When the single-use bag ban went into effect in New Jersey, most supermarket shoppers started bringing reusable bags with them or buying bags at the checkout counter.

Some shoppers have been choosing a different option- to steal handheld shopping baskets.

Linda Doherty, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Food Council, said there have been reports of this happening in supermarkets all over the state.

“Some members are ordering more baskets to replace the lost ones, while others are considering doing away with the hand baskets because of the loss of the items,” she said.

Stores politely ask shoppers not to steal

“We’re seeing some stores are posting signs to remind customers to keep the hand baskets in the stores, and also using their in-store public address systems with similar messaging," Doherty said.

Karen O’Shea, s spokeswoman for Wakefern Food Corp., the parent company of ShopRite, said there is certainly a cost to provide the baskets to shoppers “and stores are evaluating the situation and some may decide not to carry baskets if they can’t keep them in the store.”

Catalin205/Billion Photos/Townsquare Media photo illustration
Catalin205/Billion Photos/Townsquare Media photo illustration

Bring a reusable bag

She pointed out the single-use bag ban is still a new law and some customers who use baskets to carry items may forget to return those baskets, we continue to help shoppers adjust to the single-use bag ban by reminding them to use their reusable bags.”

Doherty agreed it may take some folks a bit of time to adjust to the new law because it’s still relatively new, suggesting “we think in most cases people are simply forgetting to bring them back.”

“We just continue to remind customers to bring their reusable bags to shop and return the hand baskets when they’re done shopping," Doherty said.

She said if someone walks out with a shopping basket and realizes what they’ve done once they get to their car they should bring the basket back to the store or they can leave it in a shopping cart corral.

She noted while this is certainly a problem, “customers, for the most part, were prepared for the state’s ban on single-use shopping bags and did comply with the government mandate in early May.”

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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