A major retailer left customers without coal as the Beast from the East lashed Britain with its tail.
Hospitals were on alert and thousands of homes lost power as snow covered the UK and 90MPH winds and floods caused chaos.
Things got so bad that two police forces declare ‘major incidents’ and the Army was drafted in to help rescue people trapped in cars.
South Central Ambulance Service appealed for 4×4 owners to help move its staff around in the severe conditions.
Elsewhere, passengers were stranded overnight on the rail service from London to Poole at Brockenhurst and residents took hot drinks, food and blankets to drivers trapped on M62 in Greater Manchester.
In the midst of all this a couple who had been left without heating because the company due to deliver their heating oil was snowed in, called in at the B&M store in Newport, Shropshire, to buy coal.
They were shocked when a member of staff told them: “Sorry we don’t stock coal at this time of year because it is Spring!”
B&M is a go-ahead organisation which opened its first store in Blackpool, Lancashire, and now has more than 560 stores and employs over 28,000 staff.
The company brags that it gets more than three million customers every week.
Andrea Martin, aged 56, who lives in an ancient cottage in a nearby village, said: “It’s a double whammy for us … we ordered the oil before the blizzards hit but because of the demand we were told there would be a delay. That was fine, we had enough oil to keep warm for a few days.
“However, the delivery didn’t arrive and we checked with the company – incredibly they said they were snowed in. They said we could go and fetch some oil from their yard – but if they can’t get out, how could we get in?
“So, that when we decided to risk driving into Newport to get some logs and coal … first stop was B&M, a shop we use all the time for bits and pieces, but particularly for coal. We were surprised to see they didn’t have any.
“But the real shock was when a member of staff told us they wouldn’t be getting any more coal in because it is now Spring!
“I pointed out of the window and said – it’s a blizzard – we don’t want to be buying summer clothes and barbecues – we need coal.”
Andrea then went to Aldi to see if they were stocking coal. They too had none but a member of staff said he would suggest getting a new stock in.
The consumerwatchfoundation.com has put a number of calls into the Press Office at B&M’s head office in Liverpool but have had no reply.