A Tesco customer in Lincoln was left furious this week when staff refused to serve him after he attempted to purchase a milkshake for a homeless woman. 40-year-old Daniel Heard told reporters that he felt “disgusted” by the incident, which took place in a Tesco Express store near the town centre on Sunday the 19th of May.
Mr Heard revealed to reporters at “Lincolnshire Live” that he frequents the store “three or four times a week”, and almost always purchases items from the “reduced” section in order to give them to the homeless. On this occasion, however, he was shocked that staff were not only indifferent to the act of charity, but actively working to make sure that it couldn’t happen.
According to Heard, he had spotted a homeless couple outside the store and asked them whether they wanted anything to eat or drink. As Heard tells it, “I think they said yes, so I said I’d get them something nice. I walked down the aisle looking for something for myself and then the woman ran across and popped in the shop to say she wasn’t hungry, but she’d love a milkshake.”
Things took a turn, however, when the woman was confronted by a member of staff who alleged that she was stealing, and demanded that she leave the store. Heard then claims that the staff member in question “...then turned to me and said don’t purchase it for her,” to which he responded “I’ll spend my money on what I want”. The situation escalated when the staff member said that if Heard did, “they wouldn't serve (him)”.
Though the couple in question ultimately did get their milkshake, after Heard asked a friend to enter the store and purchase the product, Heard revealed that he felt “absolutely disgusted” by the incident. As he told Lincolnshire Live, “Every time something like this happens it scratches away a bit of my humanity. A lot of them are just in a bad way and just need a bit of compassion. These people are starving and at the end of the day, they’re only going to put it in the bin.” He went on to lodge an official complaint with the company.
Responding to Heard’s allegations, Tesco issued a formal apology, writing, “we appreciate that we should not have refused to serve the customer buying items in this instance and apologise for the error we have made.” However, a spokesperson for the business included the caveat that “The [homeless] individual in question is currently banned from the store due to threatening behaviour towards one of our colleagues.” There has been no word on whether Heard plans on taking his complaint further.