AN ALDI customer claims a fellow shopper deliberately coughed in his face in a row over social distancing at a checkout queue.
Paul Sexton was packing his shopping at a store in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, when the alleged row broke out last Wednesday.
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The 48-year-old said the woman approached his till to speak to the cashier, leaning past him and flouting coronavirus social distancing advice.
Paul says he repeatedly asked her to move back to give him some personal space before she lunged towards him and coughed in his face.
Furious that she could have exposed him during the coronavirus pandemic, Paul branded the woman a 'vile pig' as he shamed her on social media for her actions.
Although a manager was apologetic, Paul claims the woman went on to stick up her middle finger to him through the shop window.
Project manager Paul, of Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, said: “I don’t usually shop in ALDI but I picked up a couple of small things as it’s a bit more local.
“The cashier was running my things through the scanner and I’m bagging them up.
“This woman came and leant on the space directly in front of the cashier and tried speaking to him.
“I explained to her that I was being served and said ‘give me a bit of space – there’s no need to be this close’.
“It wasn’t a tit for tat verbal argument – she was just ignoring me and carried on talking to the guy.
“I then said ‘no, you need to step back because you’re encroaching on my space and you’re right in front of the guy who’s trying to serve.’
“Then I got more firm with her and said ‘look, stay the f**ck away’.
“She lunged herself towards me – and coughed in my face.
“Afterwards [the cashier] said ‘why on earth did you just cough in his face’."
Paul was ‘shocked’ and questioned why on earth the woman thought that ‘would be ok or a justifiable thing to do’ – particularly during a pandemic.
He said: “That woman should now be banned from shopping in that store ever again because that is a vile thing to do.”
The confrontation comes amid growing tensions over social distancing rules and supermarkets swamped by panic buyers.
Earlier this week, three teenagers were arrested after allegedly coughing in the faces of an elderly couple in Hertfordshire.
Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has said criminals who deliberately cough at police officers while claiming to have coronavirus could face up to two years in jail.
Some supermarkets have introduced perspex screens at checkouts and special social distancing measures in queues to allow customers to shop safely during the pandemic.
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An Aldi spokesperson said: “The overwhelming majority of our customers have been very patient and understanding as we do our best to serve them at this time.
"However, we will not tolerate any threatening or violent behaviour.
"Anyone who is aggressive in any way to our colleagues will be asked to leave immediately.”
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