Are you asking for people’s opinions or legal advice? Either way this might be better for IMHO.
I’m wondering how you know (or suspect) these people are hoarders, and how you know (or suspect) what their income is.
My uninformed, unexpert opinion is that you shouldn’t refuse to sell to them, both because it’s None Of Your Business and that you wouldn’t really be doing them any good. But I’m wondering if there’s some sort of mental health or social agency you can call in.
As has been said, legally you can refuse to sell to anyone for any reason, as long as it’s not on the basis of them belonging to a protected class.
Beyond this, I’m not sure how what they do with their money is your concern. Maybe if you were selling them something addictive (but legal) it could be a moral issue. But if they are hoarding, they can presumably resell the product at some point, and so haven’t lost much (if they can resell it at something close to its purchase price.)
It would help to know what the product is. Is it something like canned food, and the customer is a survivalist? Or is it something that’s not a necessity, like ceramic figurines?
Actually, I believe you can refuse to sell to a person who happens to be black (or other ethnicity), as long as the reason you’re refusing to sell to them is NOT “because they’re black”. So if you’re refusing them service because they’re not wearing shirt or shoes, it does not matter if they are a member of a protected class. Not wearing shirt or shoes is not a protected class.
But you’d better not sell to a white male who’s not wearing shirt or shoes either.
To the OP - it’s good of you to want to do the right thing here, although I have the same question as others here, how do you really know what’s going on with your customers?
As others have said, you can refuse service to anyone provided your motivation for refusal is not protected class status. The slightly odd thing here is that you cannot discriminate based on disability status, and mental health is a disability. So you cannot refuse to do routine business with someone because they are mentally ill. However, what happens if you are refusing to accommodate the symptoms of their pathology? To take a more extreme example, if someone is suicidal due to mental illness, it’s clearly preposterous to suggest that you cannot refuse to sell them materials that you reasonably suspect may be the means to kill themselves.
Yup, I think this is kind of the issue. If someone has a firm diagnosis of mental illness, and the symptoms of the pathology are directly and obviously harmful, common sense tells you that it would be reasonable not to enable them. But the distinction between “buying a lot of otherwise non-harmful stuff because I like it” and a pathology is not a bright and obvious line.
If you have clear reason to believe that someone buying from you is a pathological hoarder, I tend to think you should get legal advice on your best course of action.
I don’t know the legality, but I can sympathise- even working in a little newsagent that sold lottery tickets, it didn’t take long to work out who was buying them for a bit of a flutter and who was spending more than they could afford on a desperate hope. People who would dither over paying £2.50 for a block of cheese, would pay the minimum off their electricity bills with every scrap of change they could find, but spent £30 a week on tickets and scratchcards.
We were allowed to refuse to sell booze to the local alcoholics, but not tickets to the lottery addicts. It felt pretty horrible, even knowing they’d just go three doors down if I could refuse.
I think bartenders have it hard. Knowing the local lush was spending the rent for a few nights of drunkedness. Alcoholism is a disease. So the barman has to judge who has the disease and if he has keys. That’s a big responsibility. IMO.