Period products ‘non-essential’: Retail company apologises to Welsh woman after refusing sale

“This is wrong — period products are essential,” the official handle of the Welsh government tweeted

The pandemic year, as 2020 is being called, has forced countries around the world to implement different strategies to keep their citizens safe. Wales, a country in the United Kingdom, for instance, is believed to have recently put in place a 17-day firebreak lockdown to combat the rising number of coronavirus infections in the country.

As is the case with lockdowns — like it happened here in India as well — people are only allowed to step out to buy essential commodities and avail services that are considered and listed as such.

In a now-deleted tweet, however, a Welsh woman was told by Tesco, a popular retail company that sanitary products, being ‘non-essential’ items, will not be sold, as part of Wales government’s rules, The Independent reports. This naturally led to a social media furore, when the woman took to Twitter to express her anger.

“Can you explain why I was told today that I can’t buy PERIOD PADS as I’m sure they are essential to women?!!! But I can buy alcohol, it doesn’t make sense,” she tweeted.

The outlet reports that a spokesperson for Tesco named Raza replied from the company’s main account, saying: “We understand how frustrating these changes will be for our Welsh customers. However, we have been told by the Welsh government not to sell these items for the duration of the firebreak lockdown. Regards, Raza.”

The tweet was then deleted. But the official Twitter handle of the Welsh government spoke up on the fiasco. “This is wrong — period products are essential. Supermarkets can still sell items that can be sold in pharmacies. Only selling essential items during firebreak is to discourage spending more time than necessary in shops. It should not stop you accessing items that you need,” the tweet read.

In fact, Tesco also confirmed that its tweet — stating that sanitary products were non-essential items — was sent in error and that the area selling sanitary items in this particular branch of Tesco was “cornered off due to a break-in”.

Its spokesperson told The Independent: “Sanitary products are essential items and are available to customers in all of our stores in Wales. Due to a break-in, this area was closed temporarily in one store for a police investigation but is now open again. The reply to this customer, which implied these products were non-essential, was sent by mistake and we’re very sorry for any confusion caused.”


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