Customers at a Tesco store in Walsall, England, have expressed their frustration after finding part of the store blocked off by a wall of beer, preventing access to certain sections. This action has led to complaints from shoppers who were concerned about potential restrictions on non-essential items, similar to what was implemented in Wales.
Wales previously implemented restrictions on the purchase of non-essential products in supermarkets to ensure fairness between essential retailers and those that had to close. This decision caused controversy and raised concerns among English shoppers when England entered lockdown, as they feared similar rules.
Differing Rules in England
In England, stores are required to separate non-essential items and prevent customers from accessing these areas. This separation may involve a separate floor or designated sections for non-food items.
Tesco’s decision to block off access to certain sections in the Walsall store drew criticism from customers. They argued that they needed access to items such as children’s clothes and expressed their disappointment on social media.
One customer on Facebook stated, “You should be ashamed of yourselves. This is Walsall too, so for anyone who says ‘oh, it’s only Wales who are doing this,’ you are wrong! We now can’t buy our kids’ clothes, and yes, there’s online, but sometimes urgency requires people to go in-store, and some people have no access to the internet.”
A mother on Twitter voiced her disappointment, mentioning the need for toys and cards for upcoming birthdays: “I’ve got three birthdays this month, one for a child and two adults. I wanted to get a toy and cards today.”
Tesco’s response to the situation was shared on Twitter. A supermarket spokesperson explained that the action was taken in compliance with new government guidance in England, which requires the closure of separate floors selling non-food items. The spokesperson apologized for any inconvenience and assured customers that they were available for further assistance or inquiries.
The controversy highlights the challenges faced by retailers in implementing and communicating Covid-related restrictions while balancing the needs and expectations of their customers.