Sainsbury's refuse to sell alcohol to terminally ill woman

Supermarket refuses to serve alcohol to woman with oxygen tube

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Credits: Universal Images Group Editorial

Universal Images Group Editorial

A terminally ill woman was left in tears after supermarket staff refused to sell her alcohol - because of her oxygen tube.

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Isabel Gomes, 54, went into a Sainsbury's Local near her home to buy brandy for pate she was making.

But she was told she could not buy the alcohol because the female cashier 'didn't know if she could drink' due to her illness.

Isabel, who suffers from pulmonary fibrosis, left the store on Portobello Road, West London in floods of tears on Tuesday, and says no staff apologised to her.

She said: "I went in and asked for a small bottle of brandy , and explained to the cashier that I was buying it to make pate and asked if cognac and brandy were the same.

"But the cashier looked at me and said 'you have a thing up your nose', and that she couldn't serve me because of it.

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"I tried to explain that it was a cannula for oxygen, but said she didn't know if I could drink because of my health.

"I thought she was joking, I asked if she was a doctor - how would she know if I wasn't well enough?

"That's not her job to tell me what's good for my health, it was so surreal.

"She called the manager and they were talking between themselves really loudly in front of me, it was humiliating.

"The manager told her to sell it to me but they didn't apologise, no one did, and I just left the store in tears - no one asked if I was okay.

"I went back later and called the lady aside, and tried to explain what she'd done, but she didn't listen - she didn't care.

"That was the worst thing, she couldn't even make the minimal effort to understand my side of things."

Isabel said she shops regularly at the store near her home, and that staff there know her, although it is the first time she has bought alcohol there.

She is on the list for a lung transplant but because of her height, the procedure is more complicated, and she has had a cannula for five years.

She complained to Sainsbury's head office about the incident and was offered £10 compensation, but said 'it's not about the money'.

Credits: SWNS

SWNS

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Isabel added: "I couldn't believe how they'd made me feel, and that I was in the wrong.

"My health is good at the moment, but if it was a few months ago when I was depressed, I don't know how I would have coped, I would have been devastated.

"I complained to Sainsbury's and they apologised and offered me £10, but it's not about that, I didn't complain for money - it's more than that.

"I told them that wasn't the point and that they need to train their staff better.

"The woman in the shop didn't understand what she'd done and how she'd made me feel, and she was in her 40s so she should have known better.

"She didn't understand how humiliated she had made me feel, but I don't want her to pity me, I just want people to see me as a person.

"If I didn't have a cannula, she would have sold it to me without a problem, and it was horrible, she made me feel so small and I have enough issues without that.

"Nothing like this has happened before, I was so surprised, I've had the tube for five years and this was the first time."

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said: "We have spoken to Ms Gomes and offered our sincerest apologises for this genuine misunderstanding."

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