A COMPLAINT by a blind 18-year-old about a supermarket’s refusal to sell him alcohol has prompted a massive response on Facebook.
Rob Williams, from Cynwyd near Corwen, went to Tesco in Ruthin to buy some groceries with the help of his 13-year-old sister.
Among his shop was a crate of 12 cans of lager, but staff refused to let him buy the drink because he was with someone under the age of 18 despite the fact he had ID.
A complaint posted on the Tesco page of social networking site Facebook by the Ysgol Brynhyfryd pupil has since received over 4,000 ‘likes’ and more than 740 comments.
“I understand they have these policies in place but I think sometimes common sense should prevail,” said Rob, who became blind after suffering from food poisoning when he was two.
“I’d gone into Ruthin and it just so happened my sister was there too so I phoned her and asked her to come round Tesco with me.
“I could have asked a staff member to help me instead, but I thought it would be easier for them if I asked my sister.
“I have a white cane and have learnt my way about town on my own, but I can’t identify the products in a supermarket without help.”
Hundreds of people have left messages of support on Facebook for Rob, but others have been less understanding.
“The Facebook posts have actually highlighted a bigger problem in terms of how ignorant people are about visual impairments,” said Rob, who is taking his A levels and hopes to take music at college in Leeds.
“I’ve had lots of questions such as people asking how I type, but also offensive comments with people saying I’m a danger to others and shouldn’t be drinking.”
Rob’s sister Emily, 13, had helped him around the store before the pair went to the checkout.
“When reaching the checkout I was asked to produce ID, which I did,” said Rob. “My 13-year-old sister was then asked to produce ID.
“She had no ID and I was quickly ready to explain that she wasn't associated with the actual purchases.
“I was then told I could not buy my alcohol as the woman at checkout was under the impression that I was going to share the lager with my sister.
“After insisting on seeing a manager the result was the same.
“I find it disgusting that they don't make any concessions for blind people. If I could see, my sister would not have come into the shop with me.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We take our responsibilities as an alcohol retailer very seriously and operate a think 25 policy across all of our stores. Following our normal procedures, we refused sale in this case as we were concerned that the alcohol may be consumed by a minor.
“We have been in touch with Mr Williams since the incident and would be happy to assist him round the store in the future.”