A pensioner has slammed Waitrose as ‘ageist’ after she was stopped from buying alcohol because her 22-year-old daughter had no ID.
Leda Patten, 76, a retired business woman, claimed a member of staff refused her lager and confiscated the item at checkout.
Leda said it was “prejudice” for them to takeaway the booze, explaining how her 20-year-old grandson had later purchased drinks at a nearby Sainsbury’s without any issue.
She said: “It has left a very bad taste in my mouth. If I were a sensitive soul, I would say it was ageism and sexism.
“I doubt it would have happened if it was my husband or my son-in-law.
“Ageism is definitely a factor and I can tell you that it is just as uncomfortable as any other kind of prejudice.”
Leda, who lives in Henley, Oxfordshire, went shopping at her local store with granddaughter Rose, 22, and grandson Tom, 20.
She placed a four-pack of Staropramen, a Czech lager, in her trolley to enjoy with her family later on. However, the item was confiscated at checkout.
She argued with staff but was told it was company policy not to sell alcohol to shoppers who are accompanied by people underage or cannot prove they are not.
Leda said she will now consider shopping elsewhere in the future.
She added: “We arrived at the check-out with a trolley full of various items.
“As my grandson stood packing my bags, the man at the till removed the beers from the belt and demanded to see his identity, which was promptly produced, although I found this extraordinary in itself because this was my shopping being paid for by me and I said so.
“Not satisfactory, according to the man on the till who then demanded the identity of my granddaughter who did not have it with her because she was just along for the ride and is not under-age, which I explained.
“The beers were then firmly removed and put on one side and I was told that I could not buy them.
“I reiterated that as a 76-year-old I am perfectly entitled to buy alcohol whoever I may be shopping with and this was my shopping being paid for by me.
“Apparently, retailers’ rules seem to require that when adults are shopping with teenagers or young adults who may appear to be under-age, proof of identity is required from everyone.
“I asked for clarification on this and another member of staff who looked young enough to be challenged himself came to the till and said he was sorry but he could not overrule his colleague.”
She added: “I stood my ground and said I would now pay for the beer, only to be told that was impossible, the implication being that I might be aiding and abetting under-age drinking.
“Stomping off to the enquiry desk as only an enraged grandmother can, I asked to see a manager and waited around until an obviously young female member of staff wearing a customer service badge appeared to reiterate that this was company policy.
“My grandson then bought the beers from Sainsbury’s for me but the whole experience left me with a very sour taste and desire to shop somewhere else.
“I asked my husband what he would have done and his response was that he would have left the shopping on the conveyor belt and walked out because of the direct insult to his own integrity and right to buy what he chooses.”
A Waitrose spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry Ms Patten was unhappy with the experience she received and we’re investigating what happened.
“As a responsible retailer, we have a legal responsibility when selling alcohol to prevent it being purchased by anyone under age.
“In line with many other retailers, our cashiers will ask for proof of identity 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 under age person, they are always encouraged to take a precautionary approach and check the identity of both customers.”