I went to visit a friend in London last weekend and we decided to brave Oxford Street since it was their special traffic free VIP shopping day.
It was a great idea in principle, but thousands of soggy shoppers clashing umbrellas with each other doesn’t make for a very VIP-ish afternoon (although the fake snow was quite cool and the choir we saw were amazing). We ended up in John Lewis with cold, damp and aching feet, then stumbled across their complimentary mulled wine and mince pies. Perfect timing. I don’t even like mulled wine normally but these were exceptional circumstances. Then I looked round and realised we were in the Furniture Department. Which had sofas. Which were now all covered in weary shoppers taking a breather and making the most of the aforementioned food and drink. So we followed suit.
photo (of it looking rather quieter than when I was there) by DaveHill on twitter
I’m sure you can tell where this is heading. Sticky hot liquid + pasty crumbs + damp umbrellas is not an ideal environment for four figure (mostly cream) display sofas to be subjected to. The stock was already looking a bit grubby when we got there on Saturday afternoon, with drinks rings on coffee tables and mince pie cases everywhere, but I hate to think what state the sofas would have been in by the end of the weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a brilliant idea to give shoppers a much-appreciated festive pick-me-up (and I never saw a member of staff objecting to the impromptu sit-in) and it resulted in a lot of love for the brand on twitter, but I don’t think anyone had considered that the cost of the activity would include probably having to sell off some sofas cheap as damaged goods.