Shop at Your Leisure
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.
What’s your view on customer dress codes at retail? What would be the
reaction to such ban on pajamas in the U.S.?
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.
- Tesco ban on shoppers in pyjamas – BBC
- Tesco bans people shopping in pyjamas
– Daily Mirror
- Tesco bans barefoot shoppers from stores
– The Independent