A Pak'nSave shopper who alleges she was "humiliated" by an employee says it was a "slap in the face" to receive a $20 voucher rather than a formal apology.
Palmerston North resident Erin Carr said the incident occurred at her local Pak'nSave when she used the checkout on Wednesday afternoon.
"I went to pay for the groceries and [the checkout worker] just turned in and said to me, 'oh your kind'," Carr told Newshub.
"Her tone of voice changed - that's when she realised I was paying for it with my WINZ [Work and Income] card."
She said she was appalled to hear the comment and her immediate reaction was to gather her things and leave the store.
"I was humiliated and discriminated against for using a WINZ card to pay for the shopping because I'm on the benefit."
But Pak'nSave's head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird said there was a misunderstanding.
"The staff member recalls recognising the customer had a WINZ card which requires additional actions to process payment unlike a normal EFTPOS or credit card, and in recognition of the fact she needed to take action she believes she commented 'oh you have one of those cards'," Laird said.
"This was not intended as a negative comment, rather a recognition that she needed to take action and provide assistance to the customer to enable processing of the purchase."
Carr told Newshub after the incident she went home and called the store, who "instantly stuck out for the worker instead of saying sorry for what had happened".
She said they asked for her name and number so another member of staff could call her back. They rang her on Thursday to apologise and told her they'd send her something in the mail.
"I went to get my mail from the mailbox and all there was, was a $20 gift card with a note attached. No sorry, no written apology or nothing."
Carr said she expected a formal apology from the checkout worker.
"The store has basically just stuck up for one of their workers and think it's okay to discriminate against people that are on the benefit."
"I'm not being ungrateful, but to me, that's pretty much like a slap on my face."
Laird told Newshub the store's checkout supervisor had apologised over the phone and was "under the impression the situation had been dealt with satisfactorily in the mind of the customer".
"The supervisor then said she wanted to do something nice for the customer in recognition of the fact her experience wasn't great and decided to send her a complimentary gift card.
"Occasionally, comments and actions can be misinterpreted and it is our opinion that in this instance, this is what occurred. No offence was ever intended."