"Nappy" hunters leave Norwegian baby bottoms bare

OSLO Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:18am EST

Related Topics

OSLO (Reuters) - Southern Norway is in the midst of a diaper shortage after a supermarket price war lured enterprising bulk shoppers from eastern Europe who have cleaned out the shelves, customs officials and retailers said.

Norway is one of the world's most expensive countries. However, supermarkets in the south trying to lure local customers by undercutting rivals on the price of "nappies" inadvertently made it profitable enough for residents of nearby countries to start trading in them.

"They buy every last diaper, I mean everything we have on the shelves, throw it in the back of their car and take them home, where they sell it for a nice profit," says Terje Ragnar Hansen, a regional director for retail chain Rema 1000.

"It's not stealing and it's not even criminal but it's a big problem, ... they leave nothing for our regular customers.

Customers come into Norway from Sweden, drive along the coast to fill their cars, then take a ferry back to the continent, said Helge Breilid, the chief of customs in Kristiansand on Norway's southern coast.

Some have been stopped with diapers worth up to 50,000 crowns ($9,100), roughly 80,000 diapers, a legal shipment even though Norway is not part of the European Union.

"They told us that the only reason they came to Norway was to drive around and buy diapers to bring back home and resell," Breilid said.

"These people mainly come from Poland and Lithuania, and we have no reason to believe that they are part of any criminal gangs."

Norwegian diapers cost as little as 30 crowns ($5.47) for 50, less than half of the prevailing price in Lithuania. Coincidentally, the Internet is heaving with Lithuanian sellers advertising Norwegian diapers.

($1 = 5.4831 Norwegian krones)

(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, editing by Paul Casciato)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
jaroca wrote:
“I ‘vahnt buy 60K nappies, ‘ow much I owe?

“We need to see your ID and your baby” “Do your baby live here?”


“No ID, NO nappies !!!” “Maybe you like paper towels?”

…sounds like it’s about to hit the fan

Jan 31, 2013 3:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Bobo_9 wrote:
sounds to me like those socialist Europeans have learned how to be enterprising capitalists.

Feb 01, 2013 8:58am EST  --  Report as abuse
ConnieT wrote:
Ehh just like any store that sells loss leaders, you simply limit the number of packages one customer can buy at a time.

Feb 04, 2013 7:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.