A SINGLE mum has accused Iceland of “discrimination” after she was refused entry into a store because she was with her 7-year-old child.
Cheryl Brooks from Luton, Bedfordshire, filmed the unpleasant exchange with staff at her local store who bluntly told her “no kids, no families”.
The 28-year-old had tried to enter the store with her young daughter Lucy on Tuesday [21 Apr], but was left humiliated and told she should have “left her [Lucy] at home”.
In the clip, Cheryl can first be heard speaking to the store’s security guard.
Repeating the manager’s instructions, he says: “No kids, no two people coming in the store, no family, any families have to be one person.”
To which Cheryl replies: “Yeah I understand that if there’s a whole family but I’m a single mother with a child.”
The manager then comes over and repeats the same sentiments, saying: “I’m not telling you to leave your kids outside, just make her sit down here.”
An incredulous Cheryl replies: “No, I’m not leaving her to sit there. She’s got enough anxiety as it is with the whole situation.”
Cheryl tries to explain she has been shopping at Iceland with Lucy for weeks.
She says: “Your security guard tells me I should have left her at home on her own?”
The manager goes on to explain that other parents have apparently been leaving their children at the front of the store while they shop.
However, Cheryl refutes this, saying: “A 7-year-old can’t stay on her own, social services would tell me off for that.”
The back and forth continues, with the manager refusing to change his stance.
A distraught Cheryl took to social media to share her experience.
She posted the video with the caption: “I’m not one to usually record stuff like this, but I could not believe it today! I went to do my weekly shop with my 7 year daughter in Iceland Park Street Luton.
“I was stopped at the entrance by the security guard and told my child would have to sit on a chair at the front of the store or wait outside. I, like any parent would, refused this.
“The security guard continued to tell me I should have left her at home. At this point I’m fuming.
“Angry is an understatement! I will never shop at Iceland again.”
Her post sparked outrage among social media users.
Paul Sturdy wrote: “I’m lost for words, unreal.”
Fiona Harkin added: “That’s terrible, boycott Iceland, how do they expect you to get food for yourself and child as a single mum?”
And Kayleigh Rouse said: “That’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Speaking today, Cheryl said: “I was rather upset and embarrassed, because there were so many people queuing outside watching me.
“I thought he was joking at first, I was so shocked and angry.
“I suffer from anxiety as it is and I am on medication for it, I got very upset with the whole situation.
“I managed to get my shopping done in Tesco and Farmfoods in the end.”
Iceland has since said they are sorry for the incident.
An Iceland spokesman said: “As Ms Brooks correctly states in the video, it is definitely not our company policy to exclude children from our stores where single parents have no alternative but to bring young children with them.
” Like other food retailers, we are encouraging customers to send only one adult from each family to do their shopping, in order to aid compliance with the Government’s social distancing guidelines; but this is not a rigid rule and we expect its application to be tempered with compassion and common sense.
“We apologise to Cheryl Brooks and have spoken to the store manager to clarify our policy for the future.”