Pensioner, 81, banned from Asda for ‘verbal abuse’ after complaining customers weren’t in masks

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
Birmingham, England - March 14, 2011: Asda sign on storefront. Asda is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, toys and general merchandise. Asda became a subsidiary of the American retail giant Wal-Mart, the world\'s largest retailer in 1999.
Asda says William Alcock was banned because he was “verbally abusive”. (Getty)

An 81-year-old man has been banned from Asda for “using foul abuse” after complaining some customers were not wearing masks.

Pensioner William Alcock says he first alerted security when he saw seven people without face coverings at the store in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, four weeks ago.

He returned to the Scotia Road branch a week later and saw five more people contravening rules again by not wearing facemasks in the store, StokeOnTrentLive reported.

People entering shops have to wear a face-covering unless they’re medically exempt or under 11.

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A shopper wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushes a trolley past empty fruit and vegetable troughs inside an ASDA supermarket in Walthamstow in north east London on December 22, 2020. - The British government said Tuesday it was considering tests for truckers as part of talks with French authorities to allow the resumption of freight traffic suspended due to a new strain of coronavirus. Britain was plunged into fresh crisis last week with the emergence of a fresh strain of the virus, which is believed to be up to 70 percent more transmissible than other forms. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Shoppers are required to wear masks in supermarkets. (Getty)

Mr Alcock said: “When leaving the store I approached the security man and said I am rather disturbed about it.

“He said ‘we can’t do anything about it, we are not allowed to stop them.’

“The following visit there were four or five people without face coverings so I again made the approach to the same security bloke and he said ‘you can’t tell us what to do, you’re barred’.”

Asda said he was banned because he was “verbally abusive” but he denies this and claimed he was just “assertive”.

He said he and his wife Maureen, 82, have now been forced to use a Tesco instead.

Alcock, who rang head office after he was banned, added: "I put my hands up to being assertive, I said they weren’t doing their jobs and they were not protecting customers and they said that was abuse.

"I didn’t swear, use bad language or threaten anyone. All I said - in an assertive voice - was that they are not protecting customers.”

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An Asda spokesperson said: “We have security colleagues and Covid safety marshals at the front of our stores to remind customers of the need to wear a face-covering and to provide masks free of charge to anyone who doesn’t have their own.

“We are grateful for the extraordinary efforts of our colleagues throughout the pandemic and we ask that all customers treat them with respect and comply with the law by wearing face coverings when visiting our stores unless they are medically exempt.

“Whilst we appreciate Mr. Alcocks’ concerns, we do not tolerate verbal abuse towards our colleagues and although banning a customer is always a last resort we feel that it is necessary in this instance.’’

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