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Posts Tagged ‘top shelf’

I’m wondering whether I should stop shopping at WHSmith. I’ve recently discovered that what I thought was a respectable family store is actually a peddler of porn.

Not as respectable as I thought

Not as respectable as I thought

On one of my first visits to my local Sainsburys, I had a discussion with a chap stacking the magazine racks. The lads mags were being placed at knee height, as usual. Sainsburys were very prompt though. The chap I spoke with went straight to his manager, who got him to move the mags immediately. And then he came and found me and told me

a) that he’d moved the mags and

b) that the shelf stacking plan came from WHSmith, who supplied the magazines.

And then this weekend, I had to go to our local newsagents for emergency milk (another bumper crop of visitors). When I asked him why he had so much porn on his shelves he told me that

a) when they took over the shop WHSmith supplied them with that amount and

b) there was a market for it.

I told my newsagents that his shop was bottom of our list, because of his porn stock but it sounds to me like WHSmith are dictating the marketing of porn and pushing it. Should I start a boycott? Will it do any good and would you join me?

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On the day of his induction service, when he was handed the keys to the church and officially started work, the Vicar received a telephone call from the Express and Star, our local daily newspaper.

The journalist was following the diary of the Mayor of Sandwell and wanted to know what he was doing coming to our church that evening. The Vicar explained that he (the Vicar) would be starting work in the parish, and the journalist ended up interviewing him and sending round a photographer.

For some reason, though, the article didn’t make it to the E&S website, so I’ve scanned it for you to see in all its glory. Unless you have x-ray vision, you’ll probably have to use the Ctrl and + keys to zoom in to read it.

The Vicar in the paper

The Vicar in the paper

The lack of cropping is because of my poor technical skills, but gives you a flavour of the rather eclectic style of the E&S – see how the article about the vicar is on the same page as (and rather larger than) one about the New York financier Bernard Madoff and his £37.5 billion fraud.

And just so you know, we think the journalist misheard ‘England’ as ‘Ireland’ when the Vicar was talking about the places he’d lived. And more on my recent lads mags encounter at Sainsbury’s soon.

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In the midst of piling clothes into big boxes and hunting for missing library books, I had a phone call from the Church Times yesterday afternoon.

They’d been reading the article about my success in getting lads mags put on the top shelf in a local Asda store and were interested to know more about my ‘campaign’. I hadn’t had it in mind to start one, but somehow it seems to be launching itself.

One of the things I said to the CT reporter was that complaining to your local supermarket about the display of lads mags isn’t difficult. You can do it verbally or in writing in a couple of minutes at the customer services desk.

The supermarkets need to know that most people buying their groceries don’t want to see these magazines and particularly don’t want them shown to their children, or anyone’s children for that matter. The supermarkets also need to know that consumers are prepared to take their custom elsewhere if these displays are not changed.

It has also struck me that it is likely that far more supermarket customers  are mothers and others concerned with preserving the innocence of childhood than buyers of lads mags. Consumer power could win this argument.

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The success of my complaint to Asda about their lads’ mags display was written up in our local paper this week. The article was pretty fair, although I’d hardly call a five minute queue at customer services and a five line complaint a ‘battle’, as they headlined it.

As the Express and Star have an online version people have the opportunity to comment. The commentators seem to fall into two camps – the ‘good on yer’ set and the ‘you’re a prude, haven’t you got anything better to do with your time, you leech on society you’ group.

So far, all the ‘vicar’s wife=prude’ comments have been from men. Interesting, but sadly not that surprising.

Meanwhile, my friend Mrs Starcook has complained about the same thing in the Wolverhampton Asda. They, however, phoned her and said they couldn’t do anything about the position of the magazines because ‘head office decide where everything is placed’. Sounds like buck-passing to me. The Asda I went into didn’t have the same problem.

Maybe they just need a few more people to complain. Any takers?

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