Liam and Michelle Friday strolled to their nearby Tesco store in Chatham, Kent, last month as temperatures soared past 30C.
But as they walked into the store — with Liam, 48, wearing just shorts and trainers and wife Michelle wearing a bikini top and black mini skirt — they were told they weren’t allowed in unless Liam put a top on.
The couple had just enjoyed a barbecue at their home, a one-minute walk from the Tesco Express store, and were stocking up on supplies.
But when they reached the store they were denied entry by a security guard because tattooed Liam was topless, he said. Speaking this week, carpet fitter Liam said it was “sexist”. “It was 30 degrees, it was a scorching hot day, it was ridiculous,” he said.
“It’s a supermarket, not a restaurant or a bar. That I would completely understand. My wife literally had a small bikini top on … it’s 2019 not 1960.”
Michelle, who is in her 40s, was allowed to go inside despite wearing a swimwear top. But Liam is now calling on the high-street giant to change its policy.
“I went in there earlier the same day without a shirt on and it was no problem,” he told the Medway Messenger newspaper.
“But when the security guard was there I wasn’t allowed in. I don’t understand, it doesn’t offend anyone. He was quite happy to let her (Michelle) in — it’s sexist. The thing for me is we’re supposed to have equal rights, but it feels like men are being treated worse than women here.”
He added, “I thought, ‘I’m not going to spend my money in here if they aren’t letting me in’. So we went to the Premier shop down the road and it was no problem.”
A Tesco spokesman said the dress code — and whether it allowed men in without tops on — was “down to individual stores” to decide.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission