A mum has been banned from every Asda supermarket in the United Kingdom after failing to pay for sixteen pounds worth of items, but 31-year-old Beth Robinson said that the self-scanning machine didn’t take down half of her shopping, leading to a dispute that saw her treated like a common criminal.
The mum, who has five children, was stopped as she endeavoured to leave an Asda supermarket in Scunthorpe by a security guard, and upon examination, it turned out that she hadn’t paid for various things inside her shopping bags.
She had used their scan as you go equipment to purchase items to a strict budget of £45, but once she’d paid and attempted to leave she was apprehended by a guard.
A security guard approached her outside the shop just after she had finished and said that she needed to come back inside because there were discrepancies with her shopping.
They rescanned all of her shopping and discovered it had missed £16 of items off. One of them was an £8 tub of baby formula for her seven-month-old son, who was with her at the time, the others were really cheap Savers things like 70 pence ham and crisps for her children.
Beth Robinson, who is currently on maternity leave, said that the scanning equipment beeped every time she passed an item across it, and added that she has never stolen in her entire life, and why would she steal from a store that she does her shopping in three times a week, spending between £100 to £150 each week?
The staff at the Asda store said that they could have understood if she had stolen the items out of desperation, as it wasn’t bottles of wine that people normally lift, but this unfortunate lady truly thought that every item had been scanned, and she was treated like a common criminal, plus she told them to watch the CCTV footage so that they could see for themselves that she had scanned every item.
But despite her protest, she was made to sign an exclusion order banning her from every single Asda location for a year, and if she does go into an Asda, she could be charged with trespassing and could get removed from the store.
The whole thing really shook her up. She tried telling them there was a problem with the scanner, but they said it would have frozen if there had been a problem with it, maybe they should check their devices before banning someone from their stores, and had they determined that she was lying, then send her a letter saying that she was banned from all their stores.
This lady goes to Asda all the time in Scunthorpe, she uses it for Christmas presents and school uniforms for her children, and they’re all registered at the opticians there, and now they will have to go somewhere else.
Beth’s husband Dale said that they contacted Asda to complain about the prohibition, during which he admitted that he became furious, well, anyone would become annoyed and frustrated if their wife was accused of stealing.
An Asda spokesperson said: “We always want to provide a welcoming environment for our customers and asking someone not to visit our stores is always an absolute last resort.
“Whilst the customer did understand why we had to make this difficult decision and we’re more than happy to discuss the situation with her further, we’d like to remind the customer and her partner that we cannot tolerate shoplifting or any form of abusive or threatening behaviour towards our colleagues.”
I do hope that when and IF they do check their devices they discover that they were in the wrong that they give this lady and her family an apology, not only in writing but in person. If a customer states that they scanned all the items and to examine the CCTV footage, that is what they should have done before pointing the finger.
Maybe she didn’t scan it right, these devices aren’t the most straightforward things to use, particularly at self-service tills, and devices do go wrong, after all, it’s merely a machine and capable of failure.
I shop in Asda most of the time because it’s more accessible for me on the way home to do so, but it’s not the friendliest shop to shop in, most of the time staff are rude, most of them don’t know where anything is if you ask, and some of them can be extremely condescending.
I have complained twice, once in writing and once in the store. The first time I was with my son shopping, he was going to a party that evening so bought himself a bottle of Absinthe and another bottle of alcohol, of which I can’t remember now. He went through first, paid for his stuff and then put my things on the belt because I’m disabled and it was easier for him to do it than me.
Whilst he was doing that I remembered that I needed some cigarette papers which was on another counter close by, so he went to get those for me and I proceeded with my stuff, but whilst I was paying for mine, he came back and said that they wouldn’t sell him any cigarette papers without ID, taking into account that my son was 27 years old at the time, 6 foot 3 with more hair than an Orangatang. But hold on, he had just been through the till with alcohol and they’d not asked him for ID, so why for cigarette papers?
I then went to the other till and asked for the cigarette papers and the lady behind the counter refused me, saying that I was buying them for my son, taking into account that my son doesn’t smoke because he’s Asthmatic. I looked at the woman and said, “What’s he going to do, eat the damn papers?”
I emailed Asda and complained but I got a pretty feeble defence, telling me that they would retrain their staff. Then there was a second time where my son was coming through the till, now my son has Asperger’s Syndrome so he likes to count his money before he leaves the check out, and can be a tad slow, but as he left the check out after examining his change the woman at the till called him stupid, or words to that effect.
I asked to see a manager who came down and apologised and then offered me some £3 vouchers, in which I said it wasn’t good enough and that my son was really upset, and that I wasn’t interested in her damn £3 vouchers, like £3 vouchers were going to make my son smile after he had been called stupid.
So, no Asda isn’t a particularly pleasant store to shop in, and they seriously need to retrain their staff in the art of etiquette because the customer is always right, and perhaps I’m a tad old fashioned but I like a little smile and courtesy from the checkout people, but then they’ve made so many people superfluous, no wonder their workers are discontented, but then this is the price you pay for replacing people’s jobs with machines in the pursuit of profit.
And if she asked the store to examine the CCTV, why didn’t they? I’d like to see the security camera film, why won’t Asda produce it? Plus this sort of thing has happened in other stores before, where you get to the checkout and are chosen for the normal random check and a few things have come up unscanned, it happens, scanners are not infallible.
I myself don’t use scanners, won’t use them, I’d sooner that the cashier scanned the allusive bar code, and then if anything goes awry, the onus is on her and not me, and you are innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until you can prove your innocent, what’s this, a trial by your supermarket?
To be honest, if Asda is saying that she’s a shoplifter then this self-service is obviously not working, and it’s clearly creating shoplifters. For some it’s a genuine mistake by defective equipment, but for others it’s an excuse to get a discount on their weekly or daily shopping, and this self-service malarky has also created unemployment, and these stores only have themselves to blame if they end up making a loss, although I’m sure, all things considered, they’re still very much in profit.