'Please don't bag the staff': Coles prepares for 'bag rage' as ban approaches

Coles says it's taking extra steps to prepare staff for 'bag rage' when the ban on single-use plastic bags comes into effect on July 1.

Supermarket giant Coles is taking extra steps to avoid "bag rage" from shoppers as its ban on single-use plastic bags comes into effect on Sunday.

A spokesman for Coles told SBS News that all checkouts will be open nationally between 10am and 6pm the day the ban begins.


It comes after reports the Woolworths bag ban left shoppers frustrated when the supermarket introduced their own policy on June 20.  

The Coles spokesman said the move aimed to "minimise disruption to our customers".

In addition, from July 2 to July 8, Coles will open extra checkouts in states where bags will be removed for the first time - New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Coles is also "providing training to team members to assist them with this transition".

The Coles spokesman said the chain had committed to phasing out plastic bags nationally "because it's the right thing to do for our environment."

Since the Woolworths ban took effect on June 20, there have been reports of some frustrated shoppers taking out their anger on supermarket staff.

"I work at Woolies and have already been abused countless times; it's not our fault," staff member Lauren McGowan told news.com.au on Thursday.

Bernie Smith, NSW State Secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) said there had been "some reports of abuse" against Woolworths employees since the bag policy came into effect. 

Please don't bag retail staff. Bernie Smith, SDA
"We call on the general public to be supportive in this transition ... And to not take out their frustration on workers. We're asking, please don't bag retail staff."

A spokesperson for Woolworths told SBS News that since the ban, the "vast majority of customers have been supportive".

"We understand any change comes with its challenges, and we thank customers for their patience as we work through this transition in support of a greener future for Australia."

The spokesperson also said that Woolworths had polled 12,500 customers in the leadup to the ban and almost 75 per cent of respondents were supportive of the idea. 

Single-use plastic bags are already banned in Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

And from July 1, Western Australia and Queensland will enact similar bans state-wide.

3 min read
Published 28 June 2018 at 7:38pm
Source: SBS News