Tesco stores in Wales are facing backlash for classing period products, such as sanitary pads, as non-essential items during the country's current coronavirus lockdown. Many angry customers pointed out that other products, such as alcohol, were still available to purchase. Photos of feminine care aisles being taped off in stores have been circulating on social media, along with sealed off baby clothes next to an open crate of vodka (which was not restricted).
Following her disappointing in-store experience, once Tesco shopper tweeted "Tesco can you explain why I was told today that I can't buy PERIOD PADS as I'm sure they're essential to women?!!! But I can buy alcohol. It doesn't make sense."
The supermarket giant promptly responded explaining that the decision was out of their hands, saying they were only following instructions given by the Welsh government, who have put the country back into a strict lockdown in an effort to control the spread of COVID 19: "Hi Katie. We understand how frustrating these changes will be for our Welsh customers. However we have been told by the Welsh government not to sell these items for the duration of the firebreak lockdown – Regards, Raza".
However, they later deleted the tweet and apologised after the Welsh Government said their stance was incorrect. The BBC report that ministers are now set to review the controversial policy.
The original shocking interaction was shared by fellow Twitter user, Stephen Canning (@EssexCanning):
Welcome to Wales, where the Welsh Government have banned women’s sanitary products as they’re not essential... 🤔 pic.twitter.com/xdWCYLpFG1
— Stephen Canning (@EssexCanning) October 26, 2020
Another user, @NicolaSmith6, shared images of the sanitary products aisle being taped off, along with a message of frustration, "I’m literally raging & in tears @Tesco how the hell is beer essential and PERIOD PRODUCTS are non-essential! This is RIDICULOUS #walesinlockdown #coronavirus."
I’m literally Raging & in tears 😢🤯😡 @Tesco how the hell is beer essential and PERIOD PRODUCTS are Non essential 😡!!!! @WelshGovernment this is RIDICULOUS #walesinlockdown #coronavirus @piersmorgan pic.twitter.com/3ZK8pPsD92
— Nichola-Louise 💞🏴💞 (@nicholasmith6) October 26, 2020
This isn't the first time the supermarket has been criticised over their decision as to what should be classed as an essential, or non-essential, item either. A Channel 4 correspondent, Ciaran Jenkins, shared the below photo of baby clothes and vodka, captioning it, "Not essential: Baby Clothes. Essential: Vodka (bottom right)."
Not essential: Baby Clothes
Essential: Vodka (bottom right) pic.twitter.com/aDXDvWbN37
— Ciaran Jenkins (@C4Ciaran) October 23, 2020
Others have posted saying that books have been withdrawn from sale. User Edd Sirr said, "Books are banned in Wales. @Tesco can you explain why these are ‘not essential?’ They are VAT exempt as they are deemed essential by the UK Govt?"
— Edd Sirr (@eddsirr) October 23, 2020
Let's hope the policy review clears things up swiftly...
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