For those of you reading this in far flung and exotic locations (if you live in North London everywhere else seems exotic) Marks and Spencer is a Major Chain retailer and whilst you may not know the names I suspect the issue is worldwide with Middle aged men being invisible and taken for granted. What follows is a letter I wrote to the Chief Executive.
Dear Mr Rowe,
I am a middle class middle aged man ( providing I live to 115) who has been a steadfast customer of your store since I was old enough to decide for myself albeit influenced by a mother, who excitedly bore home each new innovation from you . I can still remember how excited we where when you introduced cannelloni, still considered in our house to be that most exotic of foreign foods. I went on to marry an ardent M & S fan, who when we were just young love spent so much in your store I purchased some M&S shares for her one Christmas in an effort to get some of my money back.
What I am trying to establish is that I am or as we get to the point of this was “Marks and Spencer Man” dressed head to toe in Marks, from my hat to my socks. Like all Middle aged men I pretend to have a own sense of style and if you look at my You tube videos (look for heritagecraft) you will see I cut quite a dash in my overalls, but occasionally my dearly beloved demands that we are seen in public together, in between court appearances, and so conventional attire is required which is where you come in.
Over the years I have come to accept your declining quality, my favourite socks getting thinner and thinner, the stores full of product which have become far too trendy for me, as you try and chase the young fashionable pound, and if the evidence of my visits to two of your large stores this week is to be believed to trendy for everyone else as they were deserted of customers, which makes me question the wisdom of my own shareholding. Screw fix now supplies my work clothing. I have learnt to accept being dragged round the ladies department to be told there is nothing suitable, and now apparently even the lingerie section has lost the plot.
I understand the need for innovation, I understand fashion but you can innovate too far. This week I went to replace a lambs wool V neck pullover. That fashionable staple of middle aged men everywhere which I have worn for years and my father wore before me. To my disappointment there wasn’t a single one to be found in your store. Instead I find cheap cotton, or overpriced cashmere pullovers which on me, will last ten minutes providing I ignore the metrosexual colours. As a self appointed style icon I want classic colours, Salmon Pink, Lavender, and Raspberry, are not for me. At the first store I thought it might be a stock issue, that cant be all that’s available which is why I then went to one of your mega stores, but no it appears this is this years fashion, and this years colours, so I guess this year I wont buy any. Once again at results time we will be treated to that long list of standby excuses, of its the weather, its brexit, its the competition, and once again there will be a cull of executives. How many times will we be told that this latest person is going to turn things round, to then see you chasing fashion and column inches to read how you proudly ran out of this years must have ladies coat, which cant help the results as you got that wrong as well.
I am not a difficult customer, by virtue of the fact I had stepped foot into a store it meant you had a sale, like most men I don’t go window shopping, I go to buy. But every time recently I have emerged empty handed, to then go next door to Sainsburys, I boycott Tesco’s and I don’t know what a lidl is. You are my clothes retailer of choice, though don’t tell screwfix, but if you cant satisfy me, the most undiscerning customer on the planet, how are you ever going to satisfy my wife, and how will you ever survive. All I wanted was a red lambs wool jumper, am I being unreasonable?
yours Tom Green.
style guru often mistaken for George Clooney when seen in an uncertain light.