Woolworths has launched its first nationwide Ooshies swap day following customer uproar over the latest promotion running out of stock and ending prematurely.
Shoppers in all states and territories except Victoria will on Saturday have the chance to trade the 36 Disney+ Ooshies characters in a way the supermarket promises will be “Covid safe”.
Regular-sized stores and participating Metro stores will from 10am to 2pm allow collectors to swap their excess toys with those they missed out on during the promotion.
The supermarket announced on Thursday it would have hygiene and physical-distancing measures in place, which would involve staff cleaning Ooshies with alcohol-based spray before they change hands.
There will also be a QR code check-in process, hand sanitiser and directions for collectors to maintain social distancing.
Shoppers across the country threatened to boycott Woolworths as a result of the Ooshies fiasco, which saw stores continue advertising them despite having no stock left.
Many expressed anger over not being able to complete their collections due to stores running out of the toys sooner than expected.
The promotion began for all states and territories except Victoria on August 26, and was supposed to continue until October 20.
For weeks after Woolworths made the announcement of the premature end, parents of devastated children flooded the supermarket’s social media page with accounts of how it had negatively affected them.
Even before it was revealed the stock had run out, customers complained about incredible difficulty trying to source the Ooshies they needed for their sets.
Customers were encouraged by Woolworths to join swap groups on Facebook and arrange amongst themselves ways to complete their Ooshies collections.
Those who were still unable to do so and who still have interest in the sold-out collectables may finally have their chance to fill their set this weekend.
“Our Disney+ Ooshies resonated well with customers of all ages and their demand completely exceeded our expectations,” Woolworths’ director of stores Robert Moffat said.
“Swap days have historically been an important way to help customers fill the gaps in their collection, but these plans were initially paused due to the COVID-19 community infection rates in many states at the time.”
‘Confident’ this year will be different
Mr Moffat said he was “confident we can apply our learnings from the last six months and implement COVIDSafe measures”.
“We will adjust how swap days operate to help keep our customers and team members safe while giving customers the opportunity to try to complete their collection,” he said.
Previous Ooshies swap days have been marred with chaos, with scenes of customers feuding over particular toys not an uncommon theme.
Mr Moffat said this year would be different and “more organised than in previous years”.
“Customers will queue to drop off their extra Disney+ Ooshies where they will be cleaned by a team member, then have the opportunity to pick up available cleaned Disney+ Ooshies to add to their collection,” he said.
South Australian stores ran a trial swap day last weekend where he said customers adhered to guidelines, which made for an overall successful experience.
Unwanted Ooshies and their wrappers can be recycled in TerraCycle bins available at each store.
Recycled Ooshies can then be turned into plastic pellets and help make items like park benches.
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