Nottingham

Coronavirus card payments: Bakery manager sacked for accepting cash

Shopper uses contactless Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many businesses refused to take cash payments during the lockdown, and contactless payments are still preferred

A bakery manager who paid for customers' purchases with her own card so they could use cash has been sacked.

Megan Metcalfe, 60, said she did it to help elderly shoppers at Birds Bakery in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, where she has worked for four decades.

She said she took about 45 payments totalling £183, but accepting cash was against the bakery's coronavirus policies.

Her former employer said this was why, "with regret", they had to fire her.

Ms Metcalfe said the shop put a "card payments only" notice in the window but many customers would get to the till and say they only had cash.

'Books were balanced'

Instead, she said, she would pay on their behalf and ask the customer to put cash into her purse.

"Using card is something that not all people are used to because they don't have one or don't want to use one," she said.

"I'm not the sort of person to turn away an old person or someone with special needs to leave the shop empty-handed. So I started putting the payments on my card.

"I only did it with customers that have been coming here for many years.

"This way I was keeping money in the till, the customers were happy and the books were balanced."

Since being sacked for gross misconduct in June, she is now working in a care home.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Birds Bakery is a high-street staple around the East Midlands

The GMB Union said it was "outrageous" Ms Metcalfe was fired for "helping elderly people buy bread".

Age UK has also previously raised concerns about a "headlong rush" to a cashless society.

But many businesses, including Birds Bakery, have been refusing to accept cash payments during the coronavirus crisis to limit contact.

CEO Lesley Bird said what Ms Metcalfe did broke both their Covid-19 rules and their company regulations.

She added: "A lot of our customer base are the elderly - many of them vulnerable - and it is our responsibility to keep them, and our staff, safe.

"We wish her all the best in the new role."

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