Boots bosses have apologised to a mum after a female shop assistant smacked her three-year-old daughter on the BOTTOM.
Angela Cropley, 38, watched in disbelief when a staff member whacked the toddler and told her off for knocking items off a shelf inside the store.
The mum-of-two had been talking to another member of staff when her daughter became restless and started to play with a store display.
As Angela bent down to pick the items up off the floor another woman smacked her daughter and told her she was “being naughty”.
The horrified mum, who was also with her eight-month-old son, stormed out the store but returned the next day to confront the staff member.
But Angela said she was stunned when she went to complain at the Market Hall branch in Spalding, Lincs., and was told by the manager: “It was only a tap.”
Angela said her daughter Lora froze in shock after being smacked by the Boots worker for breaking a bottle of Dettol disinfectant.
She said the toddler had been playing with the shop display on February 13 when the assistant – aged in her 50s and named Michelle – lashed out after the bottle fell from the shelf.
Angela added: “Lora was playing around but had a tantrum and knocked this bottle off the shelf.
“The next thing I know the woman who had helping us look for soya milk smacked her and told her she was a naughty girl.
“She just froze on the spot after she was slapped – it was hard enough to shunt her forward into the display.
“Lora was just being a typical three-year-old girl and it certainly wasn’t her place to discipline my child.
“I just walked out, I couldn’t believe what had happened. On the way home she said ‘Mummy, that woman smacked my bottom’
“And the more I thought about it the more I knew it wasn’t right.
“So I went back the next day and complained but I was just fobbed off.
“The manager said it was only a tap and he wouldn’t be taking any further action.
“I didn’t know what to do after that so I decided to go the police, but they said it couldn’t be classed as common assault because it didn’t leave a mark.
“The officer told me he would chase the matter up and see whether he could at least get the store to apologise to me.
“Then last week I had a letter through the post – it was signed by the store manager Philip Belcher (corr).
“It said sorry but the only explanation it gave was that the staff member’s actions was a gesture of empathy.
“I couldn’t believe it. I found it a bit insulting.
“It wasn’t on headed paper or anything like that, it looked like they just tried to bypass their bosses and deal with it internally without going through the proper procedures.
“I don’t want any compensation or anything like that – I just want an explanation as to why they think it is OK to go around laying your hands on other people’s children.”
“I had just found out my son was lactose intolerant and usually the staff are very helpful.
“I went to the pharmacy counter and spoke to a lady there.
“She seemed to know what she was talking about and managed to find what I needed as I had no clue.
“While we were talking, my daughter started to get fed up and was playing with things on the shelf and knocked a couple of items off.
“I went over to pick them up and while I was bent down, the woman smacked my daughter’s bum and told her she was naughty.
“I didn’t believe what I saw and just said that I would pay for anything that was broken and left.
“On the way home my daughter asked me why the lady smacked her. I told her that was wrong.
“When I got home I asked everyone what to do and they said I should go back and speak to the woman privately to find out why she felt she could smack my daughter.
“I told her I wanted to see her manager.
“After being left waiting for 20 minutes, the manager came over and spoke to me.
“I told him what happened and he said he would get back to me in a few days.
“Later he phoned saying the staff member said it was a tap not a smack and he wouldn’t be taking it any further.
“I said, ‘I don’t care what she called what she did, I never gave her permission to lay a hand on my daughter.’
“From the moment I met the manager, he treated me like I was after some financial reward, when all I wanted was an apology.”
Speaking from the store yesterday Mr Belcher said: “I have nothing more to add than what our head office has issued.”
A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Police confirmed the incident was reported to them on February 27 but could not comment further.
A spokesman for Boots said: “Our customers are of the utmost importance to us and we pride ourselves on providing great customer service.
“As soon as we found out about this incident, we conducted a thorough investigation and reported it through the correct procedures.
“We have reminded our colleagues of the high level of customer service that we have become well known for.
“We would like to apologise for any distress caused to Angela Cropley and her daughter.”