A supermarket shopper says she was left “shocked and disgusted” after witnessing a worker appear to clean baskets with his own spit.
Marta Casimiro says she noticed the baskets were very dirty when she entered the store and began filming to the show the manager they were not being cleaned properly – but ended up catching an “unacceptable” act on film instead.
In the video, captured at FreshCo in Toronto last weekend, Marta says she was filming an employee wiping down the baskets with a small towel before watching him “spitting on the towel” he was using to clean.
The customer says she later saw the man using the same towel to clean shopping trolleys.
“I couldn’t believe that,” she told CityNews. “I was in shock. I feel sick.”
Marta was unable to speak to a manager on the day and phoned back the following morning, but said the member of staff she spoke to didn’t want to see the video and “treated us very badly”.
She then escalated the complaint and a few days later her husband received a call to say the cleaner had been suspended.
But the shopper says her concerns were not taken seriously enough considering the dangers it could pose during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We cannot allow such things to be overlooked,” she said. “I’m furious and very disappointed.
“We are living in a pandemic, how do you think we feel?”
Sobeys, the parent company of FreshCo, responded to the CityNews video to say the cleaner was not an employee of FreshCo but worked for a third-party service provider and now no longer works at the store.
Jacquelin Weatherbee, vice president of communications and corporate affairs, labelled the behaviour “absolutely reprehensible”.
In a statement she said: “[It is] completely against the standards we work so hard to achieve in our stores each day.
“The health and safety of our customers and teammates is our top priority – that has never been more true than right now, through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
She said that a full internal investigation is being launched.
Marta added she simply wants to feel safe when she visits supermarkets and hopes “justice will be done”.
She has since been contacted by a FreshCo manager to offer a full apology and gift card.