The whole world is laughing at us
CONGRATULATIONS Australia! We made international news today.
It wasn't for a sporting triumph. We haven't released any impressive economic numbers. No one interesting has died, unless you count Bert Newton during his Logies speech.
No, we've made headlines at dozens of news organisations around the world including the BBC, The Sun, The Irish Times and The Straits Timesin Singapore because we're throwing giant, howling tantrums over the supermarket plastic bag ban which came into effect at Woolworths on June 20 and Coles on July 1.
The reports each gleefully detail the howls of fury from Australia customers everywhere - in stores, on social media, on customer complaints forms - over the fact that plastic bags have now been banned at Woolworths, Coles, IGA and Big W nationwide. It's even been given a name - bag rage. One man even put his hands around a supermarket worker's throat, each news outlet breathlessly revealed.
Never mind that South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT - as well as dozens of countries around the world - have banned single-use plastic bags for years and seem to have emerged largely unscathed. The rest of Australia has not had to suffer this indignity before and we simply will not put up with it without clocking a few checkout workers along the way.
Because that's who we are. We're Australians! We're full of that rugged outback spirit. We're the larrikins of the Eureka Stockade and Gallipoli; a tough, no-nonsense people, born rough and ready and hale and hearty and ready to fight for what's right. And if someone tells us we can't put our avocados and kaffir-lime scented body wash into the handheld carriers of our choice, we'll damn well write disgruntled social media updates about it until someone takes notice.
Here's an example:
"Woolworths, you have totally botched this plastic bag thing and I bet Coles will be no better!" raged one customer on Twitter. "Wherever and whenever possible I will no longer shop with you."
Others seem to think the entire thing is a devious money-making scheme designed to impoverish us all.
"Anyone has the same thoughts as me?" asked one Twitter user in the manner of your friend's cousin who totally knows that 9/11 was an inside job because he watched this documentary one time. "Supermarkets are now charging us for … bags! Charging us!!! Don't you make enough from us!?"
One man on the Coles Facebook page seemed cautiously supportive of the bag ban overall, but still managed to identify a conspiracy.
"Kudos to Coles Forest Lakes for handing out free 15c bags," he began. "My issue is that single males shopping were being pointedly ignored in being given one of your free Coles bags.
"Good on you," he finished bitterly, "for perpetuating the divide."
How's a man meant to quietly buy his Lean Cuisines when his local supermarket is making such audacious environmental and gender-politicised statements at every turn?
So what does the world think of our bag ban butthurt? Well, over in California - Reuters in the US also ran a story about Australia's bag rage - Americans are relishing the opportunity to call us idiots as we howl and seethe and shake our fists at the sky like toddlers whose Vegemite toast has been cut into squares instead of triangles.
"Bag rage!?" wrote one incredulous Facebook user. "You're not serious. Apparently the US doesn't have the market cornered on entitled douchebags."
It's not every day that a nation's people can be called douchebags by a country that elected Donald Trump. Take a bow, Australia. What a time to be alive.