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Woolworths caught out on pricing for shopping bags

By Chris Mordd Richards - 26 July 2016 41

Woolworths shopping bags

A few days ago, I was at my local Woolworths getting groceries, and was paying at the self checkout.

At the checkout next to me, an elderly gentleman from out of state, on his first visit to Canberra, was also paying for his groceries.

All of a sudden, a Woolworths team member comes almost running up, and loudly accuses the gentleman of trying to steal the plastic bag, as he had not scanned it.

The gentleman protested that he didn’t know he had to pay for a bag, and then pointed out that there is no sign saying this, nor a price indicating how much the payment even is.

After he left, I did some subtle snooping, and confirmed that at all six self checkout registers, all had bags, but none had any signage indicating they were to be paid for, and none had a price listed either. See the photo above for an example of 1 of the checkouts. Note I have not cropped out any nearby sign from the photo, there really is none.

So are we all just meant to know that the bags cost money? How are out of state visitors meant to know? Tourists are still mainly used to not paying for bags where they come from, so I can understand the gentleman’s confusion and frustration at his experience.

Under ACT Fair Trading law, my understanding is that the lack of the price itself is actually a breach of the act, and I will be following this up with Fair Trading ACT and Woolworths Media inquiries. Meanwhile what do you Rioters think of this?

Update: I have now checked the rest of the ACT Woolworths stores with the help of a friend, and can confirm that NONE of their ACT stores have either signage indicating the bags must be paid for, or a price ticket on each bag dispenser showing the price. I will be updating Fair Trading on this and request they formally investigate the matter now since this appears to be a pattern of behavior by Woolworths not just a mistake at 1 store.

Update 2: Woolworths has been back in touch. For the moment, they have stripped all bags from all individual dispensers like in the photo ACT wide, and replaced them with bags in boxes near the checkouts which do have appropriate signage and pricing on them. They are looking to implement a policy change to add pricing to the individual dispensers instead, but apparently this was never originally planned for so they can’t just do it without putting in place a formal policy change first. I will update again once I have checked their stores this week and seen the changes for myself. ACT Fair Trading will be notified of what Woolworths have informed me of their actions in response.

What’s Your opinion?


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