WOOLWORTHS customers have slammed the supermarket's "ridiculous" new "crate to bench" delivery fee being introduced as a result of the plastic bag ban next week.
On Thursday, the supermarket informed customers of the new arrangement for home deliveries - from June 20, customers can either pay a flat $1 fee to have their groceries delivered in "reusable" plastic bags, or pay $3.50 to have their groceries unpacked on the kitchen bench.
"The amount for the crate-to-bench option reflects the additional costs of providing this new service," a spokesman said in a statement. Coles, on the other hand, will offer the same service at no additional cost, or customers can choose to pay 15 cents per reusable bag.
Woolworths' Facebook page has been flooded with customers unhappy with the new arrangement, with some questioning why they were being slugged with extra charges having already purchased a home delivery pass.
"I purchase over $100 every week amounting to about 24-odd items and if I now don't want plastic bags, I get charged $3.50 for crate to bench," Kristy-Anne Rowe said.
"I've already paid for a 12-month delivery pass for my shopping to be delivered. So, I get to pay an additional $168 (based on 48 deliveries at $3.50 each for the year) plus the already paid 12-month delivery pass of $99 = $267.
"I'm already being penalised by Woolworths, as I don't have more members in my family where I can spend $300 and get free delivery. What about spread the cost more fairly across all online shoppers or better still, scrap the additional charge?
"And, the worst thing is, I live in SA where plastic bags have been banned for years, but your company insists on bagging majority of my 24 odd items in at least eight plastic bags, when two would suffice."
A Woolworths spokesman confirmed Delivery Saver customers would still have to pay the additional $1 or $3.50 fee.
Janaki Siriwardhane said she was "very disappointed" by the move, which was "defeating the idea of producing less plastic" by encouraging customers to continually purchase reusable bags.
"I would be happy to pay a deposit for crate which would then guarantee that it gets returned at the next delivery, but expecting customers to pay for crate delivery every week is ridiculous," she said. "I will happily switch over to Coles who have a much more sensible policy."
Mel Cauduro said if Coles could absorb the cost, Woolworths should as well. "Surely you can understand the frustration of your customers, when you call the bags reusable but we can't reuse them for our online delivery," she said.
"People use your online delivery system for many reasons - convenience, time saving, disability and even to just avoid shopping with the kids. Those on pensions and budgets cannot afford to keep putting their hands in their pockets because you guys changed the rules."
Cherie DeVries said she didn't "have much choice but to shop online and now it's going to cost me more". "I reused the plastic bags as it was," she said. "Now I'll have to buy single-use plastic bags for my bin in the kitchen as well as the cost of bags or crates for delivery."
Linda Burns said she was not happy about the change. "I have little choice but to use home delivery due to disability but I will not pay you even more in fees than I already do," she said.
"I certainly do not want a stranger coming in and unpacking groceries in my kitchen so I will find another supermarket who will not rip us off! The plastic bags were not single use and many people re-use them for many purposes.
"I would rather have the fully recyclable plastic bags that are now available but you have neglected to source them. Plus I now have to purchase plastic garbage bags instead of re-using those from my shopping. Coles are going to love this because guess where most of those who have to use home delivery will go."
Renata Ryan also said she didn't want a stranger coming into her home. "How about a home delivery option where customers leave their own baskets/boxes at the front door? she said.
"I don't want 'reusable' plastic bags every time (because when would they get reused if you do that every time) and I certainly don't want to invite the delivery driver into my kitchen."
Ann Packham had a similar suggestion. "Instead of charging a fee for the crate on every delivery, how about a one-off fee for the crate and then we get to keep and swap it out when our next delivery comes," she said.
"I don't really want someone coming into my kitchen to empty my groceries onto my bench and I don't want the price of my regular order to be increased for every week going forward."
In response to complaints, a Woolworths representative wrote, "Because you won't pay any more for the same item online as in store, the amount added to your order is reflective of the additional cost of providing reusable bags or our 'crate to bench' service.
"We're committed to playing our part in reducing plastic and believe this is the right thing to do for our environment. We are continuing to trial and review new ways to pack online orders and are hoping to offer a further range of options in the future."