Tesco shopper banned from buying a sandwich because he didn’t have the app

A Tesco shopper who popped into one of the supermarket’s stores to buy his son a sandwich was refused entry because he hadn’t downloaded an app.

Jonathan Rowson was told he could not enter the central London shop last Tuesday night unless he had downloaded the Tesco app and signed up for the Clubcard.

Jonathan, who was trying to buy his son a sandwich for his packed lunch, described the ordeal as “distressing” at the store in Holborn.

In a statement, Tesco said Jonathan had entered one of their ‘GetGo stores’, which allows customers to pick up the groceries they need and walk straight out again without visiting a checkout.

Taking to Twitter to vent his frustration, the dad said he had tried to sign up for a Clubcard but struggled.

Jonathan told an employee he “doesn’t want a Clubcard, he just wants a sandwich”.

He claimed the store worker replied: “This is store policy now and it’s what customers want. Soon all stores will be like this. People protest, but then they come back a few days later.”

The dad, who has tried to cancel his Clubcard since, vowed never to shop at Tesco again.

The author from London said on Twitter: “Never have I felt the pinch of surveillance society more acutely.

“My shock at the compulsory data cost for entry to a supermarket to buy a sandwich. What I felt at that store tonight was thoroughly dystopian. It was a taste of the future in the present, and I didn’t like it at all.”

Tesco replied on Twitter to explain that the GetGo store in Holborn is a trial store which opened in 2021.

A combination of cameras and weight-sensors establish what customers have picked up and charges them for products directly through the app when they leave the store, therefore requiring a sign up to the Clubcard and Tesco app.

A Tesco spokesperson told MyLondon that they have since explained to Jonathan the concept of a GetGo store and offered him help to cancel his Clubcard, adding: “Our customers that do use the GetGo store, enjoy the experience. There are many of our stores in the area that do not require the app to be downloaded or require a Clubcard to access it.”

The technology is not unique to Tesco and in fact Aldi and Amazon have similar concept stores in the capital.