Lidl 'sorry for misunderstanding' after disabled customer was 'belittled by staff'

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Supermarket chain Lidl has apologised for a ‘misunderstanding’ with a disabled woman at its store in Chesterfield.

Shirley Hoole, 23, who suffers from several spinal conditions, claims she was ‘belittled’ by staff at the Chatsworth Road store because of her ‘hidden disability’.

Shirley requires a carer 24/7 and when she visited the store was questioned by door staff who she claims told her she should be shopping alone.

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After allowing her to enter the store, Shirley says staff and other customers continued to question whether she had a disability.

Shirley Hoole claimed she was 'belittled' at Chesterfield's Lidl store.Shirley Hoole claimed she was 'belittled' at Chesterfield's Lidl store.
Shirley Hoole claimed she was 'belittled' at Chesterfield's Lidl store.

A spokesperson for Lidl said it was ‘very sorry if any misunderstanding occurred’.

Shirley, who has scoliosis, spina bifida and spondylolisthesis, said: “It really upset me and made me feel very sad. All through life I have been bullied for being different and this felt the same.”

She went to the store with her carer on May 16 after struggling to get an online spot and following several weeks of avoiding shops because she is ‘high risk’ to Covid-19.

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“The man on the door said only one of you is allowed in but I explained I was with my carer. It felt like he didn’t believe me.

“When he let me through he spoke to his colleague on the radio and said I am not disabled and not telling the truth.

“Several customers came up to me and asked if I was disabled. Just because my disability is hidden shouldn’t mean I am treated like this.

“I asked to speak to the manager but he would not give his name and I am now waiting to hear back from a regional manager.”

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A spokesperson for Lidl said: “We are committed to providing all of our customers with a safe and positive shopping environment, and have measures in place to ensure that any customers with additional needs have a range of support available to them.

“This includes allowing those who require assistance whilst shopping to be accompanied by someone to support them in store, as was the case in this particular instance.

“We are therefore very sorry if any misunderstanding occurred following this.”