An afternoon of shopping left a bitter taste in the mouth of a Port Elizabeth mother after she was accidentally locked in a Shoprite store for two hours.
Ntombizodwa Maliti, 49, was locked in at the Shoprite Ziyabuya Complex in KwaDwesi while alarms blared.
The mother of two has now drafted a letter seeking to be compensated by Shoprite for suffering, hurt and embarrassment, saying the incident on November 17 left her emotionally affected.
Shoprite spokeswoman Sarita van Wyk said the chain store was in the process of investigating the unusual incident in conjunction with its security service provider and would only have a full picture of what transpired next week.
“Shoprite regrets that it never had the opportunity to properly apologise to the customers concerned as the matter was not reported to head office at the time,” Van Wyk said.
“This will now be remedied and contact will be made to provide redress.”
She said that at this stage Shoprite would only confirm that standard closing procedures had been followed and that no person had been observed on the shop floor at the time of closing.
Security data verified that the store was locked at 7.15pm and opened again at 8.10pm after the branch manager was advised, via the police, that there were people in the store, she said.
Maliti, however, insists she was inside the shop for two hours and that there was no prior warning when the shop closed its doors.
According to her, the most disturbing part of the bizarre incident was the unprofessional, discourteous and negligent conduct displayed by staff.
While busy shopping, Maliti said she realised the lights had been switched off without prior warning.
She said she had then met another woman customer in an aisle, who had also been locked in.
“The alarm went off twice while we were inside. We shouted for help but to no avail,” Maliti said.
“We were inside for two hours until the other woman finally managed to get hold of her husband who reported the incident at the police station.”
In her letter, she wrote: “I demand to be compensated within 14 days or legal steps will follow.”