Coles has been told to stop bowing to the “whinging vocal minority” and implement a store-wide plastic bag ban once and for all. The supermarket’s Facebook page has been flooded with angry comments from customers after it announced it would once again extend it free reusable bag policy.
The supermarket giant originally said Sunday would be the last day shoppers could get the 15 cent reusable bags for free, but now plans to continue the free run to help customers cope with the store-wide ban on single-use plastic bags.
“Since we removed single-use plastic bags from our stores, customers have told us that this has been a big change for them, so we want to do everything we can to help them,” Coles said in a statement on Wednesday.
The company said it wanted to make the transition away from single-use plastic bags as easy as possible, adding it will give customers complimentary, reusable plastic bags which are made from 80 per cent recycled materials and can be recycled.
However, annoyed customers who’ve already purchased reusable bags have slammed the company’s decision.
“I am annoyed that many people have gone to the trouble to obtain re-usable bags and remember to take them to the supermarket, but because a few people get cross when they have to pay, Coles has chosen to continue giving out the plastic bags indefinitely,” one commentator wrote.
Another added: “When will you stop handing out free plastic bags, this is honestly so disheartening. You take a huge step forward to take a massive one backwards.”
And third wrote: “Coles, don’t bow to the whinging vocal minority. Banning the bag is the right thing to do. If they remember their wallets, they can remember their bags.”
However, a Coles spokesperson told Starts at 60: “Our customers are telling us they need more time to make the adjustment to reusable bags. It’s important to remember that this change was only implemented at the start of the month and many customers bringing bags from home can still find themselves short a bag or two. Over time, we expect our customers to know exactly how many bags they will need for their shop.”
The company has noticed customers are already getting into the routine of bringing their reusable bags back, “but some customers are still occasionally finding themselves a bag or two short for their entire shop”.
The supermarket is retraining team members on the best way to pack reusable bags of various sizes and shapes, and investing “thousands of additional hours of customer service” for the busy back-to-school period.
“We’ve been delighted with the level of support we have received from the community and thank our customers, and our team members, for helping us make the transition away from single-use plastic bags.”
On July 1, the supermarket chain ditched their single-use plastic bags across its entire store-network. Following the ban, single-use bags have now been outlawed in all states except NSW and Victoria.