John Lewis Replies

12 01 2009

I received this email today, and my reply is after.
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Looks, to me, like they Don’t Get It.
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Dear Morgan,
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Thank you for giving me some time to work on the questions raised during last Friday’s telephone conversation.

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As a company, we endeavour to deliver honest, impartial advice and service that is fair and balanced to all customers, whichever feeding choice they make for their baby. Customer feedback is important as it enables us to consider changes when evaluating ranges, services and facilities, to offer a comfortable and convenient shopping experience for everyone.

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The parent rooms in all of our new stores (Liverpool, Leicester & Cambridge) are depicted by a symbol of a baby. The facilities within these rooms now include a child friendly & adult toilet, wheelchair access, double buggy access, toddler safety seat and drinking water dispenser, all in addition to the original room features. Some of our older stores do still display the old parent room signage, however we are planning to update signange and facilities depending on the stores refurbishment programme.

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The concerns you raised about our online visuals has been taken on board by the relevant teams and changes will take place shortly to improve the quality of our message to customers through this portal.

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If you have any further questions or concerns regarding our initial conversation last week, please feel free to contact me.

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Kind regards,
Emi O’Neill
Press & PR Officer

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– – –
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Thanks for your reply. I do feel this falls very short of engaging with the issues on breaking code, and promoting bottle feeding. Especially in light of other customers replying that they’ve complained before, and been told there is nothing wrong with the bottle symbol etc, and one mother actually been told to stop breastfeeding her baby in your store.
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I’ll pass your reply on in my blog, with a copy of my own reply.
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Perhaps John Lewis needs to have a thorough look at its staff training, both in relation to the treatment of breastfeeding within your store (you can be sued under the Sex Discrimination Act for asking a mother to stop breastfeeding) and your ethical obligations under Code. In particular, you might want to look at how you record and note such complaints, as no one had any idea about breaching Code when I first contacted the company, and yet, clearly, many people have written in and complained before.
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I’m sad that John Lewis is not taking this opportunity to move forward by removing the bottle feeding signs immediately. Such a small thing to do, to restore your customers’ trust.
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I will, of course, forward on my complaints about John Lewis breaching Code to Trading Standards and the Baby Law Feeding Group, and encourage other customers to do likewise.
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kind regards
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Morgan Gallagher

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