Elderly woman barred from all Dunnes Stores after mistakenly leaving without paying for €3.50 bottle of wine
An elderly woman has been barred from all branches of Dunnes Stores after she accidentally walked out of the shop without paying for a €3.50 bottle of miniature wine.
Speaking to RTE's Liveline, her daughter Joanne said her mother is "not your typical shoplifter".
She described her as a "typical little old lady". She's 79--years-old, 5'2" and walks with a stick.
Joanne explained that when her mother goes shopping, she brings her big shopping trolley with her as she can't manage the shopping baskets or trolleys provided in shops. She places her items inside her own trolley, unpacks them at the till and then repacks the trolley before she leaves.
On March 1 she had been shopping in Dunnes Stores for items for her husband's birthday tea. Upon leaving the store she was approached by a security guard who asked her to follow him back inside the store.
Joanne said that her mother assumed they wanted to question her as part of a survey as he had asked about an item inside her trolley.
He brought her into an office and told her that she had left the shop without paying for a €3.50 miniature bottle of wine.
Joanne explained that her mother had missed the wine when she was unpacking her trolley and it was an "honest mistake".
"She took out €5 and offered to pay for it," said Joanne. "But he wouldn't take the money and walked her outside the premises."
When they were outside, he informed the pensioner that she was barred from the store. She explained that she needed to go to another branch of Dunnes Stores to pick up some more items for the birthday tea and was advised that she was barred from all of its branches.
"As she walked away it dawned on her what had happened and she burst into tears," said Joanne.
Joanne said she was "furious" when she found out and wrote a complaint to the store. She was advised that the security guard had acted appropriately. She requested by mail to see a copy of their vulnerable customer's policy or the procedure to be followed in the event people accidentally leave the store without paying for items but, to date, her requests have been ignored.
Joanne also raised a Subject Access Request to see what information Dunnes Stores have on her mother.
"They took a photo of her bus pass," she said. "I'm worried that her details may have been shared with other branches and maybe even other retailers they provide security for.
"Perhaps she's on some watchlist somewhere as this major shoplifter who's parading around Dublin somewhere trying to steal from shops."
Dunnes Stores has failed to respond to her Subject Access Request but Joanne said she will pursue the matter until it's resolved.
Independent.ie has reached out to Dunnes Stores for comment.
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