Where is consumer protection
It is high time some retailers are put in the open for their injustice and lack of respect for consumer
I was quite alarmed when one of Zimbabwe’s top grocery retail shop, denied my wife her right as a
consumer to medical assistance and compensation after she was involved in an accident on their
premises, along a grocery isle while shopping.
On the afternoon of May 5, 2020, my wife and I visited Trade Centre Supermarket in Waterfalls
(Owned by Foodworld) to shop for groceries as we always do. We already had several items in our
grocery cart and was moving along the grocery isle when the forklift came reversing towards us.
We managed to communicated with driver and agreed for him to stop reversing so that we move out of
the way and he can continue. I gave my wife the trolley to back out of the way while I went past the
forklift to another shelf to get mealie meal.
Before my wife was completely out of the way, the forklift driver reversed and hit my wife on the leg, pinning her leg between the forklift and an object
against a wall or the trolley.
We reported the issue to the branch manager, who in turn gave her his business card and said
‘contact me if the pain gets worse’ This did not go down well with me so I went to the branch
manager’s office wanting to understand how he could send my wife away with an injury and in pain.
I told him my wife is injured in pain, in distress and needs a doctor but he said he needs to refer the
issue to the HQ as he can’t make any decisions. I told him since he wasn’t able to do anything, i was
going to take my wife to the doctors for assessment and trade centre would pay for all the expenses.
As a result of the accident my wife suffered painful right ankle, knee, hip and lower back. The doctor
in his report said there was swelling over the medial and lateral malleolus with tenderness, she also
had a slightly antalgic gait.
She is now taking painkillers to assist with the pain and occasionally her leg hurts and cramps up.
We wrote an email to the CEO of Foodworld detailing what had happened, what the doctor had said
and also the way forward on the issue but he never responded. The driver of the forklift was charged
and pleaded guilty to negligence.
He wasn’t even a designated forklift driver; he was a general hand.
He was under the supervision of Foodworld when he was operating the forklift without meeting
From the day the accident happened Foodworld never gave us guideline on how the
issue was to be handled, they were not transparent and forthcoming on proceedings. We did not
know the impact and severity of the issue and what to do next as they remained quiet for over a
week. We consulted Consumer Council of Zimbabwe and NSSA to enlighten ourselves and push
them to address the issue. We were startled at how ignorant Foodworld was on consumer rights.
According to Consumer Council of Zimbabwe there were supposed to take my wife to the hospital
immediately, report the issue to the police, report issue to NASSA and compensate my wife for all
the pain and distress she went through among other things.
Foodworld’s negligence was the direct cause on my wife’s injuries. Foodwolrd has a duty to provide
a safe environment for customers.
Protecting customers from harm includes not introducing hazardous heavy machinery operating in the same grocery aisles as customers without proper warning signage, closing off the grocery aisles being used by the heavy lifting machinery, designating
heavy machinery moving lanes, proper inspection of the machinery to ensure it meets regulation to
operate (NSSA regulation section 23 on lifting appliances) etc.
No proper measures or reasonable action was put in place to protect my wife from injury.
Up to date Foodworld has not sent an official apology and acknowledgment of the issue.
They refuse to compensate my wife. This type of injustice to us consumers only shows these retailers are only
after profits, even if their actions endangers the very safety of their consumers.