Supermarket hops on blunder bus

At a time when supermarkets are locked in a battle for supremacy a manager
at Sainsburys has made an amazing blunder after insulting its customers.

Lisa Collins, head of health and beauty at the group, has been forced to
apologise after branding the supermarket’s customers ‘pikeys’ during a

Collins was talking about Sainsburys expanding a new product range to its
stores in Hereford, Croydon and Cobham, "or, as we call them, our pikey
customers", she said.

Sainsburys apologised for the remark, which it claimed was ‘an off-the-cuff,
flippant remark’ meant as a joke, but conceded it was a serious error of

Fran Cotton, an adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development, said the incident "shows the importance of communications
training for managers, especially when they are dealing with external
shareholders and the media".

Top five gaffes

1. 1991: Entrepreneur Gerald Ratner described the jewellery
sold in his stores as ‘total crap’

2.  2003: Sainsbury’s
manager issues ‘Pikey’ jibe

3.  2002: Halifax claims
it doesn’t want business start-ups, market traders or taxi drivers as customers

4.  1998: Newcastle
United Football Club directors slated the fans for buying shirts in high volumes

5   2002: HSBC’s CEO Sir
Keith Whitson upsets UK call centre staff after praising the firm’s workers in

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