At the Tesco Express on Dyke Road, toddlers, teachers, and the general public come and go as they please, but any students from BHASVIC, a nearby college, are stopped at the door and forced to join the queue.
The British may be known for their love of queues but this seems a little extreme. While on their 45-minute lunch break, students hope to grab some food and finish off the homework for their next class. Instead, they find themselves at the back of a queue which stretches all the way around the corner.
Why does this policy exist you might ask? The Store Manager of Tesco Express told us that, “Normal customers come in and buy a trolley load and so we have to let them go first.” He also claimed that ten students were allowed in at a time and that the policy was in place for health and safety reasons.
The queue itself demonstrates the patience of the students and the maturity in their willingness to comply with the policy. So, the question is, why are the students being targeted?
Why not have everyone queue during peak times?
Some students in the queue suggested that the “adults are more important” and so should be let in first. Many others didn’t even realise that adults were allowed in and thought that everyone was forced to join the queue outside the supermarket.
Once the students were made aware of the policy only applying to them and not to adults or kids, all but two agreed that it was “discrimination.” And this is not a misuse of the term. Under the Equality Act, “discrimination on the basis of age” is unlawful. Ageism is rife in today’s society and often people don’t realise they’ve been discriminated against.
This isn’t just the views of students. An EPQ teacher from BHASVIC College spoke to us about the issue. She believed that if the policy is in place for crowd control then members of the general public should be asked to queue as well. Otherwise, Tesco are treating students as “second class citizens” and they “have no right” to force students to queue.
Furthermore, the own clothes dress code at BHASVIC means that other young persons could fall victim to the policy or, alternatively, some students who look older could pass for adults and be allowed in.
The flaws in the system are evident and, with the questionable ethics behind the policy, would Tesco Express be better off ditching the queue?