A former Wales rugby player who owns a butchers shop in Porthcawl had to suspend his home delivery service because of an “intolerable level of abuse” from customers.
Ryan Bevington, owner of Porthcawl Butchers on John Street, started a home delivery service for customers living in the town last week and had six members of staff working flat-out to drop off dozens of orders a day.
However, the father-of-two claims a “minority” were rude or even verbally abusive when they were told restrictions were in place in terms of how many products they could buy and how far staff can deliver.
Ryan, who played for Wales during the 2011 Six Nations Championship, said: “Our staff were out delivering between 30 and 50 orders a day and those taking orders had a few disgruntled customers who were being rude and disrespectful.
“Some were trying to bulk-buy and weren’t happy when we wouldn’t let them. Others were asking us to deliver further afield and weren’t very nice when we told them we couldn’t.
“In the end, we stopped the delivery service. My staff were out there doing all they could and they didn’t deserve to be treated like that.
“We believe everyone has to be fair and kind during these times and I want to make sure our supply is distributed fairly.”
On the Porthcawl Butchers Facebook page, Bevington, who set-up the business five years ago, said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that we will be putting our home delivery on pause for the moment.
“We have reached this decision due to our members of staff receiving an intolerable level of abuse from a select few customers over the past few days.
“We wanted to provide this service as a lifeline to our local community and for those who are unable to leave the house.
“Unfortunately, these unacceptable incidents have meant that we have had to put a hold on this service and put the safety and well being of our staff first.”
However, hundreds of customers posted supportive messages for Ryan and his colleagues and many explained how important the delivery service was for them.
And after reading the comments, Ryan had a change of heart,
“It was just a minority being abusive and all the supportive comments made me realise that we need to rise above it and carry on serving the community,” said Ryan.
“All the comments changed my mind and it was something the staff wanted to carry on doing.
“Hopefully, it will remind people to be patient and kind during this time. We’re doing all we can, we’re only a small team but we will help everyone we can.”
Ryan said that as well as keeping the delivery service for those who are vulnerable or can’t leave their homes, he’s made sure his shop is safe for customers.
This includes putting markers on the ground so shoppers keep a distance of two metres between each other and going completely cashless.
“We’ve had a lot more people coming into the shop and ordering food because they haven’t been able to get it from the supermarket,” Ryan added. “We’re just trying to do our bit to help.
“As a person who has lived in Porthcawl their whole life, it’s something I want to do to help the people in the town.”