Iceland ‘big boys’ forced to apologise after banning Dagenham shopper for complaining

Iceland bosses were forced to apologise to Brian Relf after he was banned and accused of swearing at

Iceland bosses were forced to apologise to Brian Relf after he was banned and accused of swearing at staff - Credit: Archant

Supermarket bosses were forced to apologise to a full-time carer after he was banned and told to “shut up” for complaining about customer service.

Iceland bonus card holder and customer of 20 years Brian Relf, 53, was kicked out after cracking jokes with fellow shoppers while waiting for more than 20 minutes in a queue.

Anxious to get back to wheelchair-bound wife Rosemary Relf, 56, Brian says he joked that he’d reach a pensioner’s age by the time he got home. He also told the store manager it wasn’t good customer service to have just one till operator on duty – only to be told that he was banned for life from all Iceland stores.

“I’ve got one thing in common with the England team – we’ve both been booted out by Iceland,” he joked. “When I got to the till I said ‘I’m not being horrible but it’s bad customer service’. The manager said I’d made my point and told me to shut up. So I said ‘if you can’t handle the job find yourself another job you can manage’ and he said ‘get out of my store now.’”

Brian, of Bellhouse Road in Rush Green, was furious when the manager at the Whalebone Lane South store in Dagenham accused him of “swearing” and “abusive behaviour” during the exchange on Friday.


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“All I said was you can take that food and stick it where the sun don’t shine,” he said. “The last thing I’d do is swear because as soon as you swear you’ve lost the argument.

“There were other customers complaining about the queue but I was the only one banned. Surely you have a right to complain without being banned.”

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After saying he was prepared to take a lie detector test on The Jeremy Kyle Show to prove he didn’t swear, Iceland retracted the nation-wide ban on Tuesday, apologising to Brian.

Brian said he was happy with the result and hopes it will encourage others to speak out.

“If you stand up to the big boys the big boys can be brought down,” he said. “The head office has come round to common sense but this should never have happened.”

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