SBS News Presenter Ricardo Conçalves took to Twitter on Friday to air his disappointment that Coles is charging customers more for "Pride" themed paper bags than the supermarket chain's regular bags.
Taking a jab at the slogan on the new bags, Mr Conçalves posted a photo of one of the bags with the caption, "Everyone may be welcome at the table, but you'll have to pay more than double to do so."
The tweet immediately sparked a flurry of angry comments, as Twitter users demanded Coles explain why the bags, which feature an LGBTQI+ rainbow flag, cost 55 cents each rather than the standard 25 cents.
"Be better @Coles," one upset user replied, while another tweeted, "Boo. Inclusion is not a marketing opportunity or a price point." Others speculated that the coloured ink is the reason for the increased cost of the bags. "I guess coloured ink costs more? That's crazy though," responded one user.
Coles reveals reason for additional charge
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a Coles spokesperson explained that the Pride-themed shopping bags are part of the retailer's partnership with Sydney WorldPride, which commences later this month, and the extra cost will be going directly to an LGBTI+ organisation.
"Coles is a proud partner of WorldPride 2023 and we are so excited for our team from across the country to be taking part in this celebration in the coming weeks," the spokesperson said. "The Pride recyclable and reusable paper shopping bags have been really popular with customers and the fabulous design and colour make them slightly more expensive than our regular paper shopping bags. The entire 30 cents from the sale of these bags is being donated to our wonderful partner Pride Cup which is changing sporting culture to make LGBTI+ people feel safe, welcome and accepted."
In a follow-up tweet, Mr Conçalves acknowledged that Coles had since confirmed the 30 cents from the sale of each Pride bag is going to Pride Cup.
Coles Group a leader in inclusion
Despite this initial confusion over the pricing of the Pride-themed bags, Coles is recognised as a leader in LGBTI+ inclusion, recently winning an Australian Workplace Equality Index award. The retailer also has company-wide inclusion programs encouraging its more than 120,000 team members to be open about their sexuality at work.
In 2021, Coles showed its support for the LGBTI+ community at Brisbane's Big Gay Day by launching a Pride-themed delivery truck and donating $10,000 to local LGBTI+ charities. The truck continues to deliver pride and groceries to Coles Online customers across Queensland as a visible show of support for the LGBTI+ community.
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