High street giant Wilko is facing an angry shopper boycott over new rules that will allow pet owners to bring their animals in stores.
Wilko announced on Tuesday that around two thirds of its stores will allow shoppers to bring their dogs and cats inside with them – whatever their breed.
The brand expects most of the pet customers will be either dogs or cats, and these four-legged shoppers are likely to find many products in store that get their tails wagging. Wilko stocks everything from pet food to treats, bedding to toys, cleaning supplies to healthy pet essentials and even presents, costumes and accessories during key seasonal celebrations such as Christmas.
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However, the new rules haven’t gone down with everyone, and some shoppers are now vowing not to shop there if they go ahead as planned.
One disappointed Wilko customer even said she would be boycotting the business as a result, while Wilko responded by saying “many customers think of pets as family members”, says the Daily Record.
The disgruntled customer wrote: “This is no good for my child that has anaphylaxis reactions to animal dander and saliva.
“Service dogs have their place in stores and we can avoid them and monitor, they are well behaved etc.. pets do not belong in stores and raises the risk for my son to come in contact with areas that have been contaminated!
“We won’t be shopping in your all dogs welcome stores!”
Another fan of the shop, Charl Naylor, said: “I like dogs, but don’t particularly want them around me in a shop. Lots of people are afraid of dogs, and being in a confined space with them isn’t going to be a pleasant experience.
“Plus, I’d be afraid of stepping on paws if the dogs gets unwantingly too close (sic)…”
Natalie Mitchell said: “One shop I will now not be shopping in to keep myself and my assistance dog safe!!
“Wilko you should do better and no better shame on you! I have already had an incident in one of your stores with a pet dog trying to attack my assistance dog!! And that was before you did this stupid rule.”
Samantha Ralfe also said the idea isn’t good for guide dogs, adding: “As a Guide Dog user I think this is a rather ill-thought-through idea.
“It’s hard enough navigating around the shop, to begin with then adding extra distractions of other animals it could end in disaster.
“Unfortunately not every animal owner can be bothered to train their dogs correctly what will happen if any assistance dog is attacked in store will Wilkos Footing the vets bills.”
However many shoppers welcomed the idea.
Dianer Thomas said: “It’s a lovely idea. Looking forward to seeing people’s dogs in store.”
Jo Harris said: “Great news. Thank you for being so forward thinking. It’s a nightmare trying to shop for beds, coats etc when you can’t take the dog to the store to check on sizing.”
And Natalie Druce added: “My dog is my family I hate not going with out her she like my support dog.”
Responding to Natalie Wilko said on it’s Facebook page: “A huge number of our customers think of their pet as a member of their family, which is why we think it’s important to welcome them in store wherever possible.”
Signage at store entrances will make it clear if pets are welcome, although customers can also check with the store team if they are at all unsure. Service dogs on the other hand remain welcome at all stores nationwide.