AN 80-year old disabled pensioner who was escorted out of Timezone Fremantle by police back in September has finally been told she can redeem the prizes she won – but will have to pick them up from another branch.
Jo has spent thousands of dollars since discovering she had a knack for the entertainment venue’s machines three years ago and enjoyed socialising with the youngsters and their parents.
But she said the fun suddenly stopped on September 5 when a staff member accused her of stealing the rings a young boy had won on one of the machines. Players collect the rings and use them to purchase gifts ranging from lollies to computers.
Jo, who uses a walking stick, said she was gobsmacked when the young, able-bodied manager initially told her she should “run after” the boy.
Instead she left the rings on the side of the machine while she had a game, and insists the youngster returned a few minutes later and retrieved them himself.
But when she went to the counter to get her own rings added to her membership card, she said the manager told staff to cancel her card and ordered her to leave.
“We walked away and sat in the corner just wondering what to do,” said Jo, who was with her carer at the time.
Shortly afterwards police came and told her she’d be arrested for trespassing if she didn’t move on.
Jo said it was the first time anyone had called police on her, and the incident had left her so stressed she had to seek medical assistance.
What upset her most was that she’d recently clicked over 320,000 points – enough to win an Apple notebook.
She’d tried to redeem the prize several times, but says Timezone kept telling her there was no stock. Jo says that makes her suspicious the ban was simply a ruse to avoid paying out.
She’d also lost access to the $32 still on her card from the last visit, but says after repeated emails to the company about getting it back, the only response she received was from someone warning her the police had been informed about her “harassment”.
The Chook also had some difficulty getting through to the head office, but on Thursday a spokesperson for the company said her credits and the $32 was still intact and she could redeem them – just from another store.
“At Timezone we pride ourselves on creating a safe, family-friendly environment free of abusive language and aggressive behaviour,” the spokesperson said.
“To ensure a safe environment for our team and our guests [Jo] and her daughter have been informed they are no longer welcome to return to our Fremantle location based on their past repeated behaviour.”
by STEVE GRANT