Letter - Abuse, anger and aggression over 5p carrier bags

IT was with great interest that I read the letter from John Penrose in the Express regarding the issue of plastic carrier bags.

Let’s bin the bags was the headline, and went on to state that a 5p levy should be mandatory, and not voluntary, as is at the moment.

Grand words indeed, however the reality of charging customers 5p for a standard carrier bag is very different indeed.

I work for an M&S food outlet, and approximately five years ago, we took the step of charging 5p for our standard food carrier bags.

Almost immediately, it became apparent that this is a highly emotive issue, and from then, until now myself, and my colleagues have endured such objection in such a way that beggars belief.

Who could possibly object to paying out 5p? I can assure you that plenty of people do, and have no fear of venting their anger at the poor hapless sales assistant who have dared to ask, “Do you need a 5p carrier bag for your shopping?”

I have endured abuse, anger, and aggression over this issue, including having groceries thrown back at me, entire shopping trolleys abandoned in disgust and been accused of appalling customer service.

One person became so irate and aggressive recently that I was genuinely afraid and considered leaving a much-loved job because of this.

However, there are some points that I would like to offer supermarket bosses.

Having listened to customers objections for five years now I can say that customers are confused and become very indignant when stores like Morrisons and Asda still provide free bags (simply keeping them under the checkout does not do a thing as all you have to do is ask for bags and they are given).

And stores like M&S who will quite happily provide you with a free bag for a pair of pants or a T shirt, but will charge 5p when you go downstairs and buy some groceries.

Why can’t all stores sing from the same song sheet, one rule for all, either all charge for bags or all provide free bags. I can assure it would make mine, and my colleagues’, working life a heck of a lot easier.

Linda Slater

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