Pick n Pay reaches out to Cape Town pensioner after heartbreaking video goes viral

By Riana Howa Time of article published Mar 18, 2020

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Cape Town - Pick n Pay says they have reached out to Walied Josephs after a heartbreaking video of the Cape Town pensioner went viral on Wednesday.

The video caused an outcry on social media over the treatment of pensioners as well as panic-buying in South Africa during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Josephs was in a Pick n Pay store early on Wednesday morning to take advantage of the special hour from 7-8 am which the retailer has dedicated to  elderly customers to shop for their groceries and essentials.

But a tearful Josephs told Courtney Africa from the African News Agency that he approached the manager of the store, identified only as Johan, to tell him that there was no toilet paper on the shelves.

"So I asked him I thought that you would make a special effort for our pensioners that we'll be here at 7 this morning. and he told me 'Unfortunately you must understand, I didn't invite you to come and do your shopping here.'

"It is very emotional, it is an emotional story because getting up at that time of the morning to buy the necessary, and the answer he gave me is just not acceptable," Josephs said. 

"I told him I do understand ... but you're out of stock since last night, why not make a special effort and get us something for the pensioners for this morning. We had to get up early early early this morning to be here. Through the morning traffic and all that. and you know what I'm not the only one."

John Bradshaw, retail executive: Marketing at Pick n Pay responded later on Wednesday morning saying they had made contact with Josephs.

"Today was the first time we opened our stores early exclusively for our elderly customers and the response was very positive across the country. Obviously, we were really upset to see this video. A few stores experienced some stock shortages yesterday with toilet paper, and unfortunately couldn’t get some into this store in time for the 7am opening – our first day opening early for pensioners. 

"We are happy to report that the store has since received some and we have made contact with Mr Josephs. We had a very good conversation and he’ll be back again at Pick n Pay soon!" said Bradshaw.

In a Covid-19 media briefing on Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans "to refrain from making excessive purchases".

"It is important to understand that the supply of goods remains continuous, supply chains remain intact, and there is no need for stockpiling of any items," Ramaphosa said.

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