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Thursday 16th July 2020

Shop refused to serve homeless man "because he smelt too bad"

The clothing store also said the man would "contaminate the stock with lice"

A store has come under fire after being accused of refusing to serve a homeless man 'because he smelt too bad'.

Molly Robinson, a shopworker from Childwall, hit out at the shop Soho's when she posted on Facebook about how the store had treated the man.

In her post, she explains how she gave the rough sleeper a voucher to buy new shoes there.

But according to Liverpool Echo, the shop assistant asked the man to leave "because he smelt too bad".

Harsh!

She wrote: "Yesterday I met a lovely homeless guy called Paul and his dog Jake-o on Bold Street, I noticed he looked cold, so I offered him my store credit note to get something warm.

“Paul was so grateful for this, but explained that his shoes were broken with holes in, so I walked with him to the shop.

“While stood outside I was told by a member of staff I would be okay to go inside with the dog; I assume they thought he was mine.

“I explained that he wasn’t mine and that I was minding him for Paul, when I noticed Paul walking back out of the shop looking disappointed. He told me that the man working in the store had told him he was in the wrong shop.

“I went back in to the store and explained that it was my credit note and I had given it to Paul to buy himself something but the man explained that Paul couldn’t come in because he ‘smelt too bad’ and him being in there ‘made the shop look bad’.

“I was shocked and really upset by this because this poor man was being treated more like an animal than his dog was. I defended Paul and the store worker insisted he couldn’t be around the clothes because he probably had ‘lice’.”

The post has been shared over 200 times and so Soho's responded with their own post, which attracted more fury as they claimed the man might contaminate the stock with lice.

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They also suggested Molly was only sharing the incident with the public to "validate her own act of compassion."

The message read: "We are well aware of the problem of homelessness and drug issues on Bold Street as we are there every day.

“What you may be unaware of is the abuse and threatening behaviour we have had ...

“Is this review actually about helping Paul or just to validate your own act of compassion?

“If lice contaminate the clothing the stock will have to be incinerated which as an independent shop could easily put us out of business.

If the lice contaminate the clothing the stock will have to be incinerated.

“Many of our members of staff are part of charitable organisations or give random acts of kindness that you don’t need to shout about on social media.”

The shop's official page deleted the post and replaced it with a further statement, claiming the shoes were refused because they were sold by another business housed within the same building.

A member of Soho wrote: "Our staff were polite and courteous to Paul on entering the store. He had with him a credit note valid within our store and when he asked about a pair of trainers in our shop window we informed him that they were a product sold by a resident business separate from us and therefore the credit note couldn’t be used to purchase them.

“The homeless are a valued and often overlooked part of our community and we try our best to help where we can.

“I would like to apologise firstly if our immediate response insulted or offended anyone and especially you Molly.

“It was typed in a regrettably confrontational tone and was due to initial anger at the misunderstanding that seems to have happened."

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Molly later told ECHO: "I was just as excited as he was and it was really heartbreaking to hear someone have such a negative and cruel outlook on the situation.

“I was worried that posting it would make people think I wanted the attention for what I did but my sisters persuaded me to because they were so shocked by the story.

“The post was nothing to do with me - it just really shocked me that people can be treated so badly but their response was just outright cruel because it made me feel so bad about posting it.”