M&S behaving very strangely and very badly

Mon 20 July Copy

I’m losing confidence in M&S and I guess many of you are too. They are behaving in a very shifty manner – nothing like the openness I would hitherto have expected of them.

Is M&S going to sell Red Grouse in any of its stores this year? It’s not a difficult question and it can be answered with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’.

There are other questions M&S should be prepared to answer about its industry-leading, but secret, Code of Conduct which they previously misleadingly hinted had RSPB endorsement but which the RSPB have not seen.

This blog started asking questions of M&S in 2013 , and in this year back in May but we have had no answers.

Earlier this week when I asked again I was told by M&S that they would get back to me ‘shortly’. Well, they haven’t yet and are clearly hoping this can all blow over before their AGM in London on Tuesday.

M&S you aren’t answering any of our questions and you don’t seem to have any answers to perfectly reasonable consumer questions. Why should we trust you? And if we don’t trust you, why should we spend our money with you? I can’t think of any reason and you are running out of time to win back that trust. Whoever is doing your public relations is messing it up big time – get your act together, come clean and let us decide whether we want to keep spending our money with you – other high street stores are available.

M&S, have you noticed that over 53,000 people have signed a petition to ban driven grouse shooting completely?

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16 Replies to “M&S behaving very strangely and very badly”

  1. Damage already done by the way that they are handling this and the naive plan to sell grouse meat in the first place. We are already boycotting , and that is extended family, so whilst not big spenders it is significant. In this time of injustice and frustration it helps to be able to focus angst in a direction like this and to spread the word, educate others about what is going on an have an outlet!

  2. M&S comms manager probably thinks your blog does not have influence and so does not matter. They are so wrong.
    Keep up the pressure.
    Another family boycott in place as from your last post.

  3. I think we should try to help persuade M&S , a National Treasure, to change its mind.

    Simply Food (M&S), think the issue is just about sustainable grouse numbers - see below.

    Complicated Food, represented by their customers, know differently. We do not want our simple food to be tainted with lead (a poison); nor do we want to see majestic birds of prey such as Peregrines, Golden Eagles or Hen Harriers shot, poisoned or trapped so that they can turn a profit.

    It is a good time to contact their Chairman.

    From: M&S Executive Office [mailto:chairman@customersupport.marksandspencer.com]
    Sent: 04 July 2016 14:15
    To: mike.whitehouse

    Subject: M&S Ref: 394470/RP

    Dear Mr Whitehouse

    Thank you for your email about M&S selling grouse.

    I appreciate your comments but I feel it is important to explain the following. Last year we worked with independent industry experts and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust to introduce the industry’s first ‘Codes of Practice’ to ensure all our game, including grouse, is sourced to the highest standards of game rearing and moorland management.

    In accordance with this, we are currently working with our supplier to monitor numbers for this year’s season and will only stock grouse if the numbers are strong enough. In compliance with the ‘Codes of Practice’ there are a number of different factors we take into consideration, such as the behavior and practices of the gamekeepers.

    Thanks again for getting in touch and sharing your thoughts with us.


    My e mail to M&S

    Could I possibly see a copy of the “Code of Practice” you refer to, please? - (They said - NO you can't)!

    It is the numbers of Hen Harriers that is the issue and concern here. You, as a Company, could find yourself on the wrong end of public opinion if you are not careful as there is a growing realization that the Grouse industry can only have sufficient numbers of red grouse to supply you with if raptors on moorland are shot, poisoned or trapped.

    I, for one, will not shop again at M&S if you choose to stock grouse meat.


    1. Good work Mike.
      I shall send an email asking why M&S are refusing to publicise their Code of Practice.
      Another outfit hiding in their butts.

    2. Mike, thanks for the email address and your example. I for one will follow it and hope a few thousand others do so as well.

    3. I have also emailed the Chairman at M&S! The more people who do this, the more chance we have of getting them to change their policy.

  4. Looks like we had all better ask the same question. Both in emails and on Twitter.

  5. I'm not a great letter writer but here's my basic attempt to ask M&S a few questions;

    Dear Sir
    I am disappointed to find out that M&S are preparing to sell Red Grouse meat.
    Can I suggest that you take Mark Avery's 'Standing up for Nature' blog seriously - here (link inserted to email).
    The big question is - Why is M&S refusing to publicise their 'industry leading' Code of Practice (to ensure all their game, including Red Grouse, is sourced to the highest standards of game rearing and moorland management)?
    53 000 plus members of the public have recently signed up to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting, many will now be aware of M&S intention to sell grouse meat.
    And then there's the issue of lead-contaminated game meat; will you be labelling the meat as lead-contaminated?
    There's no point hiding in your [grouse] butts, hoping the fuss will go away.
    M&S need to address this issue NOW.
    Andy Holden

  6. I can't say I'm surprised. As a food retailer M & S are a massively overrated brand which is living on past reputation. They are simply not in the same league as Waitrose or Booths.

    'They are behaving in a very shifty manner' Nothing new there then - just ask the mythical chicken farmers of Oakham.

  7. And another has wing-ed it's way. I also asked if M&S considered that protests at stores were a more likely route to resolve this issue rather than any transparency coming from the company.

  8. Dear M&S

    I am writing to express my concern about you selling grouse meat.

    I am sure I do not need to cover the issues relating to unsustainable management of moorland resulting from red grouse shooting. I might have been reassured by your code of practice but you seem unwilling to release it. This is not the type of behaviour that builds trust with customers.

    In addition I would like to be reassured about the lead content of the meat you are selling. Are you going to alert customers about potentially high levels of lead in grouse meat. Again its about customer trust, If you are not drawing customers attention to this then what else are you hiding.

    Until I receive satisfactory answers to these issues I am withdrawing my custom from M&S. This will be inconvenient as I like your food, tend to buy clothes from you including school uniforms and we target motorway stops on M&S services. However this is an issue that matters and there are principles at stake. Trust is the most important of these.

    Do the sustainable thing and disassociate M&S from this industry.
    I would be interested in a response to the points I have raised, if you wish to attempt to regain my trust and custom.

    sent today


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