Edinburgh man banned from Sainsbury's Cameron Toll store after claims staff were 'taking the mickey'
An Edinburgh man who suffers from progressive lung disease has expressed his sadness and disappointment after his local Sainsbury’s banned him for life.
Colin Blackwood, who lives in Dumbiedykes, takes a taxi to and from the Sainsbury’s store at Cameron Toll Shopping Centre to get his shopping. However, the 60-year-old claims he has had issues with staff mocking his condition while they help him put his messages away at the checkouts. He raised his concerns with the store manager and his local MP. However, he was shocked to then be escorted off the premises last week when he visited to speak to the store’s customer service team.
He said: “This has been going on for a while now, months. I was trying to get people to help me with packing away my messages at the tills, but the staff would just take the mickey, mock me. It got to the stage where I’d had enough of it so I complained. I spoke to a manager on the phone but got nowhere. So I phoned my MP, who contacted Sainsbury’s head office. I then, through the MP, received an unreserved apology from Sainsbury’s who told me to speak to [a customer services manager].
"So the next time I went in I asked to speak to them, but the person on the customer service desk wasn’t the nicest. So I went and started my shopping while waiting and then I heard a woman running up behind me, but it was someone else, who escorted me off the premises for being violent! So I’m banned now, which is a problem as it’s a handy store to go to for my shopping. But I’ve never had this issue anywhere else.”
Colin was quick to point out he believes it is only a minority of staff at the Cameron Toll shop that are a problem, and he revealed more about how his medical condition impacts his day-to-day life. He said: “My condition means I run out of oxygen and I can't breathe, and the staff there seem to think it’s a laugh. I get frustrated when I can't breathe so I can be quite straight forward and perhaps blunt, but not aggressive.
"I only need a hand to put my shopping in the trolley but the staff think it’s funny. When I struggle to breathe I do get a bit flustered. I said to the woman helping me once, I need a hand because I have lung disease and she just joked ‘aye, so do I’! The young folk there are brilliant, they can’t do enough for you, but it’s the older women. They seem to hate their lives and need a cheap laugh to get by. Ironically it’s the ones at the customer help desk that are the main problem.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “Customer and colleague safety is our highest priority. We do not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour towards our colleagues.”