Friday, 26 December 2008

An Open Letter to Marks and Spencer

Dear Sir or Madam:

RE: The Fate of unsold perishables

I write to ask you to explain your policy in regard to items as they near their “best-before” or “sell-by” dates. Are they “marked down” as the hour approaches (the better to seduce the low-lying and most clement slopes of the demand curve)? Do M&S possess (as I am told Pret do!) an heroic fleet of Robin Reliants ready to drive the leftovers through the stormy night to local and not-so-local soup kitchens and homeless shelters? I should think a feta and vine leaves parcel is a feta and vine leaves parcel, heroin addiction or no heroin addiction.

If commercial exigencies (which I should like to hear about – I mean it, it’s not just flirting! I heart commercial exigencies) render these measures quite impossible, perhaps you should prepare less food for sale?

I am not incurious since my friend Melody Wittgenstein and I witnessed what we first took for looting, in the branch inside Victoria station some recent Friday night, at around 11:00. Brave Melody remarked that it reminded her of the rotting grain mountains and wine lakes of the Common Agricultural Policy. For a moment, I wondered whether I was not on the threshold of some quasi-Heavenly “Land of Delicious Food,” as enormous clouds of sandwiches, gathered into plastic bags, were wafted past us on the shoulders of your tillmen and women into the waiting bins. Or perhaps a waiting fleet of Robin Reliants? Melody being near best-before herself hadn’t the luxury of such rapture and her fear for her safety was a factor in my resolution to write to you.

I mean we’re not just talking ropey sandwiches here, they were chucking away perfectly good cherry tomatoes.

Do not, I warn you, try to fob me off with a voucher! – for I will only convey it to the fingers of one of my homeless friends.

I apologise for what may seem the excessive background and combative tone of this letter, and ameliorate it with the old saw that companies always seem to be far worse than the people who make them up! But as your sector is one of the trailblazers in Corporate Social Responsibility, and as your brand melts in itself all the best qualities of English sumptuousness and commonsense, is not M&S positioned to show better leadership than this?

Yours impatiently,
Lara Buckerton

1 comment:

Posie Rider said...

Darling, I'm sending it now! When are we going on our M&S bin bundle? I want to climb into a wheelie with you, and damn the consequences!