Goodwill to all men eh?

Apart from in WH Smiths in Wisbech

I’ve been thinking about posting this since yesterday afternoon.  Through all the manic festivities and family chaos, it’s been in the back of my mind. Lurking there, jangling my nerves as I’m still annoyed about it.  It’s not even something I witnessed myself but it does serve to highlight that Christmas spirit seems to be in seriously short supply in certain quarters.

At first I wasn’t sure if I was being a little mean by being annoyed, but after having raised the topic over lunch today, the one word that kept cropping up was “disgraceful” so I feel thoroughly vindicated.

So here goes :-

I sent Mr Boudica into WH Smiths in Wisbech yesterday afternoon at around 2.30pm to pick up a magazine I wanted.  Anyway, he was a little dismayed when he got back to the car and apologised for taking so long.  He went on to explain that the elderly gentleman in the queue in front of him had asked for a carrier bag in which to place his newly purchased items.  The assistant on the till informed him that he could indeed have a bag, if he paid 1p for it.

Said elderly gentleman apparently didn’t have 1p for the bag and on finding that he was only going to receive one if he paid for it, asked if he could pay for it on his card. Which apparently he couldn’t do either.

Now, this is not going to be a discussion about the benefits of reducing waste and how charging carrier bags helps prevent this etc etc.  As normally, I’m with you all the way on that.  However there are some exceptions, and here they are:

1) The elderly gentleman in question was using 2 walking sticks to get around and couldn’t have managed to actually carry his shopping without a bag.

and the biggie

2) It was 2.30pm on CHRISTMAS EVE

So the staff in WH Smiths were not going to give an elderly gentleman a 1p carrier bag unless he paid for it, on Christmas Eve.

Incidentally, Mr Boudica paid the 1p for the carrier bag as he was so stunned.  He also said that every other person in that queue was rummaging round in their purses to find that crucial 1p, he just happened to be first in the queue and found it first.

I’m not even going to say what I think of this, using words such as “disgraceful”, “shaming”, “shocking” and “distinctly lacking in Christmas Spirit” as it’s all pretty obvious really.

So WH Smiths, I hope your christmas profits are worth withholding carrier bags from elderly gentlemen who struggled to walk into your shop.  Oh, and by the way.  I’ve bought a subscription of said magazine so I never have to visit one of your shops again.

Merry Christmas


2 Responses

  1. A jobsworth taking the rules too literally? I’ve been “gifted” a carrier bag in the past (not from WHSmiths, mind) when the shop assistant felt sorry for me – whatever happened spreading Christmas cheer or simply being nice? I’m with you on reducing plastic waste, but I’m also very glad there was someone else in the queue who found 1p to make sure the man got his bag.

  2. Saw a little lad of about 10 trying to buy a top up for a gas card with some other groceries. Clearly very poor. The thought of the family having no heating. So quickly gave the assistant the few pounds needed and rushed out of shop so that no one was embarrassed. People don’t study others. Have you heard of Pay It Forward? I think it’s a lovely idea:

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