Bakery Fires Manager over Cash Handling for Elderly Customers

Bread on showcase in supermarket, close-up view
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A bakery has defended its decision to fire a branch manager after she was caught taking cash and paying for goods for elderly customers with her own bank card.

Megan Metcalfe, who worked at Birds Bakery in Radcliffe-on-Trent, had accepted around £180 in cash, which she personally took and then used her card to pay for the customers’ baked goods.

Birds had enforced a strict no-cash policy due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Mrs Metcalfe was worried her elderly customers without cards would suffer.

When head office heard about the transactions, Mrs Metcalfe was suspended in June and after a disciplinary hearing, was let go.

The 60-year-old told NottinghamshireLive on Thursday: “I was just trying to do the right thing. I am really upset by it, of course.”

Mrs Metcalfe had worked for Birds for 44 years, 25 of those years as a manager. She said she was told that her actions endangered the lives of staff members.

She denied this, saying: “At no point did money transfer hands. It was straight into my purse, and then I put the payment through on card and showed them the receipt.”

“There’s no way I could let an elderly man or woman walk away telling them they could not buy it because they didn’t have a card,” Metcalfe said.

The local news outlet reported on Saturday that Birds stood by its decision, and will not be reinstating the employee.

The East Midlands bakery chain had come under fire before when media reported last week that 94-year-old Edna Dalchin from Nottingham was denied the purchase of a loaf of bread and potted meat because she did not have a bank card.

The branch manager had said of the incident: “One of the arrangements is we could open if it is card only and because cash is dirty.

“With the coronavirus and pandemic, they want to minimise the risk to ourselves and customers.”

Other outlets including major supermarkets continue to accept cash.

A Greggs customer in Hull last week was reportedly refused service because he wanted to pay for his sandwich with cash.

The customer said, according to the Hull Daily Mail on HullLive, that when he got to the counter, the employee said money “is dirty, so we only accept cards”. A Greggs spokesman later said that while it is encouraged to pay by card, the bakery chain is still accepting cash.

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