In recent advertising campaigns the retailing giant has implied that the stores ‘belong’ to their customers in some obscure way, then seem surprised that customers behave accordingly. Arthur Clewes, a retired geography teacher from Leeds, spends most afternoons in the menswear section of his local store because “it’s cheaper than heating the house, and being surrounded by underwear makes me feel at home”.
According to staff at the Halifax branch, Brian Godber, an unemployed mime artist, treats the store “like a hotel”, and the sandwich and salad bar, in particular, as a convenient extension of room service.
Carole Spencer recently walked straight through the checkout of her local Marks & Spencer, in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, with a basket-full of premium products, by saying “This stuff is mine” in a loud, assertive voice. She plans to return the goods at some point and avail herself of the retailer’s famous ‘no quibbles’ returns policy, for a cash refund to pay for her cat’s hysterectomy.
The Harrogate branch of the Women’s Institute has taken their presumed ‘ownership‘ of the town’s flagship M & S store a step further, by selling it, lock, stock and barrel, to predatory supermarket giant, Tesco, which, until then, had failed to get a foothold in this most genteel of Yorkshire towns. Not only are the members of the Harrogate WI unavailable for comment, most of them seem to have left the country.
A noticeably irritable Joy Packard, Press Officer for Marks & Spencer, hastily convened a press reception to announce to media and public alike that the company’s stores only ‘belonged’ to their customers “in some ridiculous fantasy way dreamed up by the drug-addled airheads at the advertising agency”, and was not meant to be taken literally...