Friday, June 19, 2009

Tesco's Embarrassing Father's Day Display

I'm not sure what word best describes British grocery chain Tesco's decision to include one particular book as part of its special Father's Day book display.

Should I call it ironic, or should I call it stupid, that someone in charge at Tesco think's it's a good idea to include a book about a man who imprisoned his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and had 7 children with her in a display of books that should especially appeal to British fathers? I think I'm leaning toward stupid, especially after reading the company's explanation for how this all happened.

The Telegraph has all the ridiculous details:
Tesco has hit back at the complaints, saying it would smack of censorship to remove certain books because some people found them offensive.

A spokesman said: "It's a book about a true crime and fathers and people in general are interested in things like this, books about the war, serial killers etc.

"It's not a vulgar or grotesque book. It's a serious book about a very serious crime.

"It would be touching on censorship if we removed it. Where would we draw the line? Would you like us to go through every DVD we sell removing those that some may find offensive?

"Tesco are comfortable selling this book. Crime fiction and non-fiction are very popular. This was a high-profile case that occurred in recent times.

"I wouldn't be comfortable buying it as a Father's Day gift, but I wouldn't want to tell other people not to. No-one is being forced to buy it."

However, the supermarket chain later changed its policy.

“It was never our intention to cause offence to any of our customers. It was placed there by mistake and has been removed," a spokesman said.
As can be seen from from the last sentence quoted above, someone with a bit of common sense actually does work in Tesco management - they found that person just in the nick of time, don't you think? As far as I'm concerned, though, the damage is done - all that chatter about censorship and then claiming it was all a big mistake smacks of simple butt-covering. Maybe the PR manager needs to be sacked?

(Photo is of Josef Fritzl, the despicable man whose crimes are featured in the book in question.)


  1. Except for the last comment, the comments all sound like they don't even understand why this might be a really bad idea for a Father's Day display.

  2. That's what I found so strange about this whole thing, Alissa. They acted like it was all about censorship - not about their strange product placement goof. That's why I really think that "stupid" fits.

  3. ...that's hilarious. But scary (though totally credible) that fear of political incorrectness engenders that degree of idiocy.

  4. Not to mention that they "censor" (I think of it as something the government does) every day in their decisions of what to carry and what not to carry.

    My grandmother, bless her heart, was a part-time librarian in her small town and she exercised her power as a censor in the decisions of what to buy and what not to buy. She didn't order a copy of some Howard Fast book because she thought there was too much stuff about immigrants. Sheesh.

    At her funeral, the priest talked about how she was such a sweet, giving woman who always thought of others and I laughed, along with my cousins. We loved our grandmother and she was a neat lady but she was the card-playing, beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking, National-Enquirer-reading grandma, not the sweet, giving one!

  5. Whoever put it there in the first place had a dark sense of humor.

    Happy Father's Day, Sam.