New Zealand shoppers have not responded well to the island’s phasing out of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores — and now they’re reportedly stealing baskets from supermarkets.
Countdown supermarket in Auckland removed single-use plastic bags from its stores last month, and in the time since, it has gone from 200 shopping baskets to about six, Stuff reports.
“There’s no more than 10 left. It’s crazy,” Countdown Orewa customer service manager Marlene Williams said to Stuff.
The grocery store said they will continue to provide customers with shopping baskets, but requested customers return the stolen carriers so other customers can use them.
“[It] is of course disappointing, but we also understand that sometimes change can be tough,” Williams said.
Countdown Orewa was one of 42 in the supermarket chain that stopped using plastic bags. Those chain locations now sell reusable bags for customers that cost between 15 cents and $1.
Though customers seem to be upset with the change, they have not resorted with the same violence as some did in Australia, when grocery stores stopped providing complimentary plastic bags.
According to DW, 57 out of 132 grocery store employees reported customer abuse after the ban went into effect.
“A male customer in the self-serve area swore loudly at a female worker,” the union’s assistant secretary Ben Harris told the AFP news agency. “She provided him with some complimentary bags and apologized.”
Another reportedly had a customer walk up “behind her and put his hands around her throat,” after making a mistake with his items at the check-out.
Australia and New Zealand are not the only areas to ban plastic bags. In the United States, California banned the distribution of free single-use plastic across the state in 2016.