Coronavirus in Charlton: Sainsbury’s ‘listening to feedback’ after older shoppers’ hour failed to take place

Sainsbury’s promised an hour exclusively for older shoppers – but it did not happen at its Charlton Riverside store

Sainsbury’s says it is “listening to feedback after its Charlton Riverside branch did not reserve its first hour of opening for older shoppers to help them stock up during the Covid-19 pandemic, as promised by the supermarket giant’s chief executive.

In a statement to the media yesterday, Mike Coupe said “we will set aside the first hour in every supermarket this Thursday, 19th March, for elderly and vulnerable customers”.

However, one Charlton Champion reader, Joy Brown, told this website that the store’s manager simply let all customers in when the doors opened at 7am.

“He refused to allow even a ten minute window and said everyone must take their chance before disappearing into his hidey-hole. You can imagine what happened when everyone was let in at the same time and the disadvantaged were jostled and shoved by the younger customers,” she said.

Brown’s experience was backed up by social media users. “Queues are longer than the aisles, elderly forced to wait alongside the rest of the general public,” wrote Joey Brown.

Sandra Smith wrote: “Unless 60 percent of them had had a recent face-lift, you did not deliver your promise. My 90 year mum went for three items, toilet paper, Oats and Kitchen roll. Got none!”

Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook said he had also heard about issues at the Sainsbury’s store and that he was concerned that the government was complacent about the pandemic’s outbreak on food supplies. “From the large number of reports I’m receiving, many local supermarkets are either not taking action to limit overbuying or are struggling to enforce such a policy and more worryingly are failing to ensure older people have dedicated shopping hours to secure essential supplies,” he said.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told The Charlton Champion: “A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said, “We asked our customers to respect our decision to dedicate an hour in our supermarkets this morning to serving the elderly and vulnerable and work with us as we try our best to help those that need it the most. We’re listening to feedback from our customers and colleagues and understand some stores faced challenges supporting the hour.”

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