In what’s quickly turning out to be a crash course in how not to handle consumers being morons, Coles has flipped back after backflipping on the inexplicably controversial plastic bag ban, and has now put a deadline on handing out free reusable bags to customers.

Yesterday, the company caved in to grumbling dingleberries, all of whom simply refused to wrap their head around the concept of taking your own bags to the shop in order to transport the things you buy there home, announcing that the 15c reusable bags would be given to customers free of charge for an indefinite period of time.

Today, just 24 hours later, the company has already wound that promise back, announcing that “indefinite” deal will only last a few weeks.

Coles chief executive John Durkan issued a company-wide email to all staff this morning, which NewsCorp subsequently published earlier today.

In it, Durkan revealed the complimentary bag offer – which hands out thicker plastic bags to customers – will end on August 29th.

We are extending our complimentary bag offer until Wednesday 29 August for our customers in QLD, NSW, VIC and WA. I appreciate this transition phase is taking longer than anticipated but it is absolutely the right thing to do by our customers. As you would have experienced first-hand in stores, this has been a big and difficult change for many of our customers.

The bag deal already copped a searing blast of heat from environmental groups and critics, given that the bags being handed out are of thicker and more harmful plastic than the ordinary ones that Coles formally banished from its stores in July.

Whether the company fully commits to today’s promise remains to be seen, as does whether or not consumers still struggling with this apparently dumbfounding new world will find a way to accept it.

Who’d have thought plastic bags would cause this much drama.

Image: Getty Images / Ian Waldie