An elderly lady says she is "furious" and "outraged" after she was asked to pay 5p for a smal plastic bag to hold her bananas in an Asda supermarket. The 86-year-old grandmother, who has only been identified as Jean, told the staff member that she would "rather shove the bunch up her top" than pay extra to hold the bananas. At the time of the incident, the feisty woman had been trying to buy a 78p bunch of bananas from Asda in Longwell Green near Bristol. It has been a legal requirement for large supermarkets to charge five pence per plastic bag since last October.
However government guidelines state that the tax should not be applied to small bags containing unpackaged foods. Jean said: "I may be 86, but that doesn't mean I will stand by and be conned.
It is not about the five pence it is about the principal, and I don't think is right.
They must sell thousands of those little bags each week so think about how much those five pence's add up to, and where does the money go?"
The incident took place on Thursday when Jean deviated from her usual routine of buying her fresh fruit from a local greengrocer.
She said: "I went to Asda because I just needed a few bananas. I put them in one of the small bags and took it to the till.
The woman then said that will be five pence for the bag and I just couldn't believe it.
I said that's not right it isn't a proper shopping bag, and she said because it had handles it comes under the five pence rule.
I just felt furious. I said I would rather shove the bunch up my top than pay the five pence.
I mean just because it has handles it doesn't make it a full-size shopping bag, I couldn't fit my weekly shop in that could I?"
After a short argument the checkout woman allowed Jean to leave without paying the charge.
On her way out she asked a second Asda worker about the rule and they confirmed that staff have been told to charge five pence for each 20cm fruit bag sold.
The incident has put Jean off shopping at the supermarket giant, owned by Walmart, and she hopes her experience will prompt others to question the charge.
She said: "I will never go to Asda Longwell Green for bananas again. I am all for the charge for large bags, but not the small ones."
An Asda spokesperson said: “We would firstly like to apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused.
The carrier bag guidance states that retailers should charge 5p for a bag of this size, unless it is being used for exceptional items such as loose fruit and vegetables.
In this case, a mistake was made and we are trying to contact the customer to apologise in person."