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Single mum food shopping during isolation

(25 Posts)
TheresGotToBeMoreToLife Sat 18-Apr-20 23:53:12

I'm a single mum to 2 boys - a 7yr old and a 2yr old.

I went to my local shop today (just a small local chain) and was paying at the counter when a member of staff told me I "really shouldn't be bringing the children in".

I explained to her that I was a single mum and she suggested I leave my children outside the shop which I told her was I was not willing to do.

There was not one other customer in the shop at the time, just the two staff members, myself and my children and one delivery man.

I would purposefully avoid the the shop if I could and shop online wherever i can but the earliest slot available is 28th April. I have taken that but just like everyone else we regularly run out of usual things like milk (and also today, calpol) which is exactly what I was in there to buy. I have probably been to the shop with my children three times in the last 4 weeks.

She said to me "you're putting us all at risk." Which I felt was both over the top and a pretty cruel thing to say. She knows nothing of my personal circumstances.

My children were not running around, my toddler was sat happily in his pushchair and my 7 yr old was stood next to me as I paid and had stayed next to me for the entire 3 minutes we were in the shop.

I burst into silent tears. Dramatic I know, but it was a bad day anyway and i felt poked with a stick.

The lady who actually served me was clearly embarrassed by what was said to me and the fact her colleague had made me cry, and was kind to me. I was grateful to her for that.

I'm just not sure what the expectation is here for single parents. My own close family are all key workers (nurse, farmer, drug testing and IT) and my neighbours are all elderly. A lot of my friends are also still working and I obviously dont go to supermarkets at all and havent since mid march.

How are other single parents handling it?

OP’s posts: |
Puddlesplasher Sat 18-Apr-20 23:59:22

That's unacceptable. I'm sorry she upset you. I would ring and speak to the store manager so that he can ensure that no member of staff speaks to a customer like that again. thanks

StewPots Sun 19-Apr-20 00:02:06

I would definitely complain to the manager of the store. That's absolutely disgraceful and if you don't receive a suitable apology Make sure that post lockdown you don't support them in future.

TheresGotToBeMoreToLife Sun 19-Apr-20 00:06:04

Thank you. It's nice to know I'm not just super sensitive.

I actually did send a message to their facebook page his afternoon. The response I received was


Thanks for getting in touch.

I'm very sorry about the poor service you had in this store.

I've called the store and spoken with a Manger called xxx. He was already aware of the issue and the Area Manager has resolved this now.

Xxx said to me that a customer had mentioned this to another colleague in-store (it may have been yourself).

I hope if you decide to shop there again you have a much better experience.

Kind regards
ZZZZ - Customer Care

OP’s posts: |
ThisMustBeMyDream Sun 19-Apr-20 00:06:32

I'd be handling it by loudly embarrassing the worker for their dreadful behaviour. How unprofessional of them.

It's just another way of shaming single parents, isn't it?

I hope you asked for her name and spoke to a manager.

Beqhet6 Sun 19-Apr-20 00:10:21

I hear you. I am a single parent totally on my own with my young 2 kids. We walked to local farm shop the other day - who have almost doubled their prices - and was told I shouldn’t have brought my kids. I am normally not backwards in coming forwards - but it knocked me for six & I cried whole way home. I spent double what I would in a local shop. I literally have no choice but to take my young children with me. I don’t have any help around me & my elderly parents have to self isolate. It’s like people think we are bringing our kids out for a bit of fun - not out of absolute necessity. Feeling so low & shit about anything Right now

TheresGotToBeMoreToLife Sun 19-Apr-20 00:11:56

There was noone else in the shop at the time (which was exactly why it was a perfect time for us to go in!) but yes she had a name badge on.

From the response I got above from customer services, her colleague who was clearly embarrassed by it all had already mentioned it to the manager too which I was grateful for.

OP’s posts: |
TheresGotToBeMoreToLife Sun 19-Apr-20 00:15:13

Thanks Beqhet6. I dont wish it on you but it's nice to not feel alone. I am not usually a crier at all but it really shocked me that someone could be so nasty. Do they really think if we had a choice we would take our children with us?! I'm practically jumping for joy when I manage to get an online delivery slot!

I guess it's not even just single mums. Plenty of people may on occasion HAVE to take their children out with them. It's very shortsighted to think otherwise.

OP’s posts: |
PicsInRed Sun 19-Apr-20 00:20:28

It's just another way to have a go at women, especially single mothers.

OP, good on you for speaking up. The more we speak up, the less these people will dare to target women and mothers like this.

Northernsoullover Sun 19-Apr-20 00:23:21

Its really shitty of them. Good response from the higher echelons though.

PumpkinP Sun 19-Apr-20 00:25:07

I’ve only read of this happening on MN, she asked you to leave a 2 year old outside?

TheresGotToBeMoreToLife Sun 19-Apr-20 00:26:58

Yes he was in a pushchair, so she asked me to leave him outside, I assume with my 7yr old to watch him. My 7yr old is nowhere near responsible enough for that. I just wouldn't.

OP’s posts: |
Easilyanxious Sun 19-Apr-20 00:57:48

Too young too leave outside so you had every right to go in you have to eat
Not fair to expect a 7 year old to be responsible for a 2 year old so you did nothing wrong

TheresGotToBeMoreToLife Sun 19-Apr-20 01:00:54

Thank you. The shop is on a semi-busy road at a t-junction too. I appreciate there arent so many cars on the road at the minute but anything could happen in a few minutes and I dont think it's fair to put that responsibility on my eldest.

OP’s posts: |
Willows76 Sun 19-Apr-20 01:34:30

Just wanted to let some of you struggling with online food home delivery slots if you dont mind what brand you get or an exact description of food inside your hamper style boxes then go to they're doing a fab deal on foood boxes for £35 meat or vegetarian boxes, ready meal boxes etc for a similar price. And you get it next day home delivery, you dont get an option on a time when you order it but you get a message the next day with a time frame so u know wen its coming. Mine was brill and arrived today after ordering yesterday morning, with no hassle and you get your moneys worth. I just left a note on my door saying 'please leave the parcel in front of my door many thanks 😀' everyday essentials in there too, like bread, loo roll, butter, potatoes, milk etc.

Willowmartha1 Sun 19-Apr-20 01:51:27

I had a similar experience In my local small shop by a member of staff, she tutted and glared at me and my daughter and made us both feel extremely uncomfortable! I made my daughter go and stand by the door while queued up to pay but she couldn't see me and cried. I haven't been in there since and now go to the shop next door where they are friendly to me and my child.

Waxonwaxoff0 Sun 19-Apr-20 07:14:31

I'd complain too. I'm a single mother and take DS, no one has ever said anything to me. I wouldn't bring him if I had another choice. He's nearly 7 and no way would I be leaving him outside a shop where I can't keep an eye on him either, anything could happen.

Legallybleachblonde Sun 19-Apr-20 07:41:09

I was in the queue outside M&S last week with my 5 year old. A worker from the shop approached me and said "was it necessary to bring your child today?"! I said "Yes. I'm a single parent and he's 5 years old". It really got my back up. Made me feel as though I was being an irresponsible parent by bringing him and that I had to justify myself in front of a queue of people (and my son). Twat!

puffinandkoala Sun 19-Apr-20 08:23:34

And even if you are not a single parent your other half might be working!

I just wish people would stop nagging and virtue signalling. Retail staff are doing a great job at the moment and they're potentially putting themselves at risk so we can get food, but this sort of thing is silly (and I bet she wouldn't have said anything to a dad on his own with two kids).

puffinandkoala Sun 19-Apr-20 08:25:09

In fact if I were a single parent my first response would be a quiet "would you have asked that question of a dad on his own"?

CookieBlue Sun 19-Apr-20 08:44:08

That’s terrible. You did nothing wrong OP. I’m sure there’s thousands of single mums in the same predicament right now. Shops need to be understanding of this.

Thisisitisit Sun 19-Apr-20 08:51:39

Its ridiculous, and makes me angry. If you and your children are adhering to social distancing in the shop and have no other option which was the case then it's atrocious. Sorry you were made to feel that way. My DH is a keyworker and away from home at the moment so I have to take DS out in his pushchair (so he is contained and can't run around touching anything), and people always comment; not shop staff, but random people. People would also moan if I booked a delivery slot, left a 17 month old at home alone or didn't feed him. I would complain, yes they are under stress, that's no excuse.

cat234 Sun 19-Apr-20 09:08:03

Going to go against the grain here and say I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask people to not bring kids if possible/ask people if they can not bring them in. I do think it sounds like this shop assistant then went a bit fair, but without asking/reminding people many people seem to think it’s fine to take kids shopping to ‘get them out the house’ etc. I’m a key worker and one of our staff members was telling me how she was going to go shopping with her kids as they are fed up of being cooped up at home. And how one of her children likes picking food with her. There is no way her kids won’t be touching food in the shop etc.

If shop assistants remind even just one or two people like my work colleague that she’s being selfish and putting people at risk bringing her kids to the shops when it’s not necessary I think it’s a conversation worth having.

Thisisitisit Sun 19-Apr-20 09:15:52

The shop worker could have stopped once the OP explained though, and not gone on the guilt trip.

Sashawest50 Fri 08-May-20 14:07:01

For many not just S.P local stores are for an odd item we need or forgot.mainly due to the excess prices up ...sorry for the shops behavior but most will be trying to follow Gov.guidelines to say safe..not sure if this will help for future use..My hubby is a Manager at one of the larger UK supermarkets and I have asked his advice..policy is one in one : one adult and one child over 12 to try follow social distancing : end to sorry in my local supermarket where previously it was treated like a day out at the seaside and a chance to catch up with friends etc instead of just getting shopping..paying and leaving..We've all been there wishing people would just shop and avoid us having to waste valuable time ie : getting home from work or getting kids home and fed etc..sorry it's an issue I've had for ever...Back to the subject..If you are a S.P and have no other 'Alternative Appropriate Adult' to care for your children..You can discreetly explain that you need to bring your children to do your will be able to do your shopping just remember social distancing and keeping children close to you at all times..On no account should you feel obliged to leave your children unsupervised in the car even to run in for a few bits..This is impossible now due to queues etc..As a Parent if you would never consider leaving your children home alone or in the car then do not put your children at risk of being left unsupervised due to covid 19..We are all parents whether Single or not and have the same rights to provide food provisions for ourselves and our children..Keep your children safe

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