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Welsh Woman Told She Can't Buy Period Pads At Tesco As They're 'Not Essential'

Welsh Woman Told She Can't Buy Period Pads At Tesco As They're 'Not Essential'

A Tesco supermarket in Wales stopped shoppers from purchasing sanitary towels during their coronavirus lockdown, as they deemed they weren't "essential" items.

Wales is currently under lockdown restrictions, and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford had instructed that supermarkets cannot sell "non-essential" items for two weeks from last Friday, to stop people spending too much time in shops.

But the supermarket chain came under fire for recently telling a female shopper that sanitary towels were not essential. They have since deleted their tweet and retracted their comment.

In an exchange with an unhappy shopper on Twitter, Tesco said it had been "told by the Welsh Government not to sell these items" during the firebreak lockdown.

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A mum was told she couldn't buy sanitary products for her daughter (Credit: Triangle News)
A mum was told she couldn't buy sanitary products for her daughter (Credit: Triangle News)

However the government hit back at the supermarket, saying they can indeed be sold and confirming that they are "essential".

The clarification was made after shopper Nichola-Louise Smith found the sanitary towel section closed off when visiting a Tesco store in St Mellons, Cardiff, today.

She had been going to pick up products for her daughter Katie, and was left shocked that the supermarket considered tampons "non-essential".

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Katie said: "My mum originally went in the store to pick me up sanitary products as I needed them urgently.

Katie's mum was furious at Tesco's claim (Credit: Triangle News)
Katie's mum was furious at Tesco's claim (Credit: Triangle News)

"My mum just wanted to cry as they are very essential and didn't know what to do.

"She asked a member of staff and she said the Government guidelines do not allow them to sell them."

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Nichola-Louise posted the shocking photos on Twitter.

She wrote: "I'm literally raging and in tears. Tesco how the hell is beer essential and period products are non essential.

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"Welsh Government, this is ridiculous."

Tesco admitted their reply was 'in error' (Credit: Tesco)
Tesco admitted their reply was 'in error' (Credit: Tesco)
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Katie went on to tweet the supermarket saying: "Tesco 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."

The supermarket responded: "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."The Welsh government issued a correction (Credit: Triangle News) The Welsh government issued a correction (Credit: Triangle News)

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After realising the error, the tweet was later deleted.

The Welsh Government quickly stepped in and informed the supermarket that sanitary products were very much allowed.

It said: "This is wrong - period products are essential. Supermarkets can still sell items that can be sold in pharmacies," it said.

"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."

Issuing an apology, a Tesco spokesperson said: "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."

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Life News, Coronavirus

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Joanna Freedman

Joanna is a journalist at Tyla with a particular interest in highlighting women's issues and telling inspiring first person stories. She's also their resident foodie, and loves covering exciting new beauty launches, too. Contact her at [email protected]