Woman ‘felt like second-class citizen’ when B&M refused Scottish banknote

woman felt like second class citizen when bm refused scottish banknote - Woman 'felt like second-class citizen' when B&M refused Scottish banknote

An Edinburgh psychologist felt “like a second-class citizen” when her Scottish £20 note was refused in a Filton B&M store.

Dr Barbara Douglas says she was “shocked, embarrassed and angry” after she tried to pay for a bottle of Prosecco on June 14 and staff did not accept her banknote.

The 65-year-old revealed the incident at B&M, in Abbey Wood Shopping Park, has made her consider her position on Scottish independence from the UK.

Shops are not breaking a law if they refuse Scottish notes, but B&M says its policy is to accept them in all its UK branches. The firm said it will raise the issue with the Filton store.

How the incident unfolded

Dr Douglas visited Bristol last week as part of her work as a chartered psychologist, staying with friends in Long Ashton.

 

She was hoping to buy some Prosecco from B&M to thank her hosts for their hospitality.

She said: “I went to the till and they looked at my note and told me, ‘we have been told we can’t accept this.’”

woman felt like second class citizen when bm refused scottish banknote 2 - Woman 'felt like second-class citizen' when B&M refused Scottish banknote

Dr Barbara Douglas’ Scottish banknotes were refused by B&M (Image: Michael Lloyd Photography)

When Dr Douglas questioned this, she says the sales assistant told her the instruction came from a more senior B&M employee.

A customer support worker was then called. Dr Douglas says he told her the note could not be accepted and gave the same reason.

‘Discrimination’

“I felt humiliated,” the psychologist said. “There were people building up around the tills.

“I almost felt like they were telling me I had done some fraud. I was also really angry. How dare they?

“It felt like being discriminated against. It is a minor incident compared to other people’s discrimination, but I felt like a second-class citizen. It was horrible.

“I didn’t have any English money and I wouldn’t have given it to them if I had.”

woman felt like second class citizen when bm refused scottish banknote 3 - Woman 'felt like second-class citizen' when B&M refused Scottish banknote

Dr Barbara Douglas’ Scottish banknotes were refused by B&M (Image: Michael Lloyd Photography)

Dr Douglas walked across the retail park to the Asda Filton Superstore and bought a Prosecco there, having no issues with the Scottish note.

‘Hard to believe’

She said: “B&M is a national retail outlet with many stores in Scotland so it is hard to believe staff follow dubious policies without any explanation.

“At a time when the union is in question from another potential Scottish independence referendum, this seems concerning, as it sends out an unpleasant message to Scots in Bristol.

 

“I regularly go down to London for work, and Leicester. I lived in England for 30 years. I have never had a problem with using Scottish notes before.

“When the Scottish independence referendum happened, I didn’t vote to separate, but I came out of B&M thinking, ‘if that is the attitude of England, maybe we should.’”

A B&M spokeswoman said the chain will flag up the incident with the store.

She added: “It’s company policy to accept Scottish notes no matter where you are in the UK.”

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