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37-year-old Beaconsfield musician angry over Sainsbury's alcohol policy
A PROFESSIONAL concert pianist was left feeling off-key after being refused service for alcohol in a supermarket - despite being nearly 20 years above the legal age limit.
Victoria Sinclair is angry that despite her protests in store, staff would not believe she was 37 and confiscated wine during her regular weekly Sainsbury’s store in Beaconsfield.
And the musician from Beaconsfield, who studied at the Royal College of Music, is calling for the chain’s ‘Think 25’ policy to be reviewed after her ordeal.
She said: "I felt victimised, intimidated and embarrassed that other customers had seen staff confiscate my goods. "I had been made to look like a lying teenager who was trying to sneak alcohol through the checkout.
"We have spent thousands of pounds in this store since we moved to Beaconsfield in 1995 so this was very insulting to loyal customers.
"The point is they just didn’t believe me and essentially called me a liar, which I find very upsetting and insulting."
The pianist and music teacher also claims she was treated rudely by members of staff, who confiscated the items from the automated checkout.
She has made a formal complaint to Sainsbury’s over the incident, which happened at the chain's Maxwell Road store last week.
Miss Sinclair, who lives with her mother near Forty Green, said she returned later with her photo ID and bought the alcohol to make a point, but is considering boycotting the store if she doesn’t receive an apology.
And she has called for a rethink on the policy where staff are required to ask for photo ID if they believe the customer buying alcohol is under 25.
Sainsbury’s has defended its policy, insisting staff were right to use their discretion to ask Miss Sinclair for ID given the severe consequences for individuals serving alcohol to minors, which include a criminal record.
A spokesman said: "We take our responsibilities as a licensed retailer seriously and all our stores recognise their role in the local community.
"Our Think 25 policy is designed to ensure that age-related products are sold safely and only to those who are allowed to buy them. All our colleagues receive extensive training to ensure they enforce our policy correctly and with discretion.
"It’s important our colleagues do not risk alcohol being consumed by anyone underage and we hope that our customers understand this."
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