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Uncategorized

River Island shopper’s ‘worst fears’ happened after staff refused to help the mum of two

today27 June 2022

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A mum-of-two has been left distraught after pleading with staff in River Island who refused to let her use their toilet. The 30-year-old, who suffers from a disorder that renders her incontinent, wet herself while being directed to alternative arrangements. Shop staff added to her distress by placing a ‘Wet Floor’ sign next to her.

Bianca Artwell suffers from Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) – a condition that affects her nervous system and how her brain and body send and receive signals. Symptoms of FND include weakness or paralysis, tremors or tics, difficulty walking, loss of balance, and incontinence.

The shopper was returning a pair of shoes for her three-year-old daughter, when the event happened. As she approached the till she realised she needed the toilet. However, after explaining her condition and that she was unable to wait, staff in the Elliott’s Field Retail Park store in Rugby, Warks refused to let her use the store’s toilet saying it was against company policy.

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Despite pleading with staff and the store manager, Bianca was told to go to a cafe across the road, but as she tried to leave the store she was unable to wait any longer and wet herself. Rather than offering to help, staff ignored the distraught mum-of-two and instead put a ‘wet floor’ sign next to her.

Bianca, who works as a beauty therapist, explained: “On this particular day I felt quite independent with my aids so I asked my friend to watch my daughter while I went into River Island using my crutches so I could swap some shoes I had bought. As I approached the till I knew instantly that my bladder retention was about to reverse and I needed to go urgently”.

The shopper, from Rugby added: “I asked the ladies at the till if I could please discreetly use their toilet and explained I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t go immediately. They said no and said I needed to go to a coffee shop across the road. I pleaded again explaining I definitely wouldn’t make it there but they refused.

“I tried to at least make it outside but only got maybe a metre and a half away from the tills before my worst fears happened. My bladder let go.

“Stood in a pool of my own urine I turned to the three staff members on the till and explained I was really sorry but I had had an accident. “They just stared at me and the manager who was getting ready to leave instructed them to put a wet floor sign down. I stood there frozen in complete horror.

“A staff member came up to me but instead of offering to help she just dropped the wet floor sign next to me and walked away. Stood in shock I assumed she must be coming back but instead she and her colleagues carried on their conversation.

“The manager even walked past me and shouted bye to her colleagues and just looked at me in my mess and left the premises. As other customers arrived, walking past me and my wet floor sign, it finally occurred that this was my problem and the staff weren’t going to help me in any way. No offer of going to a changing room, no offer of tissues, no offer of other clothing or even a ‘are you okay?’.”

Two friends came to Bianca’s aid after she phoned them for help, assisting her out of the store and taking her to another shop to buy clean clothes and personal cleaning products.

Ms Artwell has lodged a formal complaint and demanded River Island staff are given better training.

She added: “I’ve previously worked in retail for years and there are characteristics that are exempt from this such as, elderly, pregnant women, children and those with disabilities”.

Continuing: “Is it policy to further fail a customer after an accident like this by offering no compassion, no dignity or treating them like a human being?

She said: “I’ve never in my life been treated in such a cold manner. Left in the doorway of a shop with a sign directing people to look at the freak show, with no covering or support.”

River Island, which has around 300 stores in the UK, have apologised. Bianca says she was offered a new outfit from the shop which she refused to accept.

A spokesman said: “Every one of our customers matters to us and we were sorry to hear of this customer’s experience in one of our stores. Our Head of Customer Care is already in direct communication with this customer and we are reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure that everyone feels welcome and cared for whenever they visit our stores.”

Written by: thehitnetwork

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