Rugby fan denied sale with Scottish money goes viral

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A Scots rugby fan spoke of his anger after he was refused the sale of a scarf at the official Rugby World Cup store -- because he had a Scottish £20 note.

Peter Mechan had gone to see the Fiji vs Uruguay match on Tuesday and decided to browse the merchandise store for a souvenir.

The two staff members told Peter Mechan, inset, that they could not accept Scottish notes.

The two staff members told Peter Mechan, inset, that they could not accept Scottish notes.

He picked out a scarf and tried to pay with a Scottish £20 note he’d picked up on a recent visit to Edinburgh.

But he said he was left “insulted” and upset when staff said they were not allowed to accept his cash.

Peter, 52, a senior IT project manager who lives in Milton Keynes, later returned to the store to try again and filmed his confrontation with the shop staff.

And after posting the video to Facebook, it was shared more than 4,500 times and scored 156,000 views in just 15 hours.

Peter said: “I went in to the shop and I saw a rally nice scarf with all the flags of the competing countries and thought I’d by myself one as a souvenir.

“I couldn’t believe it when the official shop refused to take any of the Scottish notes, especially after the ban on bagpipes.

“I only had Scottish notes in my pocket and so I handed over a £20 note and they looked at it. They said they couldn’t take it.

“I was more angry than embarrassed. It feels like an insult, not only to me, but to my country.

“After that I went to get something to eat from a restaurant and got English notes as change so decided to go back to try and see if I could film it on camera.”

The Bank of England website states that Scottish “banknotes are not ‘legal tender’ and that “Bank of England banknotes are only legal tender in England and Wales”.

The acceptability of a Scottish or Northern Ireland banknote as a means of payment is essentially a matter for agreement between the parties involved.

In the video, the shop assistant said: “We’re just being told what our managers have told us.”

Peter then replies: “Scottish notes are backed by gold and tradable assets unlike English notes.

“When the Bank of England wants to print more money, it just prints more money, there’s nothing behind it.

“What Scots banks have to do is, if they want to print money, they actually have to actually buy tradable assets in the world and then deposit that with the Bank of England.

“So our money is actually safer than yours.”

One of the sales clerks then responds: “Technically you’re right, but as I said it’s not down to me. I don’t have the power.”

Peter, who is originally from Edinburgh, said he wanted to film the incident to bring attention to the issue of Scottish notes being refused.

He said: “I did the video with the hope that it might bring some attention the issue because there’s no reason for this to be happening.

“I live and work in Milton Keynes but still have a flat in Edinburgh, so I’m back up there seeing family and friends about once-a-month.

“I keep Scottish notes in my pocket and normally when I use them in England people say they’re quite nice and really interesting.”

Peter said he had filed a complaint with the Rugby World Cup chiefs and Thursday someone from the store asked him to remove the video from social media.

Peter added: “I’d really like the Rugby World cup to explain why this happened and why they feel they could not accept a Scottish bank note.

“I have been phoned back by the shop and the guy apologised to me, explaining that it was a ‘miscommunication’.

“He did say that they are being inundated by emails and asked if I could therefore take the video down but I refused.

“I’ve had the problem before in London where a shop assistant wouldn’t take them, but more often it’s just people looking closely at them asking if it’s legal tender and asking their manager.

“It shouldn’t be a problem now, it’s a problem that should’ve faded in the 70s.”