The spit has well and truly hit the fan in Canada, where a supermarket cleaner was filmed using a spit-and-polish technique to clean shopping baskets used by customers.
Spit-and-polish is highly regarded in military circles when it comes to shining boots, buckles and buttons. But a dab or two of human spit in a store selling food to the public is beyond the pale – particularly at a time when the world continues to be held hostage by a highly contagious and deadly virus.
Customer wanting to film dirty baskets got a whole lot more
The drama began last week in the city of Toronto, when a customer at a FreshCo outlet decided to film the baskets and show them to store management as she felt they were dirty.
But when Marta Casimiro headed towards the baskets with her mobile phone camera at the ready, she got more than she bargained for when she saw a cleaner spitting into a cloth and then using it to wipe down the baskets.
She was able to video the cleaner doing this several times and then, she says, using the same cloth to wipe down trolleys elsewhere in the store.
Store management initially showed little interest in complaint
Casimiro told the City News current affairs programme that she tried to report the incident but was told there was no manager available.
So she called back the following morning, but alleges that the manager of the franchise showed little interest in her complaint, or in seeing the video.
She then took the matter to a higher level and a few days later her husband received a call saying the cleaner had been suspended.
Customer says she is ‘furious’ and ‘disappointed’
But Casimiro feels her concerns were not taken seriously enough or acted upon urgently, given the seriousness of the issue in the current pandemic.
“We cannot allow such things to be overlooked. I’m furious and very disappointed,” she told City News. “We are living in a pandemic…how do you think we feel?
Sobeys, which owns FreshCo, then issued a statement saying the cleaner was not an employee of FreshCo but worked for a third-party service provider.
‘Absolutely reprehensible’ says the company in a statement
“[It is] completely against the standards we work so hard to achieve in our stores each day,” Sobey’s said in a statement. “The health and safety of our customers and teammates is our top priority – that has never been more true than right now, through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
She said the video was “absolutely reprehensible” and stressed that the matter was being taken seriously and an internal investigation has been launched.