A headmistress who tried to buy 210 ice lollies for her pupils on the hottest day of the year was turned away by Morrisons – because she didn’t PRE-ORDER.
Generous Nikki Hill decided to give every child at Greatfield Park Primary School a refreshing treat as temperatures soared to a sweltering 33C.
But after loading £52 worth of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastille Ice Lollies into baskets she was told she would not be allowed to buy them.
Morrisons’ insists that anyone wishing to buy large volumes of ice lollies must order in advance so they can ensure there is “enough for everyone”.
Nikki, 42, returned to the school empty-handed and has now made a formal complaint about the incident.
She said: “It was extremely hot. We knew it was going to be hot but nobody had anticipated quite how hot it was going to be.
“We don’t have any air conditioning and no way to get air flowing through the building so it was stifling.
“I had already taken preventative measures, like getting parents to put sun cream on their kids and telling staff to get them to drink as much water as possible.
“But by about 2pm it was evident they were struggling. We had children complaining that they weren’t feeling great.
“I thought, Morrisons is only three minutes away from school and I can buy all the children an ice lolly and it might just cool them down.”
Nikki headed to the supermarket – which is just a few yards from the school in Cheltenham, Glos., – on Tuesday afternoon.
She loaded 26 eight-pack boxes costing £2 each into two baskets, plus two other lollies for children who couldn’t eat the Rowntree’s ones.
After discovering they were heavier than expected she asked a staff member if he could get her a trolley.
But when she approached the man, believed to be a section manager, he told her that she wasn’t allowed to buy that many lollies and refused to help.
When she pointed out that there were no signs saying that – and there would be plenty of lollies left anyway – he still insisted that she needed to pre-order.
Nikki, who has been headteacher for four years, said: “I said I didn’t know it was going to be that hot and that I was buying them for the children.
“He said, ‘You still can’t buy them because there won’t be any for anyone else.’
“I asked how many I was allowed to buy and he said, ‘Not that many’. He couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me how many I was allowed to buy.
“I said, ‘Are you saying that if I take these to the checkout I will not be able to buy them?’ and he said ‘yes’.
“He said he could get a manager but they would say exactly the same thing, so I told him not to bother, put them all back and walked off.”
She added: “I was very cross. I was shocked – totally gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe it.
“Thankfully I hadn’t told the children that I was going to get them lollies because I went back empty-handed and that would have been horrific.
“It was just supposed to be a nice surprise to get them through the last hour of the day.”
Nikki said she was particularly disappointed because many parents of children at the school shop at the supermarket regularly.
She added that Morrisons had often talked about its wish to help the community but on this occasion failed to do so.
“I’m just sad about it,” she said. “I don’t like to make a big song and dance about things but Morrisons talk about being part of the community.
“On Tuesday that couldn’t have been further from the truth.”
Morrisons said: “On hot days we try our best to make sure we have enough lollies and ice cream for everyone.
“To help us, we ask anyone wanting large numbers to contact us in advance so we can order plenty in.
“We’re sorry we couldn’t help but we’re now in touch with the head teacher and we’ll try to get a supply of lollies across to the children.”
One shopper who witnessed what happened to Mrs Hill in Morrisons said: “I think it was appalling behaviour (by the staff member).
“One or two of us were frankly amazed at what was going on.”