helva2260 (helva2260) wrote in bad_service,

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Disabled woman collapses at supermarket

I found this news item when I was browsing through the latest news at the ME Association today:

From "The Herts Advertiser", 17 December 2010 (Story by Caroline Thain).

A DISABLED shopper collapsed and was taken to hospital by ambulance after claiming four separate staff at a St Albans supermarket ignored her repeated desperate pleas for help.

Rosemary Cross, 67 ... suffers from long-term conditions ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), diabetes, and a strain of leukaemia. She is a loyal Morrisons customer and considers her weekly trips there a “treat”, because she is virtually housebound.

The grandmother and mother-of-three had thought she had recovered from a recent viral infection, when she was suddenly taken unwell around 4pm last Tuesday, December 7 at the [St Albans] store.

... She said: “I couldn’t believe it. I was feeling really unwell in the queue. I was propping myself up against the counter when there was a delay with the customer in front.

“The man on the till had to call for a supervisor to deal with a special offer. I told him I was feeling really ill and asked if he could help me get somewhere safe. He just told me that the supervisor would be here soon and carried on laughing and joking with the customer in front.

“I then saw a staff member I recognised at the computer section, so I staggered over to her, explaining how bad I felt, assuming she would be more understanding, but she replied that she could not leave her till.

“I didn’t want to just abandon my trolley and leave because there were essential items like bread and milk that we needed and I thought, I am going to be unwell for some time so I had better purchase them.”

Rosemary then decided she would try to get help at the pharmacy but she thought she was going to pass out on the way there and stopped at another till where, she said, she was told to go to customer services.

She went on: “I knew I wouldn’t make it that far. The feeling of utter panic and helplessness – that no-one gives a damn and nobody is going to help me – made me feel 10 times worse.

“Even if each member of staff was too busy, they could have called someone to sit me down for a few minutes. I am sure if someone had just helped me get through a checkout and get to a chair, I would not have collapsed or needed to go to hospital.”

After collapsing on the floor Rosemary awoke to find a customer begging staff for help and they then rang 999.

Before she left in the ambulance, she arranged for her car keys to be held at the pharmacy department until family could get there to pick them up. But when daughter-in-law ... arrived to collect them, she was told by pharmacy staff that they knew nothing of the keys. But fortunately a colleague overheard and handed them over.

... Rosemary is now recovering at home and her husband has sent a letter of complaint to head office and to the St Albans store manager.

A Morrisons spokesman said: “Once we had been made aware of Mrs Cross’s condition, an ambulance was called immediately and several trained members of staff, including a nurse, were on hand to make her as comfortable as possible.”

TL;DR - Disabled woman feels like she's going to collapse while standing in a supermarket queue and asks the till worker if he can help her to somewhere safe to sit. He tells her to wait for the supervisor he's already called for a non-medical, non-emergency matter and goes back to ignoring her. Disabled woman tries asking three more staff members to help, each of whom cannot leave their positions but don't think to call a more mobile member of staff for help.

She (somewhat predictably) does collapse, and emergency services are called to get her to hospital.

Supermarket spokesman subsequently pats himself and everyone else on the back and claims that as soon as they were aware of her medical condition they did everything possible to help!
Tags: *grocer, it's only bad service if you die
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