A woman who worked at a bakery for 44 years was fired for allowing older customers without a card to pay in cash during the pandemic.
Megan Metcalfe, 60, who was a store manager at the Birds Bakery chain in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, was fired for ‘gross debt’ after accepting cash payments – in violation of company policy.
She says she made about £ 180 in cash payments and deposited it into her own debit card.
For hygiene reasons, the bakery chain only accepts contactless and card payments during the pandemic.
Megan Metcalfe, 60, was fired from Birds Bakery in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire for accepting cash from older customers who did not have a debit card
However, Ms. Metcalfe said that many of their older customers did not have a bank card.
Although she was aware it was against the bakery chain’s Covid-19 policy, she said she tried to do the right thing and kept the receipts from the transactions.
Ms Metcalfe has worked at Birds Bakery aged 44, of which 25 as manager.
To talk with Nottinghamshire LiveMs Metcalfe said, “I realize that what I was doing was against company policy, but they had picked up the stuff and were ready to buy it.
“I couldn’t possibly have an elderly man or woman walk away and tell them they couldn’t buy it because they didn’t have a card.
While it was against the bakery chain’s Covid-19 policy, Ms. Metcalfe says she made around £ 180 in cash payments and put it on her own debit card as a kind act to her older customers
“They had already handled the supply, so it had to be thrown away or cleaned.”
Ms. Metcalfe said she was suspended on June 19 and then fired for “gross negligence” after appearing at a disciplinary hearing.
The bakery chain said it was “with regret” that they had to let her go after 44 years of service.
“I was just trying to do the right thing. It really upsets me, of course, ”she said.
‘I worked at Birds for 44 years and 25 of them as a manager.
“I was told that I was endangering the lives of employees by doing what I did.
“At no time did money transfer hands. It was directly in my bag and then I put the payment on the card and showed them the receipt.
“I shouldn’t have, but I don’t like to abandon people and many of these customers depend on us and come to us every day.”
A petition calling on Birds Bakery to restore or compensate Ms. Metcalfe has already been signed by two people in two days.
People responding to the petition have expressed anger at the company’s decision.
A man, Dave Howard, signed the petition: “As a manager, you sometimes have to use common sense.
Megan will be remembered by the customers for her kindness and help.
“At no time were other employees endangered and waste was minimized by selling the goods rather than throwing them away.
“This makes Megan a good manager in my books.”
Birds Bakery said she fired Mrs. Metcalfe “with regret,” but that they take the safety of staff and customers very seriously and that they have very strict procedures during the pandemic.
What is legal tender? And can companies refuse your money?
Legal means of payment means that if you offer to pay off a debt to someone you are bidding on, they cannot sue you for not paying it back.
What is considered legal tender varies across the UK. In England and Wales, they are Royal Mint coins and Bank of England banknotes. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, they are only Royal Mint coins and not banknotes.
There are also some limitations when using small coins. For example, 1p and 2p coins only count as legal tender for any amount up to 20p.
Many common and secure payment methods such as checks, debit cards and contactless are not legal tender.
But retailers can choose which payment to accept – meaning if you want to pay for milk with a £ 50 bill, it’s completely legal to turn you down.
As the Bank of England says, “If your local corner shop decided to only accept payments in Pokémon cards, that would also be within their rights. But they would probably lose customers. ‘
Source: Bank of England
Another woman, Lara Yule, called for a boycott from Birds Bakery and said, “Absolutely despicable behavior !!
“Fired for being kind and considerate and doing just that little bit extra for frail older people!”
Lesley Bird, chief operating officer at Birds Bakery, said, “At Birds, we take the safety of our employees and customers very seriously – and we have very strict procedures in place during this pandemic.
“Many of our customers are elderly – often frail – and it is our responsibility to keep them and our employees safe.
“Like many eateries, we asked customers during this pandemic to use debit cards only because banknotes and coins are not clean – and this poses a risk to our employees who handle that money.
In the case of Megan Metcalfe, she took cash from customers and then made payments using her own card.
“This goes against our current health and safety policies regarding Covid-19 and also violates company regulations.
“It was with regret that we had to ask Megan to leave the company because of those two problems.”
This comes just days after a 94-year-old woman was sent away from another Birds Bakery store when she tried that Buy bread – because she didn’t have a bank card.
Edna Dalchin was stunned and embarrassed when the staff at Birds Bakery in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire told her to return her essentials because they didn’t want to accept paper money.
Mrs. Dalchin, from Basford, she said has never had a bank card and prefers to pay cash.
Birds Bakery is a family chain founded in Derby over 100 years ago and has over 60 outlets in the Midlands.