Woman 'in tears' after supermarket stops her buying sanitary item

Brianne Tolj
·3-min read

A supermarket has been forced to apologise to a woman who was told she could not purchase sanitary pads under coronavirus restrictions.

Katie took to Twitter on Monday (local time) after she arrived at her local Tesco store in Wales to discover the pads aisle blocked off amid the country’s ‘firebreak’ lockdown.

The lockdown prevents shoppers from buying anything but necessary items so they do not linger in stores, the Welsh government has said.

“Can you explain why I was told today that I can’t buy PERIOD PADS as I’m sure they are essential to women?! But I can buy alcohol, it doesn’t make sense,” she later tweeted.

Pictured is the Tesco's stores sanitary aisle with caution signs and a gate blocking it off. Source: Twitter/@nicholasmith6
Katie said she arrived at her local Tesco store to discover the sanitary aisle had been blocked off. Source: Twitter/@nicholasmith6

A Tesco employee responded to her post within a couple of hours, saying they had “been told by the Welsh Government not to sell these items for the duration of the firebreak lockdown”.

The supermarket chain has since said the online response was made in error and sanitary items were available at all of their stores.

“Sanitary products are essential items and are available to customers in all of our stores in Wales. Due to a break-in, this area was closed temporarily in one store for a police investigation, but is now open again,” the spokesperson said, according to Metro.co.uk.

“The reply to this customer, which implied these products were non-essential, was sent by mistake and we’re very sorry for any confusion caused.”

The Welsh government responded to the mum and daughter’s comments online, deeming women’s sanitary products as essential.

Shelves of  books covered in plastic sheeting in a Tesco store in Penarth, Wales. Source: Getty
The firebreak lockdown in Wales prevents shoppers from buying anything but necessary items so they do not linger in stores. Source: Getty

“This is wrong,” a spokesperson tweeted.

“Supermarkets can still sell items that can be sold in pharmacies.

“Only selling essential items during firebreak is to discourage spending more time than necessary in shops. It should not stop you accessing items that you need,” they said.

Katie’s mum Nichola-Louise, who was with her at the time, said the incident had left her “raging and in tears”, and posted images of the gates and caution signs hindering access to the area.

“How the hell is beer essential and period products are non essential,” Nichola-Louise tweeted.

Her post has since gained more than 8,000 likes and hundreds of comments.

Numerous people sided with the pair, with one person calling it “the most ridiculous thing” they’d ever seen.

Others said it was obviously an error and that Katie should have moved the barrier and grabbed what she needed anyway.

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