Expert reveals truth behind Coles 'money-making scam' rumour

As the demand for Coles and Woolworths online and click and collect orders increases, shoppers are being angered by one reoccurring issue.

Excessive use of the store’s re-usable plastic bags across orders has frustrated many customers who say their orders are arriving with multiple bags carrying just one item.

Concerned customers have taken to the Coles and Woolworths Facebook pages, slamming the supermarkets for the excessive use, with some labelling it a "money-making scam".

However, Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behaviour at Queensland University of Technology, Gary Mortimer says supermarkets are doing what they need to do in the current circumstances.

“This isn’t a scam being led by the big supermarkets to try to extract an extra 15 cents out of customers on their online shopping,” he said.

A Coles bag containing just one bottle of milk.
One shopper's Coles online order had multiple bags with just one item in them. Source: Facebook

“There may be some isolated cases where a shopper may receive their online shipping and only find a couple of items in a plastic bag.

“Ultimately, we know that with Covid restrictions in place and the minimisation of handling of goods, there may be some need in the immediate future to have orders picked differently by different assistants.”

He went on to say that both the big supermarkets are following the correct processes in packing a huge number of orders safely for customers.

“My experience with both major supermarkets is that an online order is generally picked by one team member that completes the one order,” he said.

“But it may be the case that meat or deli products are picked separately and therefore packaged separately.”

Customers angered over excessive plastic bags

One customer recently lashed out at the supermarket, accusing them of a “money-making scam” after receiving just two small items in one Coles Better Bag.

Taking to TikTok, the shopper questioned the store’s packaging system after picking up her Click and Collect order.

A customer calls out Coles' use of bags on TikTok.
A Coles customer has slammed the store's excessive use of re-usable plastic bags as a 'money-making scam'. Sourece: TikTok

The woman said she was baffled to have been given one huge bag for just two tiny items, which could have easily have fit in another one of her grocery bags.

“What the hell? They charged me 15 cents for a bag to put two small chocolates in.

"They could have easily just gone in here,” she said placing the items in another half-full bag.

“Coles money-making scam.”

Her video has since attracted more than 2000 likes, with many commenting they have experienced the same.

“They do this to me every week with bread. One loaf of bread that doesn’t need a bag,” one person said.

“The Coles bags are ridiculous and you can’t choose no bags at the moment,” said another.

“Woolies do this too. I order my groceries online and only get one item in it,” added a third.

Customers raise environmental concerns

Coles online customers have had similar experiences with numerous shoppers saying their delivery arrives in an unnecessary amount of bags.

One customer asked on the store’s Facebook page why so many bags were ‘wasted’ when her online order arrived spread across a surprising number bags.

“I know we are in lockdown and for us quarantine, but why, oh why did you need to pack my groceries in 27 separate bags?” wrote the customer on the Coles Facebook page.

She went on to question why three loaves of bread were packaged in three separate bags and why her bananas were divided into separate bags.

Coles store (left) and a stack of 27 Coles bags (right). Source: Facebook
A customer has expressed their rage after being given 27 shopping bags with one online order. Source: Facebook

“Now I know you have to bag groceries for online orders, but 27 bags. I could have packed it into 10 easy. We don’t need this much wastage,” she wrote.

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that plastic bags used in online and click and collect orders were packaged a particular way for “health and safety reasons” and to prevent cross-contamination between items.

“Bags are essential to keep items together during the online shopping process and are necessary for health and safety reasons with some products,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that Coles Better Bags can be recycled at all of their stores.

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