Tuesday, 2 October 2012

"What Doctors Don't Tell You" - Another Strategy

A quick post on a very encouraging experience.

Interested to see if my nearest high street retailers are stocking the infamous "What Doctors Don't Tell You", I had a look around both Waitrose and WHSmith this afternoon.

Waitrose, Bath, is so dark and gloomy inside that seeing which titles are on display would tax the persistence of a polar explorer. I did my best to do a systematic check and could not see any copies.

I then moved on to WHSmith and spotted them there. I took one down and had a leaf through. It's pretty dodgy stuff, in my opinion. I replaced the copy back on the shelf backwards and upside down as at least a temporary fix, and went in search of the store manager.

I showed him the magazine on the shelves and said, "I realise it's not your decision, but please could you tell me why you are selling this title?" He took a look at it and said something like, "I will certainly feed back your concerns. It doesn't seem an appropriate magazine. We get big deliveries and it's very difficult to monitor everything."

He then did something even better. He grabbed the remaining copies and told me he was removing them from sale. I thanked him very much and, shaking hands, we parted company.

During our brief conversation, it became apparent that he knew about the controversy and certainly I needed to provide no explanation for why I was complaining.

Whether this title stays off the shelf in this branch, only time will tell. His decision may well be overridden. I hope not.

The point is that this illustrates that a courteous engagement with a store manager, person to person, may result in immediate action. In most cases it probably wouldn't. But then, what have you to lose except a few minutes of time? And the possibilities of a good outcome are always there.


  1. Good plan. I just bought my copy last night from Waitrose and scurried home for dinner. Perhaps I could go back there and chat to someone about it :)

  2. I had a very similar experience in WHSmith on Saturday. The shop assistant was very pleasant and removed the magazine from sale straight away.
    Sadly when I went back today the mag was back on the shelves. I tried to reason with one member of staff but he managed to be simultaneously smug, condescending and slopey-shouldered. "And who are you, a doctor?" Fuck off.

  3. @Mike:
    "And who are you, a doctor?" to which any answer means your concerns about the magazine can be dismissed out of hand:
    If you answer "No", then you are unqualified to comment.
    If you answer "Yes", then you feel threatened by a publication which claims to expose your misdeeds and undermine your power.


    1. Only answer to that is 'no I'm a coroner'.

  4. You could just say you won't tell him...