How I was publicly humiliated at Tesco superstore

RECEIPTS at Hucknall's Tesco superstore ask: "How did we do?". How did Tesco do? Well, at approximately 10.20 on the morning of Thursday June 24, Tesco publicly humiliated, embarrassed and frightened me at its store off Station Road.

This is my experience of how Tesco did on my shopping trip.

Initially, I went upstairs because I was thinking of buying an electrical product. I found a suitable item priced at 64.97 and placed it in the trolley.

The item was very plainly alarmed because it had a black circular alarm with a blinking red light on it. Wires going around the box held this alarm in place. The box was sealed in clear plastic.

I then went to the ground floor to find a few grocery items that I wished to purchase. I placed these items in the trolley with the electrical product.

At the checkout I placed the groceries on the conveyor first, placing a bar between them and the electrical product. I paid for the groceries in cash.

The sales assistant rang for a young man to come and remove the alarm from the box containing the electrical product. The man went off with the box and while he was gone, I paid for this product with my debit card.

The young man eventually returned, having removed the alarm from the box, and handed the box to the sales assistant. The sales assistant then gave me the box, which I put into my bag with my personal items. The groceries were in a separate bag.

As I left the store, there was a man on my left-hand side also exiting the doors. The alarms at the doorway began to bleep. As I had paid for my goods and the alarm had been removed, I was certain that the bleeping was nothing to do with me, and I concluded that the man exiting at the same time must have set it off.

However a Tesco security guard asked me to return into the shop. I went with this person and, as I went through the doors, the alarm began bleeping. I could not understand why this was happening because the alarm had been removed from the electrical product and I had paid for everything that I had packed into my bags.

I found myself standing just inside the doorway of the store with the Tesco security guard asking me to open my bags. I was devastated to find myself in this position, and horrified that this was happening in a very public place.

I was very conscious of many people leaving and entering the shop in very close proximity to where the Tesco security guard had placed me.

It was excruciatingly shameful. I was also aware that the public were looking at me and the security guard.

I have lived in Hucknall all my life and I was worried that a neighbour or acquaintance might see what was happening to me, might draw the wrong conclusion and, consequently, put false rumours of my criminality around the town.

I opened my bags for the guard and, upon examining the contents, the guard said that the electrical product had set off the alarm. At this point, I was very alarmed and starting to feel distressed. I clearly told the guard that I had paid for everything in my bags.

The Tesco security guard then told me that this happens to hundreds of people. I could not be sure whether he meant that the hundreds of people are thieves or that the hundreds of people are innocent of theft from Tesco stores.

I again told the guard that I had paid for everything. By this time, I expected that the security guard would ask for the receipts. I had decided that when he did this, I would use my mobile phone to ring for the police, so that I would have an independent witness as to any false accusations of theft from this Tesco store.

However I was then informed by the security guard that he had no doubt that I had paid for everything, and that he thought that I "had better go home". I received no explanation or apology for this belittling treatment or for the distressing situation I had been placed in by Tesco security staff.

I have never stolen and I am mortified that Tesco staff made it appear to the public as if I was guilty of theft from their store in Hucknall.

Having been thoroughly humiliated by Tesco staff and made to look like a criminal in a very public place, I wrote to the Tesco head office requesting an explanation, an apology and recompense.

On Wednesday July 7, I received an apology from Tesco. Apparently, the electrical product had several security tags that were not removed. I was surprised by this because the box was sealed in plastic and I found no tag in the box.

I have written to Tesco and have told them that if, as the security guard stated, "this happens hundreds of times a week", then it would behove Tesco to make radical improvements to the security system.

Tesco claims that security staff are trained to be discreet, polite and helpful when dealing with incidents. I have informed Tesco that there is nothing discreet in the main entrance/exit to a supermarket.

Tesco says there is little that can be said or done to alleviate the upset caused. A Tesco moneycard for 25 was enclosed with the letter in the hope that my faith in the company would be restored.

Before this deplorable incident, I had been a regular and frequent customer at the Hucknall Tesco superstore. However, since this experience, I have found that I cannot bear to set foot in the place. I have had to spend the derisory 25 in the small Tesco store on Annesley Road in Hucknall, otherwise I would have had to ask someone to shop for me at the supermarket.



(Name and address supplied).