I am a committed and loyal customer of Waitrose and John Lewis. I remain so because of your excellent reputation for quality products, high customer service levels and your responsible approach to ethical consumerism.
Last month I was in one of your cafés after school with my seven year old son. Whilst enjoying our drinks, a fellow customer unwittingly placed in front of us the image of a young woman wearing nothing more than a small pair of pants and a necklace. The image was that of Page 3 of The Sun Newspaper. There was also a further copy on a nearby highchair. Not only was I feeling embarrassed and humiliated by this, but then also had to consider this question from my son “Mummy, why is that man looking at a lady with no clothes on in that newspaper?”
I complained to Waitrose by email and this was the response;
“This is one of the biggest selling newspapers in the UK and it is very important that we do not dictate to our customers what we think they should be reading”
Addressing your response I would like to say this,
I’m aware of all of the arguments about freedom of choice, however where was our choice on that day?
Babies, toddlers, and children like my son have no choice but to have their first taste of pornography in your family friendly cafés.
If a supermarket café were to play music containing offensive swear words there would be an uproar. Why is this different? Why should I have to explain what these images mean to my son.
For as long as these newspapers contain such images, Waitrose would achieve far more by way of publicity, marketing and goodwill by stopping the sale of such newspapers, rather than by maintaining an extremely thinly disguised choice argument. Bearing in mind also the fact that neither myself nor my son can buy lads/pornographic magazines in your store, as they are not available.
Waitrose, would you please do the following:-
- Either stop selling The Sun and The Star completely in your stores or have them in covered units similar to cigarette cabinets;
- Remove The Sun and The Star from your cafés