Most over-the-top reactions to bag ban
A DISGRUNTLED Coles customer has stolen a "reusable" shopping basket to protest the supermarket's plastic bag ban.
The customer posted a photo of their haul to Coles' Facebook page, where many have voiced their displeasure at the ban. "I'll leave my free reusable bag out the front for your collection, Coles," the shopper wrote, adding a smiley face emoji.
Another shopper went even further, loading an entire trolley into the back of their car. "No bag, no problem? We'll take the trolley," Eddie Nahri said in a video posted to Facebook, which went viral after being reposted by the Humans of Bankstown page.
"Leb in Sydney taking action," he wrote in the original post. "They can come collect their trolley from my street. Lol. I'm creating jobs!"
One woman warned she had been reported to the police once for doing the same thing. "Got pulled over that night and made to report to the police station the next day," Louise Mechin said.
"When I returned said trolley I was barred for life from the store. So I did what anyone would do... Went back there the next day and did some shopping."
Other shoppers accused the supermarkets of hypocrisy due to the abundance of plastic packaging on the majority of products, and of profiteering by charging for reusable options when lightweight plastic bags were previously handed out for free.
"Hypocrites," Phil Youraz said. "Get rid of all plastic. It's a money-making scam."
Kheila Warheart posted a photo of photo of plastic-wrapped "Kids Pack" bananas. "Absolute lies," she said. "If you really cared you wouldn't do things like this. It doesn't take two years come on! You haven't listened to us at all. No more pre-packaged produce! We want paper bags!"
Nicky Laughton took issue with individually wrapped banana bread slices. "Please. You can't tell us to bring our own bags and then have shelves full of cake slices with this presentation," she said. "Children are advised to bring 'nude' food to school but this is horrendous waste."
Kata Carruthers said her 15c reusable bag had already broken. "Awesome, I received a free recycled bag last night when shopping," she said. "I lifted it to get the groceries out. 80 per cent recycled material, half full, 100 per cent useless. Luckily I only lifted it up so all the meat landed in the boot of the car."
A Coles spokesperson replied: "We're very sorry to see this. These bags are intended to be long lasting and be reused many times, so we're very sorry to see this wasn't the case this time.
"We'll let our Quality Team know about this so they're aware of this issue and we'd suggest you return to your local store so the bag can be replaced. We're very sorry for the disappointment."
Meanwhile, Woolworths customers have also complained that their 15c "reusable" bags aren't so reusable after all, posting photos on social media of torn and punctured bags.
"So much for the reusable plastic bags," Sharon Linsley said. "I only went to Woolworths yesterday at Glendale. One use and they have holes already. So these will become single use bags. So much for the environment. I am really disappointed with the bags."
Trace Stevens said the new bags were "useless" as the handles break and "you're left with struggling to grab the bag before it hits the ground as groceries fall out".
"If we are to pay for this rubbish then it needs to be improved to at least hold groceries in them," she said. "I relied on your plastic bags but never again, they should be free seen as they are of such poor quality."
Gabby Newman said while she commended Woolworths on replacing single-use plastic bags, she wanted to know how long the new 15c bags would take to break down.
"I have to buy lots as I cannot carry them as full as your operators fill them and I have a bag that I paid for (prior to the complimentary period) which after one use is now torn," she said.
"This means your operators will refuse to use it. I will have to throw it away into landfill and I'm hoping it will break down faster than the single-use bags."
She said she hoped she wouldn't have to replace the bags weekly as she spent over $250. "I am trying to purchase the 99c bag but this eats into our budget. Two bags is equal to a 2L milk."
It comes as Coles and Woolworths attempt to address "plastic bag rage". As of Sunday, single-use plastic bags have been banned in all states and territories except NSW and Victoria.
The supermarkets took the initiative by removing them from their entire store networks, with Woolworths getting in 10 days early on June 20. Despite roughly three quarters of shoppers claiming to support the ban, the move has sparked a customer backlash.
In one extreme case, the union representing retail workers, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association, said a staff member at Woolworths at Mandurah in Western Australia was assaulted by a customer angry about the plastic bag ban.
"We received a report that a guy at a self-serve checkout at Woolworths became unhappy about there being no single-use plastic bags," Ben Harris from the SDA told Yahoo7. "A female staff member handed him a free reusable bag."
He said the man then accidentally scanned an item twice. "The man then walked up behind the woman and put his hands around her throat," he said. The incident was reported to police and Woolworths banned the customer from the store.
"The safety of our team is of the utmost importance and we do not tolerate abusive behaviour towards them in any circumstance," Woolworths state general manager Karl Weber said in a statement.
"We've been offering our full support to the team member and will continue to do so. We've also been in contact with police and will assist with investigations if any further action is taken."
According to the SDA, 85 per cent of its members have experienced abuse from customers at work. The union, while supporting the "positive change for the environment", has warned members of their rights about handling unhygienic reusable bags.
"In some cases, customers have also attempted to use bags which contained vomit, dirty nappies or rat faeces," SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said in a statement on Sunday.
"This is obviously unacceptable and presents a serious health risk to retail staff. We ask that shoppers check the condition of the bags they intend to use prior to presenting them to retail staff."