A carer was asked to leave an Asda supermarket because staff didn’t like the way he was shopping.. The incident left Matthew Scholes, 49, feeling humiliated, especially after it was put in black and white by the supermarket chain.
Matthew was doing his weekly shop at the Asda in Thornaby and said he was followed around the store by a member of staff with a clipboard. And when he got to the alcohol aisle, he said he was told: “We have seen you in here before” and “I want you to leave the store right now” by a female member of staff, TeesideLive reports.
After putting his basket down and leaving, he contacted the supermarket and got an email from Asda Executive Relations. It left him stunned.
The email said: “I have spoken to the store leadership team who have informed me they do not like the way you shop. I appreciate this may not be the response you were looking for and I am sorry for any disappointment this may cause.”
The company says that their colleagues can ask shoppers to leave if they suspect them of “suspicious shopping behavior”. Matthew said he was shopping as normal and was a loyal customer until the incident happened.
Matthew, who lives in Thornaby who works at Victoria House Care Home in Stockton, said: “I feel discriminated against and humiliated. I picked up a bottle of Ouzo and, at that point with a bottle in my hand, the woman said ‘can I have a word?I want you to leave the shop right now’.
“I said ‘what’s going on I haven’t done nothing wrong, I haven’t stolen anything’. She was repeating herself over and over again like a parrot. The only other thing she said was ‘we have seen you in here before ‘. I was just so stunned. After the fifth time she said leave the store I had no choice but to put my basket down and leave the store.
“The email said they have had a word with the team and they don’t like the way I shop and that’s it! It’s ridiculous, there’s no explanation. I have not done anything differently, I have just shopped the way I have always shopped .”
Matthew has worked in the care industry for more than 30 years, including through the coronavirus pandemic. He said the incident occurred while he was visiting the supermarket on Allensway on Saturday, March 5.
Matthew said he was placing food and drink items, such as cheese and energy drinks, into his basket before he was approached. He said he has been racking his brains all week to try and understand what the company meant by their response.
The care worker said: “My coat was open and I had a baseball cap on. I wasn’t acting suspicious, it just makes no sense. I’m baffled. If they have seen something in my manner and the way I do my shopping, I was completely oblivious to it.”
Matthew said the incident has had a negative impact on his work and has left him constantly checking to see if anyone is looking at him when he visits other supermarkets.
He added: “It is just wrong. I have been shopping there since that store became Asda. Even when Aldi and Lidl opened I stayed loyal to Asda. The other morning I went to Aldi, I thought I’m done with ASDA now. I have told a number of people and they are just as surprised and stunned. My family aren’t going to shop in ASDA anymore.”
A spokesperson for ASDA said: “Whilst asking a customer to leave is always a last resort, if our colleagues suspect any customers of suspicious shopping behavior then they can ask them to leave the store.” Teesside Live asked the company if they had contacted the police but the store did not comment.
Matthew told Teesside Live: “I’m a full time worker, I have got no reason to steal. I have always paid for my goods. I have tried to get the message across that I’m a genuine person and I have never had problems shopping before.
“That is disgusting, it’s a bad case of mistaken identity. I’m shocked about the whole thing. I’m glad I’m not going in there anymore if they are going to treat people like that.”