A bakery manager in Nottingham, UK, was fired after accepting cash from elderly customers, contrary to the company’s COVID-19 policy.
Megan Metcalfe, 60, was fired from the Birds bakery in Radcliffe-on-Trent, after accepting cash from elderly customers who didn’t have cards to pay, despite a company ban on cash payments due to COVID-19. Metcalfe, who has worked at the store for over 40 years, would accept the cash from her customers, and then put the charge through the till on her own card.
“I realise what I was doing was against company policy. But they had picked up the items and already gotten to the till ready to buy them,” Metcalfe told Nottinghamshire Live. “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. They had also already handled the stock so that would have to be binned or cleaned.”
Metcalfe said she processed near to £180 worth of cash payments from the elderly bakery customers on her card, and has receipts of all the transactions.
“I was just trying to do the right thing. I am really upset by it of course. I worked at Birds for 44 years and 25 of them as a manager,” Metcalfe continued.
“I was told I was endangering staff members’ lives by doing what I did. 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.”
Birds bakery said that they let Metcalfe go “with regret,” but that the cashless policy was put in place to protect both customers and staff from the spread of COVID-19.
However, there is no evidence that coronavirus can be spread through money. British media in March initially quoted that the WHO claimed this was the case, but a WHO spokesman completely denied this.
“WHO did NOT say banknotes would transmit COVID-19, nor have we issued any warnings or statements about this,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We were asked if we thought banknotes could transmit COVID-19 and we said you should wash your hands after handling money, especially if handling or eating food.”