The little shop of plastic toy horrors

The little shop of plastic toy horrors The Little Things: Coles’ Little Shop of mini-collectables has sparked love and hate in equal measure. Picture: Glen Fredericks

Coles’ Little Shop of mini-collectables, wrapped in plastic.

Coles’ Little Shop of mini-collectables.

TweetFacebookSupermarket PsychologyTopics has been following the Coles plastic bag warwith a keen eye.

The chain of events seemed to go like this: Coles bansplastic bags. Customers get angry. Colesgives reusable plastic bags away for free indefinitely while customers get used to bringing their own. More anger.Coles says it willagaincharge15 centsfor reusable bags later this month.

It’s frightful that the air,water,land and beingsarecontaminated with plastic.Butin the fast-paced, frantic world, changes to routine can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.This plastic-bag adjustmentseemed to tip some people over the edge. Personally, we’re not too fazed about taking reusablebags to a place of food abundance. Except that we keep forgetting them.

On The Conversation website,Associate Professor Gary Mortimer andProfessor Rebekah Russell-Bennett –who lecture in marketing – explained that there had been a “psychological contract between supermarket and shopper”. It went like this: “I’ll shop with you and, in exchange, you’ll pack my purchases into a free plastic bag”.

“Shoppers began to realise that supermarkets were saving money by no longer giving away bags for nothing, while they themselves incurred a cost – 15 cents or more, depending on the type of reusable bag,”they wrote. Adding insult to injury, the supermarkets had “not kept up their end of the psychological contract by reducing the use of plastic in the store, particularly in packaging”. Their conclusion: “When there is a psychological contract breach, peoplecan engage in revenge and retaliation.”

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