Greggs shop employee ‘compared Welsh to Tourette’s’

Greggs in Lampeter

A Greggs shop has been asked to respond after a customer accused a staff member of comparing the Welsh language to Tourette syndrome.

Sioned Howell, 18, claims that after attempting to place an order in Welsh the staff member responded by saying: “That was Welsh? Sounded more like you had tourettes to me.”

The Greggs shop in Lampeter refused the opportunity to respond to a request for comment by Golwg360, but the shop’s manager said that she would speak to every member of staff about the issue.

Two months earlier, a Welsh-speaking mother, Elin Jones, was told to stop speaking “foreign muck” to her one-year-old daughter in the same town.

Lampeter is in Ceredigion, where 47.35% of the population speak Welsh. 36.5% of the town’s population speak Welsh, and 57.8% in the surrounding area.

Tourette’s is a disorder sometimes characterised by vocal tics, but is often portrayed in popular culture as involuntary swearing.

Articles via Email

Get instant updates to your inbox

We do not moderate comments before they appear. The views expressed in the comments are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nation. Cymru. Please read our community standards and participation guidelines before contributing.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Edeyrn
Guest
Edeyrn

“Lampeter is in Ceredigion, where 47.35% of the population speak Welsh.” ——- What!? Llambed is under 50% Welsh speaking? Iesu mawr…no wonder the imperialists are gaining confidence

JD
Guest
JD

Lampeter has close to 1000 students and staff from around the world.

G Davies
Guest
G Davies

Are we really so insecure about our culture so as to worry about the pathetic comment of a Gregg’s employee?

Edeyrn
Guest
Edeyrn

fair point….I was more worried by the percent speaking Welsh in the town….which is pretty remote in West Wales

Gareth Tuen
Guest
Gareth Tuen

Can both not bother us? Also, yes we are that insecure, partly because we had to fight to have sign posts in Welsh, ffs!
It’s not a conspiracy if they are actually out to get us!

Gwyn
Guest
Gwyn

I disagree with that comment entirely. This sort of behaviour needs to be rooted out and labelled as racist, and the best way to do that is to name and shame. The more things like this that are made a fuss of, the more that companies like Greggs will begin to include Welsh language awareness into their training programs, to avoid embarrassment to their company, which will only increase tolerance towards our language. It appears that this is the approach that Greggs are taking. We’ve tried the “we’re Welsh, we know how to take a joke” thing for too long… Read more »

Graham John Hathaway
Guest

I think it’s called the worm has turned. We must speak up when attacked.

Muddy Valley
Guest
Muddy Valley

I am still not entirely sure of the context in which this appalling remark was made. Was it implying that Cymraeg sounds like some one talking who has a neurological phonic ‘tic’ or ‘tics’, i.e. that Cymraeg sounds, to the shop assistant, in some way inappropriate and worthy of comment. Or that the customer’s use of the language sounded in some way inappropriate. It is unlikely that we will ever know the full facts though I did notice that Gregg’s were advertising 2 job vacancies last week. Is it appropriate to assume that the shop assistant’s ill considered remarks were… Read more »

Richard Morse
Guest

Until the Welsh government extends the rights of Welsh speakers to the private sector then these stories will continue.

Angharad
Guest

I used to sometimes go into Y Popty in Lampeter, where I had no problem speaking Welsh with the staff. I haven’t had cause to go to Lampeter for a while, but I noticed recently that Y Popty was closing down, presumably because Greggs arrived. Really sad; locally owned businesses being forced out by chains with no interest in Welsh language or culture.

If we really care about our language and culture, we should be supporting local businesses wherever possible, and not big chains from outside Wales.

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

Clyw clyw. Put your money where you mouth is. Money is king, so use it.

Gareth Tuen
Guest
Gareth Tuen

Oedd hi yn. Wedodd hi. Ond dyw hi heb bod i llambed am sbel, fel wedodd hi… chill out bro x

Keith Evans
Guest
Keith Evans

So many immigrants into Wales bring a positivity and embrace our culture and history.Sadly they are a minority, I wonder if with a population 25% born out with our borders the battle if not lost is past a tipping point.

JD
Guest
JD

Estonia has 1.5m people and 30pc of their population is Russian

Latvia is 2m people and the Russian minority is closer to 40pc

Wales has a huge student population and Ceredigion in particular has a very transient population.

With a border so porous, I think we’re doing pretty well.

Wil
Guest
Wil

I have not long returned from Estonia. Estonian is universal. Older people have Russian as a second language, younger people English. The notion of someone being abused in a shop for speaking Estonian is laughable.

JD
Guest
JD

Lampeter, Aberystwyth and Bangor would be absolutely nothing without the universities.

Gareth Tuen
Guest
Gareth Tuen

Aber wouldn’t be ‘absolutely’ nothing. But [among other things] it would mean that I wouldn’t have grown up in such a cosmopolitan area, which I thank my lucky stars for!
Aber owes so much to its University! We love it.

JD
Guest
JD

Basque country has 28% of people born outside its borders.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest

Until such times that all retail and businesses are more than just obliged to the spirit of spoken Cymraeg, tenuous at best, but actively pursue plans to respond fully to requests in Welsh, there seems little redress. Other then to shop elsewhere. What is the local Council’s remit and more to the point what legislation should be considered by our Welsh government to ensure such ridicule and flagrant abuse of a national language is at least reportable and preferably penalised. It might be, given the close proximity to the area where the Welsh Not was inflicted on children who spoke… Read more »

Geoff Horton-Jones
Guest
Geoff Horton-Jones

In Tenby Laugharne bakery closed soon after Greggs opened up in Tudor Square.

David Good
Guest
David Good

Stand your ground.

Anon
Guest
Anon

Utter tripe!! Nation Cymru should be ashamed of themselves for posted unproven accusations! I’m waiting eagerly for their next hard hitting exposé about UFOs or the like. Quality journalism! Hahaha…

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

The main reason I don’t patronise Greggs in Lampeter and elsewhere is the poor unappetising standard of food. Sadly, Y Popty as mentioned above wasn’t that much better if at all as I recall. However the author has given me a further reason not to buy from Greggs. Similarly Peters Pies.

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

Boycott!
I am English, but this is disgusting. There is NO excuse for such behaviour.
I expect they will be sacked and Greggs wash their hands of it.

Chris
Guest
Chris

If it’s true.

Gareth Tuen
Guest
Gareth Tuen

MORE RADICAL ENGLISHES PLEASE!!! GO LIZZIE! (I hope you don’t mind being addressed as lizzie! x) and thank you for your support!

Jim
Guest
Jim

It might seem like a little thing but these little things add up over time. Comments such as this from staff (presumably some English ignoramus) reflect a wider problem. It doesn’t help that 8% of the population of Ceredigion are Welsh-born but non Welsh-speaking and therefore set a very poor example to incomers from further afield. But surely Welsh speakers in the County are a significant economic constituency and should be looking to wield that economic power in a more systematic way. Businesses that are not supportive of the language in Y Fro should be boycotted and Welsh-speaking traders supported.… Read more »

Robert Williams
Guest
Robert Williams

Jim, I’m intrigued by this figure of 8% born in Ceredigion but not Welsh-speaking. Can you give us the source, please? I’m pleased if it’s as low as this – casting my eye over, say, Penparcau I’d have estimated quite a bit higher.

Robert Williams
Guest
Robert Williams

Angharad is on the button, as usual. Why would any sane person go into Gregg’s in Lampeter, or Aberystwyth?

Gareth Tuen
Guest
Gareth Tuen

capitalism; social programming; ignorance; all of the above?

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

Capitalism works if you use it as a weapon. Take money from non-Cymry, but do not give money to non-Cymry. Because money is power. To give someone money is to give them power.

If Cymry use capitalism as a weapon within Wales, and consider giving money to non-Cymry to be unclean and wicked as the Jews did with other groups for centuries, Cymry will win.

glasiad
Guest
glasiad

How we spend our money is more powerful shaper of society than how we cast a vote every few years. If more people were aware of the power they have in their pockets, and were not obsessed with saving every penny (under the pretext of ‘smart shopping’), our economy would be transformed within months. However, with the majority of us struggling under ever increasing personal debt, saving every penny wins out. The result is an ever tightening grip of big finance and their ugly offspring such as Tesco, Greggs, Secsavers, etc.

Robert Williams
Guest
Robert Williams

Angharad, as I remarked yesterday, is absolutely right to emphasise the importance of supporting local enterprises rather than your Greggs, Costa and so on, and Jim & Glasiad are also spot-on in emphasising the potential power of thoughtful consumption. Quite hard, though, to get this message across to the large body of consumers we need to think and act in this way.

Daiboy
Guest
Daiboy

Greggs haven’t actually done anything wrong here, have they. Stupid employee has been suspended, very swiftly. Taking trade from locally owned businesses, yes, but that is a different issue. I don’t see a problem here?

Tudor Rees
Guest
Tudor Rees

Dechrau anffodus i siop newydd. Wrth gwrs dylai’r rheolwyr wedi paratoi’r staff ymlaen llaw sut i ymddwyn yn nhre gyda chyfartaledd uchel o siaradwyr Cymraeg. Yr angen nawr yw iddynt drefnu cyrsiau “Dysgu Cymraeg” i’r staff, a hefyd sesiynau ar ddiwylliant yr ardal.

Angharad
Guest

Neu wrth gwrs cyflogi staff lleol sydd eisoes yn siarad Cymraeg a deall y diwylliant.

Muddy Valley
Guest
Muddy Valley

Was the Gregg’s employee actually commenting on the poor quality of the young lady’s pronunciation of Cymraeg?

Angharad
Guest

If that were the case, he would have answered in Cymraeg. Because he would have obviously been a fluent Cymraeg speaker himself.

Muddy Valley
Guest
Muddy Valley

Purely conjecture….. perhaps he/she responded in English having heard her Cymraeg and assumed that this way she would be able to understand his/her inappropriate remark better. Until we actually hear her speak Cymraeg it can only be conjecture! Still very disappointing whichever way one looks at it…. As a dysgwr Cymraeg I do get the occasion looks of disbelief and giggles but also lots of support, never pathetic insults.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest

Let’s spare a thought for people who suffer from a speech impediment like Tourettte syndrome. To make such a comparison is deeply unfortunate and speaks more about the insensitive and offence that can be taken of any individual who makes such a comment. I think it’s deeply abhorrent and cruel to those who sadly may suffer from this condition.