Matthew Steeples names and shames the retail giants who won’t be selling Royal British Legion poppies this year; they include Boots, Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Tesco, Waitrose and Wholefoods
Even ‘Murky’ Meghan Markle – down under in New Zealand on tour – is sporting one right now; the humble poppy. A mark of respect to those who fought so we didn’t end up living under a regime of terror, most surprisingly, isn’t available at a single supermarket in Belgravia, Chelsea, Fulham or Knightsbridge.
Today, I visited Sainsbury’s in Elizabeth Street, Belgravia in the hope of buying a Royal British Legion poppy. I asked at the counter and was met with: “We don’t sell those things.” I then telephoned the company’s press office and was told: “Our employees got the wrong end of the stick.”
Subsequently, by email, a media relations executive working at the firm, Jordan Grant, replied and commented: “We can reassure customers poppies will be available in store this week.” Given it is already 29th October and Remembrance Sunday is just 13 days away, this is hardly acceptable – especially given the store is already selling Christmas decorations (Christmas Day is 57 days away).
Next, in frustration, I visited Tesco on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea. Situated directly next to the National Army Museum and close to the Royal Hospital – home to the legendary and widely respected Chelsea Pensioners. On asking for a poppy, a till operative lackadaisically remarked: “We do not sell those things. We are a supermarket.”
Waitrose Belgravia – commonly known as “Celebrity Waitrose” due to the likes of John Cleese and Lady Helen Taylor being regulars –presented a similar but worse response. The customer service desk operative at the flagship store told me: “We do not condone war so do not sell poppies. It is against our company policy.”
A friend, on my behalf, visited Wholefoods and was told: “We don’t know what poppies are” (they, at least, suggested donating to a homeless charity). She also got told at Boots: “We don’t sell things like that” but did find a lovely pair of Sikh gentlemen selling poppies in the Fulham Broadway underground station. She gave them £25.
A phone call to Selfridges was met with: “We do not supply poppies” but Harrods came through. Their customer service desk call handler announced: “We will be selling poppies later this week. We like to support the Royal British Legion.”
Shame on the high street retailers of Britain. Not a poppy in sight and not an ounce of support for the heroes who’ve saved us. This is an utter disgrace and it should be named as such.