Share this article Share I was made to feel stupid every time I asked what was going on.
At one point, I jokingly asked if I had won something — was I the billionth customer? I started to feel quite panicky. My heart was racing and as I was helped through some doors to the back of the shop I saw two more men and a rather smug-looking woman waiting. They were waiting for me. It was at this point I lost my patience. Both my children were clinging on to me. Why have you stolen something?
I was told they wanted to search my bag. Both kids at this point were crying. I emptied my bag on the table.
I was furious — watching a strange man rummage through your personal belongings is degrading and humiliating. I keep all kinds of slightly embarrassing things in there — tampons, half-eaten brownies, spare knickers. I felt like crying, but could only watch in horror as he poked through my bag.
Too little, too late: Nancy appealed to the store manager and head office for an apology but didn't receive one until she made her ordeal public via her blog When they had satisfied themselves there was no shampoo, they appeared puzzled. The woman looked annoyed. There was no apology and no concern for my wailing children. By now, my daughter was in floods of tears, visibly shaken and very confused. In her eyes, I was guilty. I was guilty because a man, who looked a lot like a policeman, had said I was.
No form of an apology was made. In fact, the staff looked more disappointed than sorry. It was as if they had been looking forward to exposing me as a thief. They were almost rubbing their hands with glee. Confused and feeling pretty irate, we left the store. It took me a good hour to calm my very upset children, during which time I became increasingly annoyed at my treatment. I went into the store feeling great — happy, calm and relaxed — but I left feeling angry, violated, degraded and confused.
When we got home, I decided to call Tesco head office to let them know what had happened and to give them the chance to put it right. At first, they seemed great. The lady I spoke to was shocked at the way I had been treated. She told me she would deal with my case and would get the store manager to call me. The whole of bath and bedtime was spent trying to convince Mili I was not guilty — an upsetting task bearing in mind my children had never before questioned my judgment or word. The next day, my mother-in-law popped in and asked the kids what they had been up to.
I told him I wanted a written apology.
Three weeks went by. I was still angry, so decided to write a blog about it.
I thought if I blogged about my experience and it was read by at best people, the supermarket might take note. My blog was, in fact, read by 60, people in the first 24 hours of going live. I was shocked — I assumed it would only reach a small group. It obviously struck a chord. Then, the following morning, on Tuesday, August 16, I received a call from Tesco head office.
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It was a bit awkward — never in a million years had I imagined my blog would cause such a furore. They were very apologetic and concerned about Mili. The truth is, although I was happy with the way Tesco dealt with the reaction to my blog, it was cheapened by the fact that I knew they reacted only because 60, people had read it and they were scared of the damage to their reputation.
When I was a lone voice, my complaints were ignored. And how often will it have to happen again before these stores change their ways? Perhaps next time it will be you.
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