19 Sep 2013

Selfridges, the EDL and reputation management

It’s interesting what you pick up in a day’s work asking questions.

C4 news went to Selfridges today for the Usain Bolt book launch – and found the shop busy dealing with another tale that just won’t quite go away and die.

How are the two stories linked? They’re not – except to say that a number of C4 news viewers offered their views on what they would like to ask Usain Bolt, if they’d been in the interviewers hot seat today.

Pope Mullah (@KarmaUnc) tweeted “What does @usainbolt think about @Selfridges giving a free lunch to @EDLTrobinson after he abused one of their workers? #EDL”

In fact a mini twitter campaign began this morning urging the self styled legend of track and field to boycott his own book launch.

I did consider asking him what he made of the brouhaha but as fond and familiar as Mr Bolt is of little England, its perhaps a little parochial for the fastest man on the planet.

The story is this.

On Monday, Tommy Robinson, leader of the far-right English Defence League – a man with assault and drug convictions – fond of being filmed with balaclava wearing thugs – posted this video on you tube.

It’s a Selfridges sales assistant refusing to serve Robinson and his friend.

You can put me on the camera all you like, he says – but the EDL chief won’t be served by him.

Channel 4 News understands the employee didn’t in fact swear, as claimed by Robinson – he was just taking a position of conscience.

‘Cos reputations matter.

And it’s what Selfridges did next that’s caused all the fuss.

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These photos were tweeted by Robinson moments later – tucking into a very British steak and chips in one of the department stores restaurants.

BUR9_W-CMAE8QhM.jpg largeGiven to him free after he complained about his experience in menswear.

The manager who made the decision apparently didn’t know Robinson is who he is when he made the gesture.

In fact, the manager was doing what he was meant to – placate an irate customer in the easiest way possible. I’ve been told it was Robinson himself who suggested a meal would suffice by way of recompense.

It’s interesting that then having extracted a relatively lucrative “sorry” – 85 quids worth of meat and veg – Robinson took to the twittersphere to brag about it.

Reputations eh?

The sales assistant – having been initially suspended – has now been reinstated. He has, I’m told, an unblemished record, and is a valued member of the Selfridges team.

But the EDL – they are apparently still to be treated like any other customers. Although staff will be briefed. And Selfridges have shop floor managers meetings every morning.

One wonders though how soon it will be before Robinson and his mate return to try and bag another free helping of steak and chips.

Reputations eh?

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Read more: Was Selfridges right to wine and dine EDL leader?

2 reader comments

  1. Barry says:

    The biggest bunch of non representative weirdos in this country is Channel 4

    And that’s really saying something!

    I’m 48 and nobody asked me if I minded my previously harmonious little country being turned into a multicultural hell hole that will have a majority Islam religion in about another 10 years, you buffoons.

    1. norman says:

      previously harmonious, Lolllll

      South Shields (February 1919) – South Shields
      Cardiff (June 1919) – Cardiff riots 1919
      Liverpool (June 1919) – Liverpool riot 1919
      London (April 1919) – Stepney
      London (May 1919) – St Anne Street
      London (June 1919) – Cable Street
      London (June 1919) – Poplar
      Liverpool (August 1948) – Liverpool riot 1948
      Nottingham (August 1958) – Nottingham riot 1958
      London (1958) – 1958 Notting Hill race riots
      Leeds (1975) – 1975 Chapeltown riot
      London (1976) – Notting Hill
      London (23 April 1979) – Southall race riot
      Bristol (1980) – 1980 St. Pauls riot
      London (April 1981) – 1981 Brixton riot
      Liverpool (July 1981) – 1981 Toxteth riots
      Birmingham (July 1981, 1985) – 1985 Handsworth riots
      Leeds (1981) – 1981 Chapeltown Caribbean riot
      Manchester (1981) – Moss Side
      London (1985) – Peckham riot
      London (September 1985) – 1985 Brixton riot
      London (October 1985) – Broadwater Farm riot
      Leeds (1987) – 1987 Chapeltown riot
      Dewsbury (1989) – 1989 Dewsbury riot
      North Shields (1991) – Benwell and The Meadow Well riots
      Oldham (May 2001) – 2001 Oldham riots
      Burnley (June 2001) – Burnley Riots
      Bradford (July 2001) – 2001 Bradford riots
      Stoke-on-Trent (July 2001)
      Birmingham (2005) – 2005 Birmingham riots
      Windsor (2006) – 2006 Windsor ethnic violence[36]

      nothing to see here, move along
      eh baz?

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