Coles customer accused of 'stealing' by staff after strangers' kind act

The woman had received a receipt from anther customer so her family could collect an extra Pokémon figure but the Coles worker wouldn't allow it.

A "frustrated" Coles customer claims she was accused of "stealing" by staff after a seemingly kind exchange with a stranger.

Tara Louise was shopping at her local Coles supermarket with two of her sons and at the checkout realised she spent over $30 so could get one cardboard Pokémon collectable — known as Coles Builders (Pokémon Edition).

"We were only entitled to one so I knew there was going to be arguments coming," the NSW mum explained online, anticipating the jealousy of any child who would miss out. Then, out of nowhere a "lovely" couple next to them gifted Tara and her boys their receipt so they could get an extra Pokémon Builder.

Left image of Tara talking to camera in her TikTok. She has brown hair pulled back and brown eyes and is wearing a white singlet. Right image is of a collection of the Coles Pokémon Builders in a yellow case.
Tara was shocked by the alleged accusation from a Coles staff member. Source: TikTok/ Facebook

'That's stealing' says Coles worker

The couple left the store and Tara walked up to the Coles worker with both receipts. "I handed her the two receipts, she then started to go through my groceries looking in my bag and said, 'Which was your receipt because there's two here?'" Tara recounted.

After explaining to the employee one was hers, and the other was from the couple in front, Tara claims the woman immediately told her "no". "She said 'No, you can't have that, that's stealing. You're not allowed that, you're only allowed your own receipt'," the frustrated mum claimed.

Shocked at being called a "thief", the mum-of-two said she was "p***ed" off by the worker's attitude. "For them to call me a thief is so belittling and embarrassing in front of other people," she said. "Generally, I don't want to complain, but I just got really p***ed off."

Tara said the staff usually scribble out the receipt once she has collected the Pokémon Builder so it should never have been a problem. "Isn't that why they sign over the receipt so that you know that those cards have been collected?"

Coles offers gift to mum following incident

After alerting Coles to the incident, a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia their team is "currently working to contact the customer to gift her with some of our collectable cases and a few additional Pokémons".

"We know how much our customers and their kids are loving collecting our unique Coles Builders Pokémon Edition and are aware what the age-old sibling rivalry can be like in households!" they said.

Outpouring of support for mum

Since sharing her experience online, hundreds have agreed with Tara — some even sharing their own similar experiences at Coles and Woolworths.

"OMG couldn’t agree more, that’s disgraceful and worth the rant!" one responded.

"I did the same at Woollies, I asked the lady behind me with children if she was collecting whatever it was at the time and the cashier said to me, 'I don’t want to hear that, I can’t know that you are giving these away.' So I collected them, and as she came out, I gave them to her and we were both so confused," another person said.

Coles Builder Pokémon Edition terms and conditions

When looking through the terms and conditions online, there appears to be no rule that says a person cannot give away their collectables. It's understood staff can use discretion when looking at receipts.

Some of the main terms and conditions include:

  • For every $30 spent in one transaction "after any applicable discounts and exclusions", Coles will provide customers with one Coles Builder Pokémon Edition.

  • The "campaign" runs between February 7 and March 26.

  • Obtaining a Coles Builder Pokémon Edition is "subject to stock availability and is at the sole discretion" of Coles.

  • Your receipt must be redeemed at the point of purchase and at the time of the relevant transaction.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.