Hat and sunnies deemed a supermarket ‘security risk’
April 07, 2015
A TOWNSVILLE mum is angry after being identified as a security risk for wearing a hat and prescription sunglasses at a Woolworths supermarket at the weekend.
Susan Hilbourne said she was approached by an employee at the Castletown supermarket’s self-service check-out on Sunday.
She said the employee told her she would need to remove one of the items as she was a “security risk”.
“I was dumbfounded,” Mrs Hilbourne said yesterday.
“I really felt victimised and felt like I was being targeted for no reason.”
Mrs Hilbourne said she had forgotten her glasses and had needed to wear her prescription sunglasses into the shop.
She said she explained this to the staff member, who was “rude” and “aggressive”.
Management apologised to her for the incident, but Mrs Hilbourne said one of her main concerns was a lack of signage at the shop’s entrance alerting customers to the dress policy.
“I’m quite happy to abide by the rules and regulations, but I want to know what they are when I walk into a store,” she said. “I’ve seen men in shorts with no shirt or shoes.
“I do the right thing, I dress appropriately.”
Mrs Hilbourne said she believed the incident reflected a larger problem in Australia.
She said political correctness, red tape and fear were ruining the Australian way of life.
“If I came in wearing a hijab or a burqa, where you could only see my eyes, would that be an issue?” Mrs Hilbourne said. “The staff member told me I would be allowed to wear that. Why is it any different? I don’t see the difference.”
Mrs Hilbourne said she believed everyone should be treated the same way, regardless of their religion. “I worry about what’s happening,” she said. “I look at my kids and think what’s it going to be like for them.”
A Woolworths spokesman said the supermarket chain sold several products that, under legislation, required staff to take steps to satisfy themselves as to aspects of a customer’s identity.
“As such we at times do ask customers to remove items that make that task more difficult,” he said.
The spokesman did not comment on the shop’s policy regarding religious headwear.