Coles customers are being caught out by a change to the latest edition of the supermarket's Little Shop promotion.
The collection of 30 miniature items was launched on July 17 – the second range of the Little Shop collectables to be released.
Shoppers are able to get a free collectable with every $30 spent at Coles supermarkets, online and at Coles Express stores.
The promotion includes various “mini” items for shoppers to collect, and customers can separately purchase a collector’s case, mini trolleys, Coles replica truck and toy cash register.
But just hours after the launch of the new Little Shop collection, customers were questioning whether there was a limit on how many collector cases one person could purchase.
One woman raised the query with Coles on their Facebook page, questioning if last year’s two-products-per-customer limit was still in force.
Another customer also expressed her frustration on the Facebook page, saying she saw a woman buying “5 full boxes of Coles mini cases”.
“How is this allowed?” the customer said.
“I thought it was 2 per person and even worse when it’s the manager who was serving her.”
However Coles confirmed on Facebook it had changed its terms and conditions for the second launch.
“We can confirm there is no purchase limit for our Little Shop Merchandise,” Coles said.
The supermarket claims due to the popularity of its first promotion, it has taken steps to ensure there is enough stock this time around.
“So the 2 per person rule has been removed,” it wrote on Facebook.
Coles told Yahoo News Australia in a statement some of its new items, including Coles trucks and registers, were selling more quickly than anticipated and had extra stock on the way from warehouses to stores.
The supermarket’s terms and conditions also state while customers receive a mini collectable for every $30 spent, they can only receive up to 20 minis per transaction.
While the first Little Shop launch sent some shoppers into a frenzy, some were concerned about the environmental impact.
This time around many shoppers have had the same issue with the collectables, with some dubbing it the “Little Shop of horrors”.
“Your company is promoting plastic toys, individually wrapped in plastic, for children,” a customer wrote on the Coles Facebook page.
“I assume you are aware of the issue of environmental impacts of single-use plastics.
“And the concerns Australians are voicing about their unnecessary use.”
Some customers called for the supermarket to be an “industry leader”, not the “source of the problem”.
They also said they would buy their groceries elsewhere until the promotion ended in September.
The launch of Little Shop coincides with Plastic Free July and several petitions have been launched to boycott the collectables.
One boasts more than 29,000 signatures, with many comments suggesting alternatives to the promotion.
“Maybe Coles could plant a tree for every $10 spent, instead of handing out little pieces of plastic choking hazards in individually wrapped plastic bags,” one commented.
One Change.org petition says “it’s time to think of our children and what their future will look like with all this unnecessary plastic”.
Coles told Yahoo News in a statement 94 per cent of customers either kept their minis or gave them to friends and family.
“The campaign only runs for a limited time and customers who choose to collect them are able to recycle the wrappers at their nearest Coles through our in-store RedCycle program,” a spokesperson said.
“As part of our commitment to better environmental outcomes, RedCycle allows customers to recycle soft plastics in provided bins at their nearest Coles store to be repurposed into outdoor furniture for pre-schools and primary schools.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.