Thursday, 27 June 2013

Dear Argos

You have to give credit where the good stuff is due. I shot this email off this afternoon and the matter was sorted in less than an hour. British industry might yet hold off Amazon. If only every company was as considerate. I should point out that apparently there isn't a company-wide policy about removing the seating in all Argos stores. It seems that this is specific to my local Argos.

However, for the record, this is the letter that turned wheels.
To: John Waldren, Managing Director, Argos UK.
From: Stan Madeley

Dear John,

You don’t know me from Adam but, unlike Adam, I am your bread and butter. I am your typical Argos shopper and would wear your tattoo with pride if such things were compulsory and not indicative of the hoi polloi.

But enough with my being polite… I have serious business to discuss and you need to hammer down on this issue before you haemorrhage sales. These observations will help save your company.

The reason I’m writing to the top is to inform you that somewhere down the executive ladder, some halfwit is making decisions from off half a rung. Which staple-brained executive decided to remove the seating from all branches of Argos? Don’t your people even understand your core business?

I was in my local Argos yesterday (a new Amazon eReader and some spoons) and I was told by incredulous staff (they quietly mumbled ‘dumb policy’) that ‘head office’ (i.e. your lot) had ordered the removal of all seating because we (i.e. ordinary punters) were ‘lingering too long’. Members of staff are also on shorter chains and have been told to process orders more quickly so the seating won’t be required or missed.

Don’t you understand that the seating was the very reason why many people shop at Argos? Do you know how many times I’ve heard older relatives say: ‘Let’s go and buy it from Argos. At least we can have a sit down…’

Removing the seating from Argos is like Costa removing the coffee, Boots removing the ointments, or WH Smith removing the tragically silent women with eyes hiding years of untold suffering and hurt from behind the tills. Sitting down is an important part of the Argos retail experience and some might even say THE most important part. My wife, Sandra (56), has very fragile ankles and she swore by Argos simply because of your seating. Was it harming your store that people were lingering longer among your promotional material?

I suppose this idea was dreamed up by some strong-thighed youth with a fashionable beard and a Saxo GTi parked outside. But what about those of us stuck shifting wife and luggage on the buses and trains? What about people who walk across town to Argos thinking we can have a breather before taking our place in queue B? Not all of us are equipped to live the life of a Jamaican sprinter.

Look, John, we’re all in a tight financial squeeze and you should be doing everything you can to make us linger a little longer. Don’t take away the chairs. Install some sofas and a coffee bar! Think laterally. It will be the secret of businesses going forwards. Encourage people to put their feet us as you subject them to clever marketing. You’re lucky to have people lingering. Some poor bastards can’t even sell sunlight in the current retail environment.

All levity aside: between myself, my friends and my family, we spend a hell of a lot of money with Argos but you’re about to lose all that to Amazon because of this insane short-sighted policy.

Hope you see the light and, indeed, see this email before it intercepted by the anti-seating cabal clearly operating at the highest levels of Argos.


Stan Madeley


  1. Agreed!

    Although i don't remember seats when it was Green Shield Stamps....

  2. I didn't even know (until now) that Argos used to be Green Shield Stamps. And that is now the 11th most interesting thing I've discovered this week.

    Glad to have got an answer but if they manage to turn their business around by introducing cafes into every store, I'll be annoyed if I don't get a percentage, even in Green Shield stamps.

  3. I used to loathe the stamps...

    Licking and sticking endless stamps into endless books...

    Miles of the things spewing out of the machine at Fine Fare when we did the weekly shop...

    And then standing in endless queues in the stores to get some old worthless tat....

    It always seemed that when you had 37½ books the catalogue was full of priceless valuables if you only had 38 books... but by the time you collected 40 books there was fuck all that you wanted... :(

  4. I'm only very dimly aware that they existed. Don't think I ever had the chance to lick stamps but it actually sounds fun. I imagine shopping was much more fun back then before everybody got too serious about being swish and ultra modern.