Told to leave Aldi if I want
This report is 100% honest, and is quite probably caught on more than one CCTV camera. I’m naming Aldi and if they want to sue for defamation, bring it on! Their lawyers are advised in advance to read up on the law of defamation and that I have my lawyers ready for them.
I was shopping in a certain branch of Aldi in my home town 13:35 to 14:06. 2021-03-14 (Sunday). The manager of the shop said to me “If you don’t like shopping here you can go elsewhere!! You don’t manage this shop!“, in a hostile tone. Oh dear – I must have looked so demented and lacking capacity, that I needed to be told. All this, because I dispassionately told the manager and a shop floor worker to wear their masks above their noses. Complaint lodged at Aldi central office at 14:07 (a call lasting 18 minutes, including time to for them to answer the phone). I gave my full contact details – and said if I don’t hear about the outcome of my complaint, I’m going National on this. They’ll have a surprise if they think I’m bluffing. I expect to be on National news in a couple weeks. Stay tuned.
I was walking in an isle and saw a shop worker kneeling and packing shelves. His mask was below his nose. I didn’t stop. In passing I dispassionately said, “Could you wear your mask properly please; above your nose.” and I moved on. Seconds later the male worker approached me at speed on his feet. I didn’t have a tape recorder on, but the words that followed were very close to the following:
Aldi Worker – AW1: I don’t need to be told to wear how to wear my mask. It just slipped down.
CW: I was not impolite to you. I just gave you a reminder in passing. That was all.
AW1: I don’t need to be told we manage ourselves.
CW: That’s okay. I’m not interested in that.
AW1: You’re not?!
CW: Yes. I’m not. It’s a public health matter. You know you need to wear your mask properly at all times. I only gave you a passing reminder.
AW1: Well I don’t need to be told
CW: Your mask is coming down below your nose right now. Could you please pull it up.
AW1: You don’t need to tell me.
CW: Well, I do. I don’t like your attitude. Who is your manager?
Out pops an Aldi manager (AM) who was probably hearing some of this, as he was a few feet behind AW1.
Aldi Manager – AM: I am the manager. You don’t need to be telling him how to wear his mask.
CW: Your mask is below your nose right now. I’m telling you to wear your mask properly. [The manager has his mask below his nose. Yes – you got that right.]
AM: I manage myself and this shop. You don’t manage the shop. (He does not pull his mask back up over his nose – as if to say ‘I’m the boss here; you don’t tell me what to do‘. Both are now oblivious to the fact that they are acting illegally. Instead the focus is on me. I’ve done nothing wrong. )
At this point AW1 is cutting in with more of the same, so I can’t recall exactly what he was saying. Basically both of them are defending each other. I was attacking nobody. I was not shouting. I was not hostile.
CW: It doesn’t matter. I’m telling you and your worker right now that you need to wear you masks properly. It is a public health issue. (By now both of them have their masks below their noses).
AM: If you don’t like shopping here you can go elsewhere! You don’t manage this shop.
CW: Who is your manager?
AM: I’m the manager.
CW: Who is your manager?
AM: I’m the manager.
CW: Both of you have an attitude problem – that’s the end of it. (And I drift down the isle with both of them mumbling something now inaudible).
For the avoidance of arbitrary inference and doubt, I said nor did anything that was hostile or aggressive to anyone. There is no law prohibiting one person from reminding another to wear their mask properly in the pandemic period, when the social distancing rules apply. I did not cause an affray or any disturbance of the peace, just in case the two workers decide to cook up a story.
Conclusion but not the end
Those who don’t know me would think that was the end of that. Those who know me will expect what happened next.
I called Aldi central customer services at 14:07 and lodge a complaint over the phone. I gave all of the above details, and expressed my total bewilderment. I said that am a citizen of this country and have never had anything like this in 30 years. I gave my full name, address, telephone number and status. I told the female person taking the complaint that I need to hear the outcome of my complaint. She goes, “They don’t usually contact customers about that.” I said, “Well, you put in in this complaint that I need to hear the outcome.” I said that the situation must have been caught on CCTV.
I ensured she had my details recorded accurately. She repeated something about she’s not sure they would respond. I said that if they don’t I am going to the Chief Exec and then Nationally. I’m asking you to put that in my complaint. She said she did. I said “In any event this call is being recorded by Aldi.” In closing, I thanked her for her taking the details so kindly.
Well, we could end up debating what is customer service. In the situation, I was confronted by their workers for my apparent misconduct, in dispassionately reminding them of a matter that is of public health and legal importance. I think part of customer services would be to deal with difficult or misbehaving customers on the shop floor. But I wasn’t doing any of that, yet I was accosted and basically told ‘You don’t manage the shop. You don’t tell us what to do. Go elsewhere if you wish‘. So – I was being put in my place for pointing out what was prima facie illegal behaviour (in the UK) among essential workers. Both continued to breach the law.
I fully expect both workers at Aldi to lie, to cover their own arses. This what happened in 2002, when I accused a worker at another large supermarket chain, of racist conduct. Fortunately, two weeks after the worker cooked up the story and denied what she did (lying effectively) – another worker came forward and supported me. The business paid £500 in an out of court settlement. So – if or when Aldi get back to me giving the two workers version and saying ‘nothing to answer for’, I know where I’m going next. The Chief Exec will naturally side with his/her complaints investigators, who will be stuck with a coherent story from the two and I wouldn’t be surprised if CCTV fails to provide the evidence. Hence, I’m am fully prepared to name Aldi and go National. The issue will be for the public, “Why is a key worker taking this up?” Oh yes – I expect a section of the public to belch that “He’s arrogant and self-important. Who does he think he is?!” etc.
The end (update 15th May 2021)
So – what happened next. About 3 weeks after the incident, I got a call from Aldi. A woman went through the details. Although in the original complaint I identified and located the Aldi so that a 4-year old could find it, the woman wasn’t sure. I had to go on Google maps while she’s on the phone, and ‘walk’ her through each intersecting street. I even had so say, “There is no other Aldi within a 3 mile radius of those streets.” She goes off and returns on the phone about a week later. She confirmed that she has found the Aldi and has passed the matter to the store manager. Like huh! I’m thinking (not saying), ‘she’s passing this issue to the manager who is probably the plonker!‘ So I said, “You’re passing a complaint which involves a manager to a manger?” She stutters a bit, realising how stupid that is. She says there are three managers. Wow – the sands are very complicated at Aldi. I said, “Let’s hope that you’ve not passed it to the one who is object of the complaint – and then the CCTV mysteriously disappears.“. About a week later, I got another call from the same woman. She reports that they’ve found and looked at the CCTV so they can identify the workers. The outcome was that “someone would speak to the workers involved, but what action they may take is an internal matter.”
Note that I’ve not had a determination of my complaint. What is determination? It’s this simple: your complaint has been upheld or your complaint has not been upheld. The latter is a feature of Big Corrupt British Business. Loads of organisations do this.
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