Woman with disabled daughter left ‘totally humiliated’ at Hailsham supermarket

A woman who went to an Hailsham supermarket with her disabled daughter says they were left ‘embarrassed’ by how they were treated by staff.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 12:30 pm

Beverley Ferrell went to the Waitrose branch in Hailsham on March 31 with her 18-year-old disabled daughter Jessica, who wears a sunflower lanyard to show her disability.

Beverley said there was a bottle of Baileys in her shopping and staff refused to serve her because Jessica was with her and didn’t have any ID.

She said, “I tried to explain to them that I can’t leave her but they said it’s policy.

Beverley and her daughter SUS-210704-095502001

“My daughter left there crying as she thought she had done wrong as the supervisor asked her for ID.

“I think Waitrose needs to answer a few questions. I feel we have been discriminated against today.

“Both myself and my daughter were totally humiliated by the staff in Hailsham Waitrose and it really shouldn’t be allowed to happen to another disabled person.

“It’s a very silly rule one of which makes you feel they are questioning the integrity of parenting. And as a parent of a child with special needs she goes everywhere with me.”

Waitrose in Hailsham (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-171008-104224008

Beverley said she saw a similar situation with a 76-year-old grandmother in a Waitrose store in Henley.

Leda Patten had alcohol removed from her shopping at the checkout when her 22-year-old grandaughter was unable to show proof of age.

Beverley said, “It is not against the law to sell alcohol to anyone with a minor as long as the person buying can prove their age so I feel this is something that needs looking into.

The fact of the matter is I am a mum shopping with my autistic daughter who was wearing her lanyard and I feel that I and her have been discriminated against.

“Jessica has not left the house since that day, her anxiety is so bad that she has started pulling her hair out.

“I understand the challenge 25 rule and I as the purchasing adult have ID but I do think they need to use common sense.”

In response to this incident, a spokesperson from Waitrose said, “We’re very sorry to have caused any distress– this is the last thing we would have wanted to do.

“However we have a legal responsibility when selling alcohol to prevent it being purchased by anyone underage and, in line with many other retailers, our cashiers will ask for ID from anyone buying alcohol who they believe to be under 25.

“If one of our cashiers believes alcohol could potentially be purchased on behalf of an underage person, they are always encouraged to take a precautionary approach and check the ID of both customers.”