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Aldi in Prospect Retail Park Whitstable criticised for treatment of partially sighted gran

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A partially sighted grandmother was left shocked by "discriminatory" treatment after she was refused help at a Whitstable supermarket.

Mildred Warner, 84, was diagnosed with macular degeneration seven years ago.

The condition has since caused her eyesight to diminish, leaving her unable to drive and needing assistance when shopping.

The Aldi store at Prospect Retail Park
The Aldi store at Prospect Retail Park

Mrs Warner, from Whitstable, says she usually has no trouble getting help from supermarket staff.

But a recent trip to Aldi in Prospect Retail Park just off the Thanet Way left her reeling at the way she was treated.

She said: “Since the Aldi store opened, I’ve been lots of times.

“There are only two or three items that I get. I wouldn’t dream of asking a shop assistant to take me all around the store.

"There are probably other things I would buy, but as I can’t see them I only buy things I know.”

But on this occasion, when Mrs Warner approached the till and asked for help, a manager was called.

“It was his attitude,” she said.

“If he’d just said 'I’m very sorry we have no staff available', I wouldn’t have minded.

"But instead he said in short they could not help me, and he didn’t believe I’d had one-to-one assistance at the store before.

“It was as if he thought I was a liar.

"Obviously I prefer going shopping with one of the family, but they're not always available" - Mildred Warner

“Eventually, he agreed to let an assistant show me around but said she’d need to stop if she was called away.

“It made me feel upset. I felt it was very unfair, and so different to all the other shops I go to.

"I've never been refused before - this is the first time.

“Obviously I prefer going shopping with one of the family, but they’re not always available.”

Mrs Warner then called Aldi to complain, but claims they too were "non-apologetic".

Her granddaughter Caroline Ponsonby said: “She did not feel valued as a customer.

"It’s hard enough for disabled people to get out and about, even catching a bus to Aldi is challenging when partially sighted.

"She hopes to highlight how inadequate this particular store’s policy is when catering for disabled clientele."

Aldi has since apologised about the incident, which took place on March 30.

A spokesman said: "We apologise to Mrs Warner as her experience fell short of our usual high standards.

"Our colleagues are available to help any customer that requires support and we have reiterated our policy to the store involved."

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