Mistaken identity in toilet paper spat

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 08:09 15/08/2012

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A Christchurch grandmother says she was forced to leave a supermarket after staff mistakenly thought she was taking advantage of a one-off special on toilet paper and had been in the shop three times on the same day.

Guijie Liu, 72, originally from China, went to the Riccarton Pak'n Save after hearing from a friend that toilet paper was on special that day, with a limit of two packs a customer.

Liu said that when she was scanning her purchases at the self-checkout counter, a staff member snatched the toilet paper away.

"At first I thought maybe there was something wrong with the toilet paper and that they were going to bring me another two packs, but then I realised something was wrong," she said.

"Everyone was staring at me. I didn't know what was going on."

She was directed to the customer service desk. Liu could not speak much English, so she found a Chinese boy to help her translate. Liu said an employee said: "She's been here three times; she can't come and shop here any more."

Liu told the female employee it was the first time she had been in the supermarket that day and she had been mistaken for someone else.

"The woman was extremely fierce and rude and she insisted I had been there three times," Liu said. "My other two friends had finished paying so I waved them over to have them vouch for me."

She said staff refused to review security footage when asked. A staff member threatened to call police if she did not leave and then pushed her away.

"They can't just accuse me like that without evidence," Liu said.

She later went back to the store to complain and said she was offered two packets of toilet paper for free.

Foodstuffs group communications manager Antoinette Shallue said it was a one-off incident and the staff member and the store manager were happy to apologise to Liu and give her the toilet paper she wanted.

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