A shop worker was left unshaken yesterday after a man repeatedly asked her for condoms.
Sheila Abbas, 24, was working on the check-out at Tesco Express in Dunkirk Road, Chiswick, when a man entered the store and asked for a pack of 12 Durex Featherlite Condoms, which are kept behind the shop counter alongside spirits and tobacco products.
The man, identified as Samuel Dean, 30, became flustered when Abbas picked up a packet of Golden Virginia rolling tobacco instead of the condoms.
Alan Rodes, 51, said, "There was a big queue of us behind him by then. He had to ask again, louder, and was clearly embarrassed. But she never batted an eyelid."
Onlookers report that Abbas continued to act calmly as she selected a purple Bic lighter from the same row of products as the condoms.
Security camera footage shows Dean shaking his head, leaning forward and even pointing at the prophylactics in an apparent attempt to assist Abbas.
"Then he got hysterical," claimed Edy Ekeke, who joined the back of the queue soon after Dean's confrontation with Abbas began.
"He shouted, 'No, the condoms! The 12 Durex Featherlite! The condoms!' "
"But the check-out girl didn't seem bothered," he added.
Reports indicate that Abbas slowly scanned the racks of goods behind the counter for an excruciatingly long time before eventually picking out a packet of 3 Durex Extra-Safe Condoms.
Dean, described as "utterly defeated," accepted the smaller pack of less sensitive contraceptives.
Shoppers present at the scene claim Dean opted to use a chip and pin device to pay for a 1 litre carton of Tropicana orange juice as well as the condoms. Deborah Massey, 40, described the orange juice as "cover" for the condoms.
"I don't think he really wanted the orange juice," said Massey. "It was to stop him looking like a pervert."
Dean asked for a carrier bag and, on being questioned by Abbas in a barely-audible monotone, admitted he did not possess a Tesco Clubcard. He then quickly left the store.
"The check-out girl carried on working," said Rodes, "but he couldn't get out fast enough. He probably didn't even have a girlfriend."
"It looked like a speculative purchase," agreed mother-of-three Mary Blaine. "And it went horribly wrong thanks to that lady."
Abbas' store manager, Asil Khan, said that despite the incident, Abbas worked the rest of her shift and was able to maintain an expression of bored disinterest throughout.
"Later on someone slipped on a burst kiwi and she didn't react at all," he said. "Having spoken to Sheila since her ordeal I can confirm it has made no impression on her whatsoever."
Dean, of 31 Walscott Way, Islington, remains at large. His parents, Sandra and Ian Dean, confirmed that his most recent relationship "ended a few months ago" at his partner's request.