Woman avoided Lidl for ‘weeks’ after ‘being told off in store for Facebook post’

A woman didn't go into her local Lidl store for "many weeks" out of fear after claiming a staff member told her off privately in a "backroom".

Ana Palmer took to Facebook in December 2020 to claim how she was shocked at having her bags searched at the supermarket in Devon in the run-up to Christmas.

She wrote at the time: "My shopping bags were searched in Lidl this evening. I have never in my whole life ever stolen anything!

"I had a wonderful mum that had taught me a really nice thing in life which was, 'If you can't afford it, save for it but if you really want it there and then, ask for it but never ever help yourself to someone else's things'.

"I didn't feel insulted by the fact that our bags were searched but just a little bit uncomfortable.

"The sales adviser told me that she had to do that because they've 'had a lot of mystery shoppers coming in recently'".

Romanian-born Ana posted her feelings about the incident on social media and despite not intending to target the Lidl worker who searched her bags, she says she was subsequently taken into a "backroom" by a staff member at the store and told not to complain about the shop's workers on social media.

Ana recorded the conversation, which was published in full on PlymouthLive. It began with the employee reminding Ana of Lidl's customer service phone number before saying she "chose to use social media to complain about an individual".

In January 2021, she claimed: "I panicked, I don't know why. I felt like I had to follow him, but later on, I regretted it. I know I could've said 'no I'm doing my shopping thank you very much'."

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The mum-of-one added that after the exchange she "felt absolutely dreadful".

"I drove home I was shaking, I spoke to my daughter [about it]," she added.

Despite saying she received an apology from Lidl via email, she claims she felt "fearful" following the incident and avoided the store for "many weeks".

She told the Daily Star: "He made me think I had to follow him in the little enclosed hallway between the shop floor and the store office. There was nobody else present but just me and him.

"Anything could have happened and I believe that he should have asked my permission before asking me to follow him and should have had a colleague with him present while talking to me to act as a witness and as reassurance for me as a customer.

"My experience was awful. Only I know how I felt and I know I was scared and shaking."

A spokesperson for Lidl said in January 2021: "We were very sorry to hear of this incident and would like to sincerely apologise for any distress caused.

"We can confirm that this is currently being investigated by our regional management team and that our customer services team are in direct communication with the customer, who will inform them of the outcome."

The Daily Star has contacted Lidl regarding the update.

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