Morrisons apologises for treatment of poppy seller

Brings him in from the cold

Updated: 
two remembrance poppies against ...

Morrisons has apologised after an 89-year-old veteran was forced to sell poppies outside in the cold, but says it was all a misunderstanding.

Customer Veronica Roache was horrified to find the man collecting outside the supermarket's Taunton store. "Every year the poppies are sold just inside the door. This morning, an 89-year-old was selling them outside in the cold," she wrote on Facebook.

When she asked why, she says, the seller said he'd been told to by the manager.

But, she says, when she confronted a manager, she was told that the store had a promotion on and informed, "we're trying to run a business". She pushed further, she says, pointing out that the vendor was freezing, but was told: "Well, he'll have to wear a warmer coat tomorrow."

Her post received more than a thousand supportive comments.

Morrisons has apologised profusely, but says that the situation arose through a misunderstanding. Originally, it says the Royal British Legion has asked to collect outside.

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"However at lunchtime their volunteer changed to an 89 year old gentleman. This changes everything," it says. "We can confirm that our manager did not know this and therefore his comment re 'wrap up warm' is then exceptionally inappropriate and he is very saddened by this."

The company says it will be making a donation to the Royal British Legion - and giving a "special gift" to both the poppy seller and Ms Roache. It has also cleared various promotional items from the foyer to make room for the sellers from now on.

And the Royal British Legion has declared itself happy.

"On the first day of collecting for the Poppy Appeal 2014 Legion collectors were offered positions both inside and outside the Morrison's in Taunton and chose the outside position as there was a higher footfall," it says.

"We are grateful to Morrison's, as we are to all commercial outlets who permit Poppy Appeal collections on their sites throughout the UK and in doing so strengthen our fundraising efforts so the Legion can continue to offer vital support and care for the Armed Forces community."

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