Elderly mom, daughter see red after Woolies humiliation

2019-04-11 16:20
A file image of old person's hands. (File)

A file image of old person's hands. (File)

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A Pietermaritzburg woman and her elderly mother say there were traumatised by their treatment after they were wrongly accused of shoplifting.

The Pietermaritzburg woman, who asked not to be named, said she and her mother (86) had been shopping at their “favourite store”, Woolworths, at Liberty Midlands Mall last Sunday when the incident occurred.

The woman said they paid for their items, however, when they left the shop the security alarm went off as, unbeknown to them, the cashier had forgotten to take the tag off a pair of shoes.

“A man came from the store and shouted for us to come back, without giving us any reason as to why or who he was and when we got to the entrance the man — a security guard — tipped the contents of our shopping all over the floor in front of all the other customers.”

She said they weren’t asked for their till slip, or called to one side, but instead had their shopping searched on the floor of the entrance to the shop while people were walking in and out of the store staring at them. “We weren’t called to a private room, or asked for till slips. He [the guard] just took our packet and threw everything out. It was so humiliating,” said the woman, adding that her mother became very anxious and panicky and went to find the manager. “The female security guard standing with [the security guard] was laughing ... The man then started to radio people. By this stage, I was absolutely fuming.

“I picked up the slip off the floor and told him to look at it to clear everything up. When he realised everything was paid for and that he had made a mistake there was absolutely no apology from him.”

She said the manager arrived and although she “was very sweet” nothing much was said to the guards.

“Nobody took down our numbers. I told the manager the situation was handled completely the wrong way.

“I told her I would never set foot in the store again and she just kept saying ‘don’t be like that’. We were treated like criminals. I was not upset about being searched, I was upset about how they went about it. I told the guard his behaviour was disgusting but he ignored us. As we were walking away, I looked back and the female security guard was still giggling. We were humiliated. No one tried to contact us afterwards to apologise or take up the incident.”

Another Pietermaritzburg woman who asked not to be named said she had experienced a similar incident earlier this month at Woolworths and had been quite shocked at the way she was treated, with no apology afterwards.

Woolworths head office said on Wednesday they were unaware of the incident and will conduct an investigation. “Our standard procedure is to treat our customers with dignity and respect and in no way embarrass or inconvenience them.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  woolworths

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