Paige, 7, banned from buying Bounty bar with pennies
A SHOPKEEPER has defended his refusal to sell a 60p chocolate bar to a seven-year-old girl – because she tried to pay for it in 1p and 2p coins.
Robel Kifle said it was impractical for him to accept that much change from Paige Schaerer, who was left in tears after missing out on her sweet treat.
Paige, of Parsonage Street, Tunstall, had saved up the coppers herself for a trip to the town's Summerbank Stores, with her mum Debbie.
But Mr Kifle refused to accept her handfuls of change for a Bounty bar.
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He said: "I can't take only coppers because we have to bring in a mix of coins.
"I don't mind the children buying 1p sweets with their change but it is impossible to count out all that change when you are busy.
"If you have so much change you could take it to the supermarket and get it changed before you spend it.
"I think you will find a lot of smaller shops would not accept so much change."
Paige's mother Debbie, aged 40, was unimpressed by Mr Kifle's actions and is vowing to stop using his store from now on.
She said: "I am so angry that we were refused and I think it is shocking.
"It was heartbreaking to see her little face when the shopkeeper refused to take the money.
"And she was confused because she couldn't understand it."
The shop, in Summerbank Road, is only 30 seconds from their home and Debbie claims the family use it nearly every day.
She said: "We give them a lot of custom but I won't be going back in there after this.
"It is all money at the end of the day and I don't think it is right to refuse us the sale."
Paige had been collecting the pennies and 2p coins in a special money box for weeks and decided to dip into it for a treat when she went to the shop on Tuesday afternoon.
Telesales worker Debbie said: "You try to teach your kids the importance of savings and Paige was really excited to take the money out and spend it on sweets.
"But as soon as she got the coppers out to pay the man behind the counter pulled a face and refused to take them.
"It was the exact change so I don't see what his problem is."
The St Mary's Primary School pupil burst into tears when she arrived home.
Debbie said: "Paige couldn't understand what she had done wrong and it made me angry to see her so upset.
"We won't be using the shop again if that is the attitude."
But the law on payments with coins is firmly behind Mr Kifle.
The amended 1971 Coinage Act states that 'gold' coins – £1 and £2 coins – can be used to settle a bill of any amount.
However, those such as Paige who have have often found themselves on the wrong side of the rules when they try to pay with small change.
The law clearly states that you can settle a bill costing up to 20p with 1p or 2p coins; up to £5 in 5p or 10p coins, with £10 the limit for 20p and 50p coins.
Paige said: "I like to buy sweeties all the time with the pennies that I save.
"And I felt cross because I couldn't buy my Bounty."