MANILA – An elderly woman who was wrongly accused of being a shoplifter is seeking a public apology from supermarket chain Shopwise.
A cellphone video that has already gone viral on Facebook showed the woman, identified as Evelyn Sia, in tears as she was narrating her experience of allegedly being paraded by Shopwise Antipolo security guards as a shoplifter.
The incident took place on June 30, according to Cristine Monterosa, Customer Service Supervisor of Shopwise Antipolo.
Sia said she was about to leave the establishment with her items when she was blocked by a security guard after she failed to present her receipt to prove that she did not shoplift.
Sia explained to the guard that she will wait at the entrance for her mother, who apparently had the receipt. She said she explained to the guard that her mother left Shopwise ahead of her to go to a nearby market.
However, Sia said the guards did not accept her explanation and instead accused her of being a shoplifter in the presence of other Shopwise customers. She said she was brought to the establishment's security office.
After the Shopwise management learned of the misunderstanding, some of its representatives went to the home of the Sias to apologize.
Sia, however, said she still wants a public apology from the management.
Asked how she would like for the apology to be made, Sia, in a phone interview, said, ''Gawin ang public apology sa Shopwise din sa oras na maraming tao, sa PA system."
In a statement, Shopwise apologized over the inconvenience the incident may have caused to Sia.
''It is unfortunate that in the upkeep of a standard retail operating procedure of validating a purchase, one of our shoppers had to go through an unpleasant experience. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused,'' said Shopwise Vice President Kerwin Legarde.
''We, at Shopwise, value our customers more than anything, and are addressing the distress this incident may have caused our customer. Rest assured, Shopwise will continue to improve our staffing and service levels to prevent this from happening in the future."
Meanwhile, Shopwise's public relation's firm, Buensalido and Associates Public Relations, said the supermarket chain has agreed to issue a public apology to Sia.
''We would like to inform the public that the matter has been settled between the two parties. Shopwise takes matters such as this very seriously and has reviewed its procedures to ensure that this does not happen again. Upon the request of the customer, Shopwise has agreed to grant her a public apology on July 15,'' said Michelle del Rosario of Buensalido and Associates.
Meanwhile, in defense of the security guards, Facebook user Minikap Kunz said, ''Hindi niyo po alam what really happened.. I was at the scene ng mangyari yun. And the guard already gave a public apology pero ganyan pa din ang ginagawa nung matanda. Actually ginagawa lang ng guard yung trabaho niya.
''Iyung anak kasi niya is palabas na, and nung kukunin nung guard yung resibo di maibigay kasi nasa nanay daw. So as a standard procedure, inaaya sila sa office. Then ayan na nga nangyari, ginawa lang ng guard yung pinapagawa sa kanya."