Bad Marketing: Sainsbury’s Hate Lesbians (though probably not)


Oh Sainsbury’s, we were getting on so well when we were chatting on Twitter the other week.

Earlier in the week at a Sainsbury’s store in Brighton a lesbian couple were asked to leave after another customer complained about them kissing. The store security guard told them that another customer found them ‘disgusting’ and said they would have to leave if ‘they continued to show affection.’

I’m not sure how this then got in to the press, but the event was followed by a ‘kiss in’ at the offending Sainsbury’s by other same sex couples.

The resultant PR was obviously negative, with the assumption that Sainsbury’s has a homophobic attitude.

How should Sainsbury’s have handled this?

Well, in the first instance it was ridiculous that a lesbian couple be asked to leave solely for kissing. I am making the assumption that they were not erotically cavorting among the frozen peas, if they were, I apologise for this post.

The Sainsbury’s employee should have respectfully asked the complainant to leave if they were unhappy with seeing a same sex couple behaving in the same way a heterosexual couple may behave.

The person complaining was unlikely to then go to the media with the story that they made a homophobic complaint in Sainsbury’s and were then asked to leave. Even if they did, Sainsbury’s would still have made the correct decision.

How should Sainsbury’s handle this now?

There really isn’t much else Sainsbury’s can do other than make a full public apology to the affected customers and offer them some sort of compensation for the offense and embarrassment caused. They should also circulate their equality / anti-discrimination policy and maybe offer some internal sensitivity training.

I don’t believe that Sainsbury’s are homophobic at all. It just happens that one of their employees, who’s personal attitude should not be reflected in the way they carry out their job, made a poor decision based on Sainsbury’s unfortunately having one homophobic customer. That customer should be very ashamed of themselves.

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