Woman ‘told to leave shop in Pwllheli’ after speaking Welsh

The Original Factory Shop Pwllheli

A woman from Pwllheli in Gwynedd has said that she was told to leave a shop on the town’s High Street after saying “excuse me” in Welsh.

Glenys Jones said that a member of staff in the Original Factory Shop on the High Street replied to her in a “fierce voice” that he only spoke English.

After she said that she only said “excuse me” she alleges that he replied “no you didn’t, you said it in Welsh” before going on to say that if she didn’t want to speak English she could get out.

A spokesperson for The Original Factory Shop commented: “The Original Factory Shop has 168 stores nationwide and we are proud to operate 16 of those shops across Wales. At our Pwllheli store, two thirds of our colleagues are fluent Welsh speakers.

“We were therefore surprised to hear of this complaint and are investigating. Everyone is welcome in our stores and we do our utmost to provide a helpful and friendly service for all our customers.”

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 80% of the population of Pwllheli speak Welsh, with the highest percentage of Welsh speakers, 94%, in the 10-14 age bracket.

“I am 68 years old, a local and have worked in Pwllheli for 53 years and have never had anyone speak to me like this before,” Glenys Jones said.

“I was disappointed and shocked that such a thing could have happened on our local high street.

“I want to take the case further with the company – but I feel it’s my duty to share the story.”

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James W. Soares JonesSaisRhosdduTudor ReesGraham Recent comment authors
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Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

It is right that this sort of thing should be called out whenever it happens, and the business in question named and shamed. I wonder how many times it happened in the past throughout the country, when people were less confident about reporting it.

Let’s hope that Glenys Jones gets a written apology. Until then, the people of Pwllheli would be justified in boycotting this shop.

KK
Guest
KK

Dear Glenys,

Keep on speaking Welsh today, tomorrow and for ever more. The more angry and hostile they are, the more you are doing the right thing. I found my experience in Pwllheli quite a chastening episode especially when I was told that the problem with the local people was that they were just ‘too Welsh’. That’s right my imperial little friend – we are different so suck it up and accept it.

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

and would you have understood had it been written in Welsh ?

Efalle fydde werth iti ddechrau ar wersi yn y Gymraeg er mwyn dy allogu i gyfranu yn yr iaith a gwaredu ychydig ar dy ragfarn dwl.

Sais
Guest
Sais

Mae dau “n” yn “cyfrannu”, Huw.

Des
Guest
Des

This is f**king incredible, was actually in Pwllheli on Saturday and heard Welsh being spoken everywhere, from bairns to bodachs, on the beach, in coffee shop, at the cashline machine, cool young dudes getting out of their boy racer machines, etc, etc. It’s a town bigger than Nairn in the Highlands where I live and Welsh is obviously the daily language of Pwllheli . Hope this store sorts this out. A disgrace.

Mrs Francis
Guest
Mrs Francis

This is 100% racist , unbelievably a native Welsh speaker in her own Town and Country being told to speak a foreign langage in her own Country of Wales.Who the HELL do these english people think they are. Uncouth and ignorant , we really can live without the arrogance of the english. Please stay your side of the borders we really wouldn’t miss you what’s so ever, if you want to come to visit Wales don’t bring your culture with you but come with the respect we deserve the same respect you should give to any country around the World,

Celia Hayward
Guest
Celia Hayward

Please, please do not put all the English in this way. “Who the Hell do these English people think they are. Uncouth and ignorant” there are many of us who are English by birth and have come to live in Wales (have Welsh speaking husbands and children) and who are embarrassed by the small minority who adopt this attitude. It is not only Wales, they have the same imperialist attitude wherever they go, be it France, Spain etc. Do not fall into the trap of engaging in racial slurs, report the company to the Welsh Language Society who I’m sure… Read more »

Rob Owen
Guest
Rob Owen

I don’t believe for a moment that Mrs Francis was implying that ALL English are the same, merely those who attempt to impose such stupid and ignorant demands on Welsh customers. We can be 100% certain that the shop assistant/manager involved would not have demanded that a Frenchman, a German, nor indeed any other non-English native speaker would cease to speak their own language simply to suit him (or any other reason for that matter!) Mae’r iaith Gymraeg yn fyw ac yn iach! Defnyddiwch yr iaith fel hawl, i sicrhau y gwnaiff fodoli’n dragywydd, er gwaethaf pobl fel hwn yn… Read more »

Sais
Guest
Sais

Maybe, but she has no evidence that the person is English *at all*. He could have been from absolutely anywhere. All we know is that he only speaks the English language.

Owen
Guest
Owen

An English work colleague told me that often when he walked into a shop in Wales, people in the shop would be happily speaking in English and as soon as he walked in they would change to speaking Welsh. – I told him that the same thing often happened to me – in Spain!! (whenever I was feeling a bit insecure or paranoid!)

Giovanni
Guest
Giovanni

I’m a mother-tongue English speaker. When I am in Italy with Italian friends, if we are talking in English, I immediately switch to Italian if I hear a group of English speakers coming within earshot

Sais
Guest
Sais

You might like to ask your work colleague: (a) by what magic powers he knew which language they were speaking *before* he walked in, and (b) why he wanted to eavesdrop on their private conversation anyway?

Chances are that if he really did catch a little snippet of English before the Welsh, it was the completely normal switching that happens when people have more than one language in common, and had absolutely nothing to do with his presence. Probably if he had continued to listen, he would have heard the same sort of thing crop up again later.

Mr G
Guest
Mr G

Where did it say the staff member was English then? “These English people” may not feature in this story at all, but well done for jumping to conclusions…

j r humphrys
Guest
j r humphrys

Fierce voice, out of the blue? I thought, mental illness, then canabis.

Bryn Colion
Guest
Bryn Colion

fair comment Mr G ….. ive known very anti Welsh Welsh accented people

Graham
Guest
Graham

My father was Wenglish, English-speaking from a Swansea family where no Welsh had been spoken for 2 generations. He always referred to Welsh-speakers as Welshies

James W. Soares Jones
Guest
James W. Soares Jones

A fine candidate for language lessons!

Sais
Guest
Sais

Diolch i chi, Mr G, thank you, well said.

Sais
Guest
Sais

Does gennych chi ddim tystoliaeth o gwbl mai Sais oedd yr aelod o staff dan sylw. Ble wnaeth yr erthygl unrhyw sôn am genedligrwydd? Dych chi’n siarad am anwybodaeth, ond yn barod i ddyfalu “ffeithiau” i ffitio gyda’ch rhagfarn. Pwy sy’n bod yn 100% hiliol, felly? Yn ffodus, pan dw i’n ymweld â Chymru, dw i’n arfer cwrdd â phobl mwy croesawgar na hynny. Right then, I guess I’ll say it in English as well. You have no evidence at all that the member of staff in question was English. Where did the article make any mention of nationality? You… Read more »

Tegwyn
Guest
Tegwyn

I live in USA and was disappointed with how little Welsh was spoken when I visited North Wales last October. Such a beautiful language! I had to ask people to speak Welsh to me lol. I can’t get enough of the language—I have signed up for a 12 week course this fall sponsored by the Welsh Society of Central Ohio.

Jay
Guest
Jay

This person is obviously either a troll, has never visited or knows nothing of Wales, knows nothing about the linguistic or cultural history and make up of the people of the UK, including the English, or is a bigot; but hopefully he/she’s having us on and the last laugh is on me for taking them seriously!

toffingham65
Guest
toffingham65

I don’t think the male population of the UK wears make up …..

toffingham65
Guest
toffingham65

Of course I know Wales ….. Used to go to Rhyl every year …..Welsh is a dead language , a mummmers show put on for the tourists …….it will get even deader post Brexit , when the EU stops pumping money into “billingual” signage ….

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Jay, he’s almost certainly a loser who can’t get a girlfriend, and has had too much to drink and is looking for a reaction. Best response: let him prattle on, and ignore him.

toffingham65
Guest
toffingham65

….errrr…..I don’t drink and I am a lady …….

Gwr124
Guest
Gwr124

You ain’t no lady

Gwr124
Guest
Gwr124

Please don’t try to be humorous, it’s just embarrassing. You don’t have the wit to pull it off. Stick to mindless racist insults,, that’s what you do best.

Dafydd Jones
Guest
Dafydd Jones

Gwych da iawn😀.Brilliant keep learning, maby you should look at the duolingo app

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Da iawn Tegwyn.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Tegwyn, try Say something in.com The Say Something in Welsh course is brilliant.

Mike OMarah .
Guest
Mike OMarah .

Well done , Tegwyn . A fantastic undertaking to embark on . Best of luck from me and all my fellow Welsh speakers . POB LWC ! 👍👍🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Glenys w
Guest
Glenys w

Tegwyn, well done for learning and defending the Welsh Language.

toffingham65tecsitypddiars
Guest
toffingham65tecsitypddiars

toffingham65 twll dy din di, google.translate.com

toffingham65
Guest
toffingham65

I think you may have just texted random characters from your pocket ….this makes no sense in English …..this is an English language site ….the article above is written in excellent English

Steve
Guest
Steve

Do you speak another language? Do you only visit English stores/shops? Good luck next time you go IKEA. Or Aldi, Lidl, spar, ordering a kebab/Indian/Chinese/Italian takeaway…. How dare anyone insult anyone for speaking their own language. Would you go to live in China and make no effort to learn the language of the town you choose to live and work in? The Welsh were forced to learn and speak English because of a paranoid English king.

toffingham65
Guest
toffingham65

Let it go brother ……all that “the Welshies were forced …..blah blah blah ” ….just let it go , it was after all 700 years ago …..lighten up ….learn to love English , you will feel much happier .

toffingham65
Guest
toffingham65

Aldi and Lidl both work perfectly well in English ….just like Tesco and Asda …….kebabs …never , yuck ….you never see a local cat population around a Kebab shop ……ditto for Chinese ….never eat it …meeooow

Alexander Storch
Guest
Alexander Storch

It’s sad that some people have difficulty in understanding that we don’t speak Welsh to be awkward or to annoy or antagonise non Welsh speakers. I sincerely wish that people who seem to have a problem with the Welsh language would realise that we get great pleasure in speaking our language, it really isn’t asking much. It’s an ancient language and we have a duty to keep it alive. I frequently work away from Wales and I delight in coming home and having the opportunity to speak my language, it’s a huge source of joy. It’s very upsetting to read… Read more »

Gwil
Guest
Gwil

If the owner wants to run a Welsh Not policy people should vote with their feet.

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

or he /she should buzz off to Cheshire or beyond where they would feel less threatened !

Iwan
Guest
Iwan

It’s nice to see the standards and guidelines in English , was Thier any witness to this complaint against the shop .

Elanwy Leaney
Guest
Elanwy Leaney

When will people understand and realise that Welsh is the spoken language esp. in North Wales, the Llŷn Peninsula in particular. I was born and brought up in the vicinity of Pwllheli and went to secondary school there. When I go home ( live in Yorkshire now) I wouldn’t dream of speaking anything but Welsh to family and friends, it would feel very strange/awkward to me to speak English to them. The person was way out of line telling this shop worker to leave, if he/she didn’t like the Welsh spoken word what is the person doing living in the… Read more »

Joy
Guest
Joy

There are several branches of this store in Devon. I have shopped in most of them and am always speaking Welsh. I have never had so much as a comment from anyone.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

I should hope not.

Emyr George
Guest
Emyr George

Quite simple, share it ,and boycott the shop, that will teach him a lesson!

Huw ap conwy Evans
Guest

A male voice choir standing outside the shop singing in Welsh needs to happen 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Sandra
Guest
Sandra

I’m a welsh speaker,so I find that quite insulting, I wonder if the no brain idiot does the same with all the other languages spoke in our shops these days, they obviously employ unintelligent people there, sorry for your upset.

Helen H
Guest
Helen H

Perhaps the shop should put a poster on the front door saying that Welsh is banned. It would save others the embarrassment and upset the lady experienced, and we’d all know where we stand.

Arwyn Hagreanoid
Guest
Arwyn Hagreanoid

Is there any independent verification of this account of the story? In my experience the shopkeepers of Pwllheli are more than happy to speak either English or Welsh. It would seem counterintuitive for any shopkeeper to disenfranchise 90% of the locals.

I’ve got to say that this would be a perfect story for those trying to sow nationalist discontent.

Dafydd Ladd
Guest
Dafydd Ladd

Speaking your own language is not ‘nationalist’, it is people just speaking their own language.

Arwyn Hagreanoid
Guest
Arwyn Hagreanoid

That is very true. And that isn’t what I said.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

You’re implying that the lady made the the incident up; and he isn’t a shopkeeper, he’s a member of that shopkeeper’s staff. And yes, Welsh shopkeepers in Pwllheli (and their staff) do indeed code-shift according to the language of their customers (I’ve heard it being done there myself). This employee, however, was not a Welsh-speaking local, so he wouldn’t in fact be “more than happy to speak English or Welsh”. You don’t need me to tell you that all he had to do was to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Welsh”, or “I’m sorry, I’m not a Welsh-speaker”. Since… Read more »

Arwyn Hagreanoid
Guest
Arwyn Hagreanoid

I have an American friend, very right wing, massive Trump supporter. When my friend sends me links to stories, I always check who is telling the story and then use some critical thinking. Usually it is a religious person trying to misuse science to prove that evolution theory is a communist plot. Same thing here. No picture, No idea if this is a real story or a piece of propaganda. Basics, right? I do the same regardless of the basic message in the story. The English used to tell terrible lies about the Welsh, fact checking put those lies to… Read more »

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

I presume you’d apply that criterion to every single news report, ever, and not just the ones that make you uncomfortable? Why would the woman make it up when it could be disproved so easily if not true? Accept it, this kind of bigotry really does happen.

Robin
Guest
Robin

I can’t believe this! Excuse me in Welsh was one of the things I learned when I moved to Wales.

Arwyn Hagreanoid
Guest
Arwyn Hagreanoid

twll din bob sais

My first Welsh

Graham
Guest
Graham

I learnt it as twll dyn pob sais which seems to be the form used on the internet

Glenys w
Guest
Glenys w

Sadly this type of behaviour by big companies is common in Wales.
I blame the Welsh Assembly, all assembly members should be welsh speaking so that the day to day business can be done via the medium of Welsh.
Until that happens we will experience more of these incidents in Wales.

Tudor Rees
Guest
Tudor Rees

Neges i “The Original Factory Shop” 8/8/2019
I was relieved to learn that The Original Factory Shop has a positive attitude towards customers who speak Welsh. It is a pity the the occasional employee fails to live up to this. It may well be that the basis is a degree of insecurity that can be largely overcome by staff training, that includes learning basic Welsh, and about Welsh Heritage. This approach would put the O.F.Shop ahead of the game in Wales, and enhance their reputation