A short consumer complaint story featured in a local weekly paper sparked a nationwide debate over manners and customer service.
The London-based News Shopper spoke to Sainsbury’s customer Jo Clarke, who was “left speechless” after being refused service until her she stopped talking on her mobile phone.
The story proved to be far more controversial than originally thought, attracting around 6,000 page views and dozens of comments on Facebook.
The issue was subsequently picked up by several national papers and the BBC, some of which ran their own polls on the issue, with thousands of readers getting involved in comment sections and on social media.
News Shopper news editor Dan Keel told HTFP: “It’s the story that keeps on giving.
“Not only did the article prove popular with our readers but it triggered a nationwide debate on the use of mobile phones in public.
“The issue is clearly a bone of contention with a lot of people and our readers were eager to get involved and have their say.”
A follow-up story has also now appeared in the NS, featuring one reader who claimed when he worked in a supermarket he would add the cost of a banana to the bill of everyone who was rude, labelling it “banana justice.”
The two stories have now attracted more than 100 comments on the website, in addition to those made on social media.
Among the responses was one reader who labelled the checkout assistant as a “hero” in the retail world.
Another added: “I love this checkout woman. I hate it when people get on the bus or the checkout or whatever and they are on the phone. No call is that important and if it is, deal with the call before you go to the checkout or whatever. It’s simple basic manners.”