Mother and daughter humiliated in cruel Poundworld training prank

Naomi Desmond and her mother were made to let staff ride them like horses and lick their feet

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A Poundworld store encouraged two customers to let staff ride them like horses and lick their feet in a "hoax" training exercise when staff were fooled by an anonymous prank caller.

Naomi Desmond, 24, and her mum Pamela, 55, who has one arm, want to sue over the bizarre incident after being offered just a £200 voucher to spend in store as compensation for their two-and-a-half hour 'humiliation' when they went shopping.

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The pair had gone to Poundworld on May 13 to do some last minute shopping ahead of their holiday.

But Devon Live reports that an unknown man, purporting to be from a charity based in Cork, Ireland, then called the Barnstaple store at about 4.30pm.

He apparently told staff to close the store for a team training exercise that would involve entering two members of the public into a competition.

Credits: Chester Chronicle

Poundworld has apologised - and offered a £200 voucher

The prank caller, who managed to dupe both the staff and Naomi and her mother, then made them carry out a series of "humiliating and embarrassing" tasks around the store.

Staff were told to tie string around the ears of the pair, throw water over them, draw on their faces with pens and make them crawl around the store on their hands.

The mother and daughter were also ridden like horses around the store and told to lick the staff's feet.

Throughout the hoax, Naomi and her mother were referred to by the two female members of staff as "ugly and "beast" and in return had to refer to the manager as "beautiful lady".

Naomi and her mother were the only shoppers in the store and were told they could win £3,000.

They were then taken by the manager into the store room at the back of the shop, where they spoke to the caller.

Naomi said: "He was asking us who we were and where we worked and stuff like that, but I obviously didn't want to disclose where I worked so I just said I worked in a café."

"I started to think this was a scam and my mum then mentioned this to the staff and eventually we left saying if this was a prank we would want compensation.

"The manager asked to take my number and promised to let me know what happened.

Naomi then received a call on her mobile from the prank caller.

"The manager must have been contacted by him again and given him my number," she said.

"He said to go back to the store and when you arrive, you have to knock on the door on your hands and knees.

"You have ten minutes left to win the money."

Naomi and her mother then returned as did as instructed and the ordeal continued for another half an hour.

Eventually the manager of the store called the company's HR and was told to contact the police.

According to her daughter, Pamela who is 55 and has one arm, is horrified by the ordeal. "We are both too scared to go into Poundworld now.

"I had to go in again to get these special straws for the holiday because it was the only place where I could get them, and I had to go in with accompanied with other people because I was scared," Naomi said.

"I sustained injuries, my knees were red raw and I had marks on my wrists, arms and back," she added.

A Poundworld spokesperson said: "We apologise unreservedly to our customer for their experience at our Barnstaple store, which our team also fell victim of.

"The incident has been referred to the police and we are assisting them with their enquiries.

"We have conducted our own investigation and re-issued guidance to our stores around the verification of telephone calls to help ensure something such as this does not happen again in the future."

Poundworld has apologised to the family and offered them a £200 Poundworld voucher.

"That was it. It's ridiculous," said Naomi.

"We want to sue but we can't because the police don't know who it is," she said.


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