Cash more effective, shoppers suggest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2009, 12:00am

Supermarkets' plastic bag campaign is not as effective as cash rebates would be for shoppers who brought their own bags, customers say.

Since the launch of the campaign in March, supermarket staff ask customers if they need a plastic bag before giving them one. The policy of offering cash rebates to customers who use their own bags was scrapped by Wellcome and ParknShop.

During a visit to branches of the two chains by a South China Morning Post reporter yesterday, staff followed company policy and asked if the reporter needed a bag. Some shoppers had their own bags.

Cashiers usually checked with them if they needed bags, shoppers said, yet some staff skipped the inquiry when they were busy. Sally Si, who had just left Wellcome, said she did not carry her own bag because the supermarkets always gave her one. Cashiers recognised the frequent shopper, and gave her bags without asking. 'When the staff are busy, they don't ask.'

Even when she was asked if she needed a bag, it did not stop her from getting one. 'Asking makes little difference. Paying me could be an effective encouragement, though.'

Subie Wong said she usually brought a shopping bag but had forgotten it. She agreed cash rebates would be more effective. 'The elderly like the rebate. It is also reasonable if they charge 50 cents for a bag.'