A mum-of-four was left stunned when she was told she couldn’t buy a bottle of cider – despite being aged 49.
Gini Dellow (corr) went to the counter with a £1.50 bottle of Old Mout Cider in her basket along with other groceries on Wednesday evening (17/8).
But she was shocked when staff at her local Co-op said she couldn’t buy the booze because she had her 16-year-old son Kit with her.
Despite Mrs Dellow telling a supervisor the cider was for her and not her son, she was told she had to take the bottle out of her basket.
Yesterday, the mum said she left all of the items she was going to buy and walked out of the Lincolnshire Co-op store in Navenby, Lincs.
Mature student Mrs Dellow, who is studying a psychology degree at the Open University, added: “I don’t drink a lot and have been in there lots of times to get either cider or wine without any problems.
“But when I got to the till the male assistant asked if my son had ID and I asked why because it was clearly me who was buying the groceries and paying for them.
“So he called his female supervisor and she came over and explained that they had an under-25 policy and they couldn’t sell us the alcohol.
“I replied that it was for me. I was gobsmacked and angry, so I left the whole lot and just walked out.
“Parents should be able to go shopping with their children. He had picked the cider off the shelf for me but he had also picked up the vegetables.
“What if I had been in a wheelchair, would he not be allowed to pick up items off the shelves to help me?
“The staff in the store didn’t communicate that was the reason why they challenged us, if they had I would have told them yes he picked it off the shelf but it isn’t for him.”
After being refused the cider, Mrs Dellow then went 10 miles to the Ancaster Co-operative, which is operated by a different business, and bought the booze without being challenged.
The single mum, from Navenby, added: “I wasn’t desperate to buy the cider but I needed the groceries.
“And I wasn’t prepared to buy them in a shop where they had accused me of lying.
“The regional manager later phoned me up to apologise and said they would be looking into adding some common sense into their guidelines.
“I am a big fan of the Challenge 25 policy but maybe the law needs to change so parents can buy alcohol if they’re shopping with their children.”
Lincolnshire Co-op has said the store assistant saw Kit pick up the bottle and hand it to his mum before she took it to the counter, which meant they had to ask for ID.
A spokesperson said: “Unfortunately in cases like this, the person serving the customer is in a no-win situation.
“If they genuinely think someone is under 25 they will ask for ID.
“Retailers also have the right to refuse a sale if they believe the alcohol could be consumed by someone underage.
“There are serious consequences, both for the individual and the retailer if we fall foul of the law.
“We work with police and trading standards on our policies.
“We are bound to get it wrong sometimes and we ask customers to bear with us if we ask for ID or refuse a sale.
“We believe adhering to tough policies is the best safeguard to ensure we’re not selling alcohol to those underage.”