Friday and Saturday night on Bridge Street yes, but lunchtime Friday afternoon in TK Maxx at the bottom end of North Street?
Shoppers do not expect to be out lunchtime shopping in Guildford and find they’re scattered like ninepins by staff engaged in a brawl, but that was the frightening experience for lunchtime shoppers in the Guildford branch of TK Maxx last Friday afternoon.
A lot of shouting and swearing. Yobs running riot, a heavy handed security response to a UK Uncut protest at unpaid taxes, a shoplifter being pursued by staff?
No, this was at least two members of staff chasing a third member of staff through the store.
It kicked off on the top floor, then running down the escalator, shoppers scattered like ninepins. One member of staff was seen wielding a display table or racking in a threatening manner.
It quietened down as quickly as it had started, leaving shoppers standing by shocked and appalled.
Comments from shoppers were that it was highly unprofessional behaviour, that shoppers had been put in danger, that those involved should be fired on the spot.
One of those involved was seen to speak to a staff member, possibly a supervisor or manager, that he was going home, and that if he saw another member of staff who was involved he would ‘fucking kill him’. He then walked out of the shop.
When Melanie Hall of the Surrey Advertiser contacted TK Maxx they blatantly lied and said no such incident had taken place. A somewhat foolish thing to do as there was a large number of witnesses to what happened, the store was after all full of Friday lunchtime shoppers, it had already appeared on twitter and the store CCTV would have recorded the incident. Head office was to later confirm that the matter was under investigation and thanked a member of the public for bringing it to their attention.
We can confirm that there was a disagreement between two of our associates in our Guildford store on Friday afternoon.
We would like all our customers to have an enjoyable shopping experience with us, and we offer our sincere apologies to those customers who may have witnessed this.
We are currently in the process of investigating the incident and will take appropriate action where it is necessary.
What happened was completely unacceptable behaviour, as was the attempted denial and cover up. Those who participated should be fired, as should those involved in the denial and attempted cover up. If the store manager did not act immediately to suspend all those involved in the brawl, then the store manager too should be suspended.
At the very least those involved should have been suspended and escorted out of the store by store security. Had this been members of the public, the police would have been called, charges brought for a public affray and those involved barred from the store.
The public cannot feel safe in TK Maxx when this behaviour is tolerated by their own staff.