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‘Pay what it’s worth’ store shoppers told after store power cut

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 06, 2013

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SHOPPERS in Swadlincote were asked to pay what they thought their groceries were worth after a power cut in a town supermarket put tills out of action for several hours.

The Sainsbury’s store in Civic Way, Swadlincote, was forced to close its doors yesterday for about two hours after suffering a power failure at about 11am.

The power failure rendered the store’s tills useless and customers were told to estimate the cost of their shopping with a member of staff before handing over payment.

Barbara Smyth, 49, a full-time carer, paid £20 for her shopping after staff asked her to pay what she thought it was worth.

She said: “I just got to the till when the power went out - they said it had never happened in the 20 years the store has been there.

“They looked at my shopping and asked how much it was worth.

“I think I did quite well. It was a goodwill gesture.

“The staff even helped me to my car - they were so nice and friendly - I will definitely go back.”

Staff also manned the entrance to the store, off the Civic Way roundabout, to turn away scores of customers.

Paul Wain, store manager at Sainsbury’s Swadlincote said: “We closed the store for around two hours this morning following a power cut that shut down our tills.

“We were able to help customers who were already in the store to finish their shopping and we re-opened around lunchtime.”

A spokesperson from J Sainsbury said allowing customers to pay what they think their shopping is worth is standard procedure and a good will gesture to apologise for inconvenience.

He said: “We did not want to inconvenience the customers any further because it is our fault the power cut has happened.

“We don’t want to tell anyone who has spent time shopping with us that they can’t buy their goods so we agree a price with the customer and roughly estimate how much it would have cost.

The spokesman also reassured customers that the power failure posed no risk to health and safety.

He said: “The issue was with the till system but everything else in the store was fine.

“It was not a safety issue the fridges were all still working.”

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