HE’S been retired for more than two decades and collects his pension every week – but 81-year-old Charlie O’Malley was still refused alcohol when he went to buy it at his local supermarket.
The former police officer had gone to Asda at Loanhead with wife Jane and their 16-year-old granddaughter, Charley, to get their groceries, which included a bottle of brandy.
They went to the checkout and started unloading the trolley but realised they had forgotten the next day’s breakfast so Charley and her grandad went to fetch the items.
When Charley came back with the wrong type of bacon, Jane went to swap it leaving her to finish putting the groceries on conveyor belt.
“Charley was unpacking the rest of the trolley on to the conveyor when the man on the checkouts asked if she had some ID,” Mr O’Malley said.
“She explained it wasn’t her shopping and it was for her grandparents but he wouldn’t have it, even though we were straight back.
“I’m disabled but at least my wife was there as well. What if it was a disabled person who needs help unload their shopping? Would they not be allowed it then? It makes no sense at all.”
A supervisor was called over who said it was up to the employee but he said he did not want to stand down as it would be him that would be held accountable.
Challenge 25 legislation, which became law in Scotland two years ago, means that employees, as well as the retailer can be prosecuted if they are selling to someone under age.
The family, from Penicuik, asked to see the manager and offered to buy the alcohol separately at a different till.
Mr O’Malley said: “I was getting really embarrassed by this point as people were obviously looking.
“I couldn’t believe it when the manager said no and said there was no way I was buying alcohol in that store that day. It was absolutely ridiculous.”
Wife Jane, 64, said they had always shopped in Asda but was left feeling exasperated by it.
She said: “It was unreal. I know there are laws but this was stupid. It was obviously our shopping.
“We ended up walking out and leaving everything there. The funny thing is, Charley hates alcohol. Because she’s diabetic she’s got her head screwed on and hates the idea of drinking and smoking.”
A spokeswoman for Asda said it was about finding a balance between being responsible and serving customers what they wanted.
She said: “We don’t apologise for colleagues being over-cautious as we have failed test cases in Scotland and staff on the till can be held responsible.”