A church-going 83-year-old widow has been banned from her local Tesco store after managers branded her a “bully” claiming she rammed staff with her shopping trolley.
Gran-of-four Christine Crow was frog-marched out of the supermarket by two managers and a security guard in December.
It followed a row over two slices of ham at the deli counter months earlier.
Bosses told Christine – who needs a walking stick – she was no longer welcome at the store claiming she had verbally abused staff and used her trolley “as a weapon”.
The supermarket-giant even claimed one member of staff refused to go onto the shop floor when Christine came in because she was scared of being “bullied” by the pensioner.
Christine was handed a life ban from the branch in Hall Green, one mile away from her home in Moseley, Birmingham.
Yesterday Christine, who lives alone, branded the ban “ridiculous” claiming it was a “trumped up charge.”
She fumed: “It’s a trumped-up charge. Bullying? You must be joking.
“I’m being treated like some kind of thug but I can assure anyone, my days of thuggery are over if they were ever there in the first place. It’s ridiculous.
“I watch Songs of Praise every week for goodness sake, I hardly go around attacking people.
“Admittedly, the trolleys can have a mind of their own. You bump into someone else’s and apologise, but ramming suggests a deliberate act.”
The drama unfolded in August when Christine, who is originally from Yorkshire, complained about slow service at the deli counter.
She added: “I went to the deli counter for two slices of Yorkshire ham which I buy every week for my sandwiches.
“The woman who used to work behind the counter was lovely and used to even get my ham wrapped up even before I came into the shop but she left and a young man had taken over.
“The man went and served a woman at the fish counter straight away, which was very rude.
“When I approached the counter I could see no one was there so I may have said, ‘is there no one serving?’
“I may have been a bit sharp with him then when I asked if anyone was serving but I was never rude.
2I’ve served customers myself. You don’t always like the customer, but you get on with it.
“Over the next few weeks this man continued to be rude to me whenever I went in with my daughter Alison.
“Before Christmas I went in and told Alison to go to the deli counter without me as I didn’t want to see him.
“When I was at the fruit and veg section a man from security walked up to me and said ‘you are banned from this store, leave immediately’.
“Then he reached in and grabbed my sandwiches from my trolley, and marched me to the door.
“By this point Alison had returned and was asking what was going on.
“They stopped us in the door, in front of everyone who was having to walk past us to get in and out and said I had been rude and bullied staff.
“I was shocked, I have never done that, ever.
“Eventually they let us buy some sandwiches and escorted us off the premises.
“As all this was happening I looked round and there was the man from the deli counter, laughing his socks off at me.
“I’ve never been so humiliated, they stood us in the entrance with everyone staring at us.
“People were walking past with eyebrows raised. They thought I was a shop lifter.
“I was absolutely dumbfounded by it all, when I told people later they were horrified by what they heard.”
Christine wrote to the store for an explanation and their manager agreed to meet her and her children “on neutral ground.”
She added: “They told me I had been aggressive and a bully and had rammed staff with my trolley like a weapon.
“They said they had statements from their staff to back up their story.
“When they said I’d been banned for bullying staff, I replied, ‘you must be joking’.
“I have never done such a thing to anyone, I like to think I’m polite to anyone I meet.
“I will never go to the Tesco store again, but I want an apology.”
Christine, whose husband of 50 years Huw died six years ago aged 79, has used the store for 15 years but is now getting her groceries from a nearby Waitrose.
Her daughter Alison Walker, 54, has demanded to see in-store CCTV evidence of the trolley attacks from Tesco but they have so far refused.
She said: “Mum’s born and bred in Yorkshire and they’re renowned for straight-talking, but I have never heard her swear or be rude in my life.”
A worker at the supermarket said: “Mrs Crow is well known to everyone here and has a reputation for being a bit of a troublemaker.
“I’ve never had a problem with her myself but I have heard people say she is handy with a trolley.
“They weigh quite a lot when they’re fully laden and can do a bit of damage to people’s legs.”
Tesco yesterday stood by their ban, saying the decision was “not made lightly.”
A spokesperson said: “The well-being of our colleagues is very important to us and we have spoken to our customer several times to make her aware that we cannot tolerate abusive behaviour.
“Decisions to ban customers from stores are not made lightly and follow a full investigation.
“We are in touch with the customer and her family, and she is, of course, welcome to shop at other Tesco stores in the area.”