I'm pretty sure that within a short time this would have degraded to nothing more than compost. Great if you want to replenish nutrients in the soil but not suitable for decorative use. Annoyed at my error I promptly returned the bark chippings and primed myself for the "You can't have a refund for that as you have opened it" conversation whereupon I would have quoted the sale of goods act, misdescription of goods, not of merchantable quality, etc, etc. The sales assistant would still not have been impressed and I would have to ask to speak to the manager and a similar conversation would ensue, adding that the senior management would not be pleased with the poor publicity as I told the world how poor the product was. I think I got a little carried away with thoughts of the potential exchange of words because the pretty assistant smiled when I asked for a refund and said "Of course sir!"
I did what I should have done in the first place and purchased the bark from a trade (and retail) outlet: Thompson's of Crews Hill. The difference in products could not be more extreme. The Thompson's bark is nothing but meaty chunks, and it smells pinetastically good. It's ideal for decorative use as it is attractive, clean and lightweight. If used as a weed suppressant it is better than a mulch with loads of fines as the larger pieces won't retain moisture. The mulch type of 'bark' will retain moisture giving a toe-hold for weeds.
Don't be fooled by the image on the bag when you see bark for sale at DIY stores. If it's almost too heavy to lift then it won't look like this when you open the bag:
|Thompson's bark. The right stuff.|