Jun 11, 2021

Elderly man mistreated at supermarket after difficulty signing in with QR code

Elderly man supermarket

Mark told radio station 3AW that staff at Melbourne’s Knox City Coles store told his 70-year-old father he couldn’t enter the supermarket without scanning the QR code due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Mark’s father has Parkinson’s disease and has Dupuytren’s contracture, which prevents him from opening his hands. He also uses a walking frame. He didn’t understand what the member of staff was asking him to do.

The staff member told Mark’s father to take out his phone, but he spoke so rudely, the elderly gentleman became stressed and nervous, and couldn’t remember how to unlock his phone.

“He couldn’t unlock it because he was so nervous about what was happening,” Mark said.

The staff member then told Mark’s father to go to the service desk and use the paper-based system, but even that was difficult because of his hand contracture.

“There was no help whatsoever,” Mark explained.

“He felt scared,” Mark said, adding his father was worried he would be banned from the store he usually visits every day.

“He’s got this disease, he’s trying to fight it as best he can. He goes in every day,” Mark explained to 3AW.

“The elderly that don’t know, you don’t treat them like that,” he said.

“It’s not right.”

Coles issued a statement to 3AW saying it has apologised to the customer.

“We were sad to hear of the experience of one of our valued customers,” the statement said.

“We want our team to always make sure we are making it as easy as possible for our customers to comply with QR code and sign-in requirements. 

“We are looking into it from a store level to ensure nothing like this happens again.”

Have you or someone you know had difficulty using the QR codes to sign in? Tell us about your experiences.

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  1. Coles have that gentleman come back to your store and apologise to him. And in the future tell your staff to have some manners

  2. My caring thoughts go to this elderly gentleman, there was no compassion or respect shown to him.

    The way in which he was treated reflects on the management’s poor level of staff customer-service training. I hope they acted immediately to address this major flaw in their staff training, plus personally apologise to their elderly customer, whilst showing more understanding towards those who struggle with scanning, signing in or shopping.

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