Moral conundrum

Store Employee Explains Why He Never Turned In Women Stealing Formula

"When I saw Pampers or baby formula that was not on the receipt, I just said, 'Have a great day,'" TikTok user Brandon Tamayo says.

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Formula is one of the most expensive baby items -- and it's no surprise that it's also one of the mo...
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Essential baby products are expensive. So much so, in fact, that it isn’t unthinkable to assume some parents have to go to desperate measures to secure diapers, wipes and formula.

In a trending post on TikTok, former Walmart employee Brandon Tamayo explained how he would never report customers he caught stealing diapers or formula. Why?

“Because they’re expensive,” Tamayo said, “and kids are expensive, in general.”

Tamayo was a door greeter, who “checks your receipt before you leave the store,” he explained. But when he noticed baby products in someone’s bag or cart and not on their receipt, he let it slide.

“Every time I saw a customer, mostly a woman, when I checked the receipt and saw Pampers or baby formula that was not on the receipt, I just said, ‘Have a great day,’” he said.

Multi-billion dollar chain Walmart didn’t hand out rewards for reporting shoplifters, Tamayo said, and he was only earning $11.50 an hour — not enough money to make him want to report a mother who was just doing what she had to to provide for her baby.

Tamayo is not alone in his stance. Comments on the post praised him for his duty, writing “not all heroes wear capes” and “a can of formula for my baby is 44$. There is no reason it should cost this much..”

Others, however, were a little thrown off, commenting that although kids are expensive “there is no excuse for stealing.”

“Theft raises the costs for those of us not stealing diapers and formula,” user Emily Castanon wrote. “Business owners will get their money one way or another.”

This topic has long been debated. Just last year, police in Winterhaven, Florida, took to Facebook to shame a dad for shoplifting diapers. The post caused an uproar as authorities attempted to find the man on behalf of the store he stole from: Walmart.

Comments demanded police show a little sympathy for the dad, who was clearly struggling and in a tough spot. Some people even offered to cover the cost of the stolen items if he was left alone.

Baby formula is one of the most commonly shoplifted items at stores — which is why you might see it behind a glass case these days. Some point out that it’s sometimes re-sold by the shoplifter — but in these cases, it still goes to parents who can’t afford to get it the traditional way and at the original cost.

What all parents know is that paying for diapers, wipes and formula each month is not an easy financial task. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, the average family will spend between $70 to $80 a month on diapers per child and not only is formula hard to find, it’s gone up in price. According to the United States' Office of the Surgeon General, the price of formula within the country shifts between $1,200 and $1,500 per family throughout a baby's first year of life. Specifically, brands such as Enfamil and Similac can run about $1 per ounce, whereas less costly ones like Kirkland brand will set parents back around $0.50 per ounce.

Let’s remember, too, that not all moms and not all babies are able to breastfeed — and whether or not a new mother chooses to breastfeed, she should be able to feed her baby without stressing over the cost of formula. There needs to be more affordable — or free! — options for not only formula, but diapers too. These are essentials! No matter if you’re a parent or not, it’s terrible to think that someone might be struggling to pay for these items their babies so desperately need.

Stealing is not OK, but let’s have grace for those who are not as fortunate as others.

If you or someone you know needs help affording diapers, you can visit the National Diaper Bank Network to find assistance.

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