Coles’ decision to ban trolleys from some of its self-service checkouts has proved short-lived in the face of an extensive consumer backlash.
The company’s latest backflip came only a day after it announced it was trialling a “baskets-only” policy.
The trial was intended to tackle congestion and offer “convenience and efficiency” at self-service checkouts. It ran at only about 20 unnamed stores across the country.
However, a Coles spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that the trial had ended.
“To improve service to customers and ease congestion, we ran a trial to limit trolleys in assisted checkout area in a very small number of stores, which has now ended,” she said.
“We’ve listened to our customers and will continue to allow shoppers to bring trolleys and baskets in our assisted checkouts.”
The trolley ban was first reported on Wednesday morning after customers took to social media to vent their anger.
Many blamed congestion at assisted checkouts on problems with self-serve machines (for example, failing to correctly recognise the weight of a product) and hassle with reusable bags.
Coles: If I purchase an 8 kg bag of dog food, I need to use a basket rather than a trolley, or go through a non self-service checkout? Coles trials ban on trolleys at some checkouts | The New Daily https://t.co/bPtcziI2SS
— Mark Reynolds IT (@MarkReynoldsIT) September 19, 2018
Others said they chose self-service to avoid long waits in queues at understaffed full-service checkouts.
“Perhaps there should be no customers, with Coles taking away staff and now trolleys,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Maybe they could make sure that all the empty checkouts are staffed, then we won’t be forced to take trolleys through to serve ourselves,” another said.
Coles will reverse the pointless ban if everyone starts leaving their trolleys in the entrances to the assisted areas. https://t.co/o6lpGjXSOC
— rob (@bertielicious) September 18, 2018
It’s the latest in a string of backdowns for Coles, which also sparked customer anger with its repeated changes of policy on single-use plastic bags – handing out replacements for free, then deciding to charge for them, then making them temporarily free again.