Shop at Your Leisure

Discussion
Feb 05, 2010

By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire

By definition, especially as originally devised,
pajamas are leisurewear. Also by definition, as we do not work and shop
simultaneously, shopping is a leisure activity. Ergo, pajamas may be considered
appropriate shopping attire.

Not at Tesco, however,
where a branch has posted a ban at the entrance defining pajamas as nightwear
that may be offensive to other shoppers. Notices outside the store near
Cardiff, in Wales, warn that "Footwear must be worn at all times and no
nightwear is permitted."

A Tesco spokesman told the BBC News that
he was not aware of any other Tesco stores having to put up similar signs.

“We’re not a nightclub with a strict dress
code, and jeans and trainers are of course more than welcome," he said. “We
do, however, request that customers do not shop in their PJs or nightgowns.
This is to avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others.”

Tabloid newspaper, The Daily Mirror, reported
that a 24-year-old mother of two was asked to leave by a security guard.

"I’ve got lovely pairs of pajamas, with bears
and penguins on them," she said. "I’ve worn my best ones today, just so
I look tidy … I was going to buy £100 worth of stuff in here today and
they’ve made me leave my trolley in the aisle. So they’ve lost out."

Describing the ban as "ridiculous" and "pathetic,"
she added that it was a regular habit. "It’s not as if they’re going to
fall down or anything like that. They should be happy because you’re going
to spend all that money."

The Mirror spoke to one other mother
who agreed and called the policy "pathetic" as well as one who expressed
surprise at the ban because "it happens so often no one takes any notice."

Meanwhile, the shoeless-ban drew some media
attention after Dave Richards of Derbyshire (many miles from Cardiff),
who said he hasn’t worn shoes for the past seven years, was turned away
by several branches of the supermarket chain. A request for an explanation
to chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, elicited similar response from the
customer services department that other customers might be offended. Although
Tesco doesn’t have a national policy around wearing shoes, their spokesman
said, "Most of our customers would expect to see other customers wearing
some kind of footwear." But he did offer to "discuss the issue" if Mr Richards
has a "medical reason" for not wearing shoes.

Discussion Questions:
What’s your view on customer dress codes at retail? What would be the
reaction to such ban on pajamas in the U.S.?

[Author’s commentary]
One (nameless) RetailWire colleague says "most of the boys are
still wearing their pants below their boxers these days so in some ways
they are more covered wearing the PJs." Other American friends joke about
"getting dressed up to go to Wal-Mart" as they put on old torn jeans
and T-shirts. Which could make you wonder where fashion lines should
be drawn – if at all – and by whom.

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

22 Comments on "Shop at Your Leisure"


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Marc Gordon
Guest
Marc Gordon
11 years 3 months ago

It is a sad state of affairs when corporate polices must mandate what was once common sense.

Bob Phibbs
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I’d be surprised if most clerks in the US noticed someone shopping in bare feet much less would ask them to leave. I think this is a very isolated incident in the great scheme of things at Tesco, from a tightly wound individual trying to manage by exception. I know local coffeehouses that have allowed employees to wear their pjs to work occasionally without bothering anyone. In fact, sales went up. That brought to mind the topless coffee house in NV but that’s for another time….

David Livingston
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I grew up in rural Indiana. The store I worked at was no shoes, no shirt, no problem. However I think footwear and a shirt should be required.

Tesco may have gone a little overboard. Just imagine if Wal-Mart had such policy; Kmart might make a comeback.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
11 years 3 months ago

All right, I’ll bite. First, I suspect the whole flap could only have occurred in Britain to begin with, so it’s moot. The US may be stuffy about some things, but dress code really isn’t one of them. In fact, there’s a whole site (http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/) devoted to the ‘typical’ dress at Walmart, and PJs would be an improvement in many cases. But the shoes thing–I thought that was required for health and sanitary reasons. Whatever happened to “No shoes, no shirt, no service”?

J. Peter Deeb
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

As long as people are covered I don’t see the big deal. Many pajama outfits are certainly more modest than bikini tops, short shorts or jeans with strategically placed holes.

The shoe issue is different as not only are there bacteria issues but there also could be liability for retailers if a customer slips, gets cut, etc.

Sandy Miller
Guest
Sandy Miller
11 years 3 months ago

Tesco or any other retailer can set dress codes for shoppers…even if it is overdone and stupid as this one seems to be.

Rick Moss
Guest
11 years 3 months ago
Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 3 months ago

The shoe regulation I can understand. That’s just gross; but I don’t understand the PJ ban. Have these people been to Venice Beach? I think if Ralph’s had a ban like that, they would lose half of SoCal.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 3 months ago

This is a free country and the slobbing of America appears to be our chosen fashion style. So PJs are in. There are periods of life when we go backwards as we advance. I hope that is true.

Marge Laney
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

These people don’t have enough to do if they have the time to run a fashion police operation. But, hey, if we’re going there I vote to ban midriff baring tops, big pants, tight pants, low slung pants, mom jeans, hats worn backward/sideways, etc. What? Oh, you gotta problem with that? Ok, how about we leave it at “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Should be enough said.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

This is actually hilarious. How can I not jump in?

I lived in Boston for a long time and it was very clearly NEW England…dress codes everywhere (which, interestingly enough, were accompanied by mandated bar and food establishment curfews).

Now I live in Miami. The general requirement is some kind of shoes and some kind of shirt. Period. Pretty much everywhere.

We kind of live in our pajamas, and no one really notices because you can’t quite tell the difference between what we sleep in, what we wear to the beach, and what we wear to the grocery store (no penguin nightgowns to be seen).

Shoes are an obvious “gotta wear them” everywhere. It’s a health/legal thing. Shirts–that’s just a kindness to everyone else. The rest of it? Maybe in Shanghai and the UK, but never here.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Spending five minutes on the peopleofwalmart.com site will convince you that a certain segment of the population hasn’t yet figured out that pajamas, or spandex, or tutus just aren’t the right thing to wear when shopping….

Rick Boretsky
Guest
Rick Boretsky
11 years 3 months ago

I would guess the PJ outfits are a lot classier than 50% of their typical shoppers’ outfits.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Where I live, it seems like kids have “pajama days” at school. My oldest is in kindergarten, so one could understand that, but it seems to happen at least through junior high. If in school, why on earth not retail? Said another way, everyone on this panel is too old to understand!

Actually, come to think of it, why doesn’t some enterprising retailer turn this into a plus? We’re all trying to stimulate the economy, right? How about Pajama Sunday down at the Trader Joe’s? For that matter, the Marina Safeway in San Francisco is famous for its singles scene…how about Lingerie Wednesday?

Mark Burr
Guest
11 years 3 months ago
With Kenny Chesney “No shirt, no shoes, no problem” humming in my brain, everything has its place. His reference point–the beach. Then I was thinking I’d better check my calendar. It’s not April 1st, is it? I suspect not and there is a tremendous winter storm headed for the East, so it’s likely still February. But it is Friday, so a little humor and light discussion does fit. As mentioned, one only has to visit your local Wal-Mart to discover the latest in shopping attire, as well as the need for Wal-Mart to expand into low cost dentistry. Shoes–gotta have those. Health and safety reasons dictate shoes at least of some sort. Although I doubt that flip flops worn almost all year round really in many cases fit the reasons for requiring shoes in the first place. I won’t argue that point either but it would make for good Friday discussion. In a country fraught with litigation over the smallest infraction over perceived personal freedom and expression, one small instance such as what occurred at… Read more »
Bernice Hurst
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I’m loving it, now who said that? (Don’t answer, I do know, am just making a teensy little joke as we’re having Friday fun.) But just to throw a spanner in the works, and not to side at all with Tesco, perhaps what they were really getting at was discouraging people from getting straight out of bed and coming to the store in the same rumpled, sleepy, sweaty, smelly pajamas they’d had on all night….

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I’m with Marc: too bad common sense can’t prevail! That said, this is a real problem in the U.S. Over the past few months, I’ve spotted a teenage girl wearing silk boxer shorts that showed the bottom of her bum topped off with a short tee shirt and flip flops, and I’ve witnessed girls running around dressed in pajama bottoms and house shoes on several occasions. Guess where every one of these sightings occurred? In AIRPORTS. All aboard?

Jesse Spungin
Guest
Jesse Spungin
11 years 3 months ago

I believe there needs to be some boundaries in place and I think in the U.S., this issue would get some attention but really to just fill an open news slot.

Jeff Bulger
Guest
Jeff Bulger
11 years 3 months ago

He hasn’t worn shoes in 7 years?

Really?

And we are taking his opinion on ANYTHING?

Really?

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
11 years 3 months ago

Hurray for Tesco! I am often offended and embarrassed when I see the way people dress when they go out. They should be embarrassed to present themselves that way. Thank you Tesco, for putting dignity before profits!

By the way, this is why the most popular YouTube video is currently a song that goes “Pants falling down, pants falling down, look’n like a fool with your pants falling down.” Society is sick of sloppy looking people who don’t care about anything but what’s comfortable to them.

PJ Walker
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Very interesting….

Demanding that customers wear some type of footwear is understandable, but what defines pyjamas nowadays? And what about other types of clothing? I’ve seen men and women shopping in their workout clothes; still drenched in sweat and odor, actually trying on clothes in the dressing room.

I think that this is one of those issues where the call has to be made at the local level.

Scott Knaul
Guest
Scott Knaul
11 years 3 months ago

I’m not sure what to say about this. People are allowed to dress however they want, really. As long as it does not constitute a health risk (shoes, not bare feet) or and indecency issue (I know, very subjective) then I don’t know how we can dictate the dress of a customer. Business must be really good if they can willingly turn people away from their store.

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