Frustrated by plastic-bag ban, New Zealand shoppers resort to stealing grocery baskets

Illustration for article titled Frustrated by plastic-bag ban, New Zealand shoppers resort to stealing grocery basketsem/em
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New Zealand’s decision to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags has not gone over well with some shoppers. While they haven’t resorted to anti-bag-ban violence as some Australian shoppers have, they are causing headaches with another act of disobedience: walking away with stores’ plastic shopping baskets. One market in Orewa, New Zealand, says it’s down to about six baskets from its usual stock of 200.

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Stuff reports the Countdown grocery store in Orewa is pleading with shoppers to return the plastic baskets, which have dwindled in available supply and could make it difficult for other customers to shop. A spokesperson called the theft “disappointing,” but acknowledged in a written statement to Stuff that “that sometimes change can be tough.”

Look, I don’t always remember my reusable bags on my shopping trips either, either. But reports note that Countdown sells reusable bags for as little as 15 cents, which is about 10 cents U.S. Ten cents! Surely it’s worth springing for the tote and keeping it in your glovebox, right, New Zealanders? Countdown will even replace damaged reusable totes for free—a real bargain if you ask me.

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Plastic shopping baskets aren’t exactly attractive, so if you’re stashing some of these in your trunk, New Zealand supermarkets politely request you return them to stores. Another Countdown store in Dunedin, New Zealand—which has also seen its grocery carts stolen following the bag ban—says it will offer reusable bags to shoppers who bring back baskets “no questions asked.”

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

I love going to the grocery store and watching some virtuous soul loading her reuseable bags full of groceries into the hatch of her enormous, six-cylinder, pollutant-spewing SUV.