Britain's main supermarkets have announced that they are removing parent-and-child parking bays from their car parks.
The removal of the bays, scheduled to start at midday today, has been triggered by a recent spike in 'car-park-located customer incidents' over who should and who shouldn't be parking in the specially designated extra-wide parent-and-child bays.
The shock move comes only a week after Asda apologised for fining a heavily pregnant woman £70 for parking in one of their parent-and-child spaces, even though she didn't have a child with her.
The supermarkets say their employees are now spending so much patrolling the parent-and-child spaces, issuing fines for misuse, and dealing with disputes between customers about who has the most right to use the spaces, that there's a 'severe knock-on our ability to keep adequate numbers of staff manning the tills and stacking the shelves'.
'It is with regret that parent-and-child parking is being withdrawn,' says Pril Foola, a spokesperson for SLAMWT, the supermarket-parking alliance body representing Sainsbury's, Lidl, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Tesco.
'But we simply don't have the the resources – or the mediation skills – to properly police the system. I mean, how can you judge who needs a disputed bay more: a new mother with a baby in a car seat or a mum with 2 lively toddlers? Our staff are trained to deal with aisle spillages and wonky trolleys, not car-park-space rage.'
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