Retail Clerk Waits to Wait on Phone-Using Customer

In an event that has spurred a worldwide debate on manners, a checkout clerk at a London store refused service to a shopper who was talking on her cellular phone until she hung up.

According to London’s Daily Mail, shopper Jo Clarke was on line at a grocery store Sainsbury’s when a checkout clerk told her she wouldn’t handle her groceries unless she got off the phone.

“[She told me:] ‘I will not check your shopping out until you get off your mobile phone,’” Clarke told the Mail. “I was dumbfounded at the time, so just hung up. I don’t know what she was playing at. When did she have the right to give me a lecture on checkout etiquette?”

A spokesman for the chain said it apologized to the customer, and it does not have a policy on customer phone use. It also said the worker would not be disciplined.

With many supporting the clerk on social media, a spokesman later told the BBC: “We are also pleased that this specific story is leading to a wider debate on politeness.… This discussion this has created leads us all to think twice before reaching for our mobile phones and to recognize the great job the many thousands of sales assistants working across retail do.”

JCK News Director