North Island New Worlds dropped the 5 cent charge on plastic bags after customers voted with their feet and went to other supermarkets.
We were less bolshie in the south but obviously there were complaints from more than the small group of customers which Foodstuffs general manager said has now prompted the company to drop the charge in South Island New World’s too.
However, the charge will remain in Pak’N Save and Four Square supermarkets because they had not experienced the same negative feedback.
I’ve been using reusable bags most of the time for several years but the principle of being charged more than the plastic bags cost so the company could donate money to charity annoyed me.
Now it’s not just the principle that I”m tetchy about, it’s the fact that they’ve removed it from some supermarkets but not all of them.
Groceries at Four Square stores are usually more expensive than at other supermarkets because they tend to be the smaller neighbourhood or rural stores which don’t usually have competitors near by.
In town many of the people who use them are likely to be unable to get to bigger supermarkets easily, perhaps because they’re elderly or don’t have a car.
In the country the cost of going further to another supermarket would be greater than savings to be made from the lower prices.
If there’s one positive thing about the bag charge debacle, it’s that it shows the positive power of competition. Obviously New World supermarkets have competition and enough customers changed to competitors to force Foodstuffs to drop the bag charge there.
Having done that it looks self-serving to continue the charge in Four Square stores just because most of their customers can’t easily take their custom elsewhere.