A DISABLED shopper was forced to sit in her own mess for two hours after she was accidentally locked inside an Aldi car park late at night.
Linda Atkins left the store just before closing time and was horrified to discover the car park had been closed before she had time to leave.
Trapped in her vehicle, the 67-year-old suffered an accident and then had to wait two hours before police instructed the car park operators to open up.
Aldi today apologised to Linda for the blunder outside their store in Rustington, West Sussex, which has been blamed on a new member of staff employed by the car park operator.
Linda Atkins was trapped along with her granddaughter, Rihanna-Elizabeth Brumwell
Linda was accompanied on the June 22 shopping trip by her granddaughter, Rihanna-Elizabeth Brumwell, 30.
The pair got a large shop and left just as staff were closing up at 10pm. Linda’s disability meant getting to the car, packing away the shopping packed away and getting ready to go took until 10.15pm.
It was only then the couple realised they were locked in.
In her complaint to Aldi on the firm’s Facebook page, Rihanna-Elizabeth told how she called the security firm operating the car park.
She said: “I explained the situation we were in and he told me that I couldn’t possibly be locked in because the store was shut and made out I was lying.”
“He was questioning me as to why I was even in the car park, I assured him that I was not joking, it was serious and I wanted to be let out. He laughed and in the background it sounded like he was in the pub.”
After getting no help, the desperate pair eventually dragged the police in to the fiasco. Officers contacted the security firm and got them to unlock the car park, some time around midnight.
The incident took place in this Aldi in Rustington, West Sussex
Rihanna-Elizabeth, from Worthing, West Sussex, added in her Facebook complaint: “Absolutely disgusting treatment.
“I’m very upset that the staff felt this was appropriate treatment of myself and my 67 yr old disabled grandmother and no consideration for the hundreds of pounds just spend on food in their store”.
Speaking today (wed), she said: “It was a nightmare really. My grandmother was also very annoyed. Due to stomach issues, she suffered an accident as no toilets were available, so that was very undignified for her as a proud person to then have to sit in it.”
She added: “Aldi originally only offered a £20 instore voucher for the ‘inconvenience’ but when I told them what a bloody insult that was they raised it to £30.
“Still not enough considering I personally spent over £300 and my grandmother also did shopping. It certainly wasn’t the best first visit to the store.”
The barrier at the Aldi car park had apparently been closed early with a padlock
An Aldi spokesman said: “We were very sorry to hear of Ms Brumwell’s experience and we understand the company that manage this car park is reviewing its processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“The site is a shared retail park and the gates are normally locked at some time between 10-11pm, depending on whether there are still cars in the car park.”
According to an Aldi insider, the security company that manage the car park sent a new guard to the site that evening who failed to complete a full site search. It is also understood that three members of staff at at Aldi staff now have keys to the barrier.