A BLACKBURN man has hit out at staff at Aldi’s Montague Street store, after his attempts to buy two trollies worth of food for charity were thwarted.
Reiss Bawlar, 37, was buying the food to donate to a shipment of goods being sent to war-torn Syria.
The fitness instructor, who lives in Cambridge Street, has spent a month’s salary, of around £1,000 buying tinned food, nappies, and other essentials to send to Syrian refugees.
Reiss said he visited the Montague Street store on Wednesday and bought a large quantity of food without any problems.
He said he returned the next day and attempted to buy two more trollies full of food — £40 to £50-worth of baked beans, tinned spaghetti, tinned potatoes and rice pudding.
But he said he was approached by a member of staff who started to remove the food from the trollies.
He said: “I’d gone in previously, the day before, and another store manager was really friendly.
“We came back the next day and just as we were filling the trollies up, a woman came out and said ‘I’m not having this’.
“She said ‘I’ve spoken to you lot before’, and as we were talking she was emptying my trolley back out.
“She hadn’t spoken to me before, the first time I’d been in there was the day before, and nobody had spoken to me then. She said she had to think of her customers, but I’m a customer.I’m not taking it for free, I’m paying for it.
“She didn’t even pull me to one side. She belittled me in front of all the customers.”
Reiss said he was motivated to donate to the charity after seeing and hearing about the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
He said: “It’s not a religious thing. We’re just doing it for the sake of the children, who are going to sleep starving every night.
“It’s a good cause we’re doing it for, it’s for charity. There was more than enough food stuff on the shelves, and it’s there to be bought.
“People feeling generous are getting turned away. What happened to ‘the customer is always right’?
“I’ve been everywhere over the last few days, and I haven’t had this problem with Lidl, or Asda, or cash and carries.
“She said we’d have to let them know the day before if we wanted to come in and buy in bulk.
“We left the shopping, and went to Aldi at Ewood Park instead. They were really helpful there, they helped us on the checkouts.”
Reiss said the food was being collected at Global Carwash, in Fort Street which is the Blackburn donation point for a nationwide aid drive.
Irfaz Khan, 34, is running the Blackburn donation point, which is currently supporting the Children In Deen charity by collecting donations until July 21.
He said: “I’ve been doing this for a few years, and this is very disappointing.”
Reiss said after he called customer services to complain he received an apology, but the supermarket chain refused his request to make a donation to the charity.
A spokesman for Aldi was unavailable for comment.