednesday, local media reported, but this time in the presence of police officers. 

According to Le Parisian newspaper, the cheap nappies caused headaches at other stores around  France including Le Mans and Lambres-Lez-Douai. Gathered crowds were unable to purchase the nappies, however, due to what the store called “computer errors” that prevented them from either opening the store or processing  the nappies through the tills.

“There were queues stretching back tens of metres at each till but they told everyone to come back later,” said a shopper in Le Mans.But shoppers reportedly refused to move until the bug was fixed.

The Intermarché can no doubt expect more chaos in the coming weeks, as both the Nutella and the nappies were just the start of a campaign it is calling the “Four Cheapest Weeks in France”.

Like the Nutella riots, the nappy rush may spark yet more soul searching in France, where scenes of shoppers batting over cheap goods are associated with Black Friday promotions in the US.

Some sociologists suggested the behaviour showed that France's famous solidarité was dead while others said the incidents simply pointed to rising poverty in certain parts of the country.

France is making it clear that it doesn't want supermarket promotions to cause unruly customer behaviour. 

Indeed, the international attention from “Nutella-gate” may have been the spark that prompted the DGCCRF, the body which investigates fraud at France's ministry of finance, to announce plans to open an investigation into the promotion.

By selling 950g pots of France's favourite chocolate spread for €1.41 instead of €4.70  – an “unprecedented” reduction of 70 percent – there are suggestions that Intermarché might have broken the country's strict laws on selling discounted goods.

READ ALSO: What the 2018 'Great Nutella Riots' tell us about the French

What the 'great Nutella riots' of 2018 tell us about the French




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France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.