M&S refuse to answer reasonable questions

Mon 20 July CopyThis is the full response I have received from M&S this afternoon (at 15:58).

‘I’ve checked with the team and nothing has changed since we were last in contact. We are currently working with our supplier to monitor numbers for this season and will only sell grouse if the numbers are strong enough.’

M&S intend to sell Red Grouse this year: they do not reveal their ‘industry-leading’ Code of Practice, comment on the lead levels that would be expected to be found in their meat or answer any other questions about the estate etc.

M&S, I shopped in one of your filling station shops this morning realising that it might be the last time I shopped with you. It was. You’ve lost a very regular customer because you haven’t been open, you haven’t been straight and you haven’t lived up to your promises about sustainability. Goodbye, this probably will hurt you more than it hurts me.


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24 Replies to “M&S refuse to answer reasonable questions”

  1. "Strong enough" means cheap enough. In poor years prices would be too high,and the supply too unreliable.

  2. I gave up buying anything at M&S a while back precisely because of their constant attempts to sell grouse. Doesn't look like I'll be back any time soon, does it?

    M&S seem to have this notion that they are a 'Great British Institution' and are thereby insulated in some way from practical reality; they're not, and there's nothing they sell that can't be bought elsewhere, often cheaper. Time to wake up and smell the coffee, guys!

  3. ... ‘industry-leading’ Code of Practice, but they won't make it available to the public?

    The public will be forgiven for wondering why the secrecy? If they are confident in offering food with high levels of toxic lead in it then provided they put warning labels on the packaging there's nothing to worry about from the corporate perspective is there?

    The Board of Directors of M&S have been encouraged to listen to public opinion and in these uncertain times one can only assume that some of their shareholders ain't too worried about loss of sales and long standing customers?

    As you say Mark, a shame because once loyalty is lost it rarely returns particularly as trust is a crucial aspect for the public at the moment?

    Conversely, it's better than dumping in stink pits / burning or offering to food banks?

    1. It isn't better. Lots of people think grouse are shot to eat. Myth #6. The key issue remains public awareness, and M&S selling a product which is a known danger to human health is unhelpful. As well as being reckless on the part of their Board, who may face civil action in future.

  4. Looks like it's all downhill for M&S at the moment. Recent stories include this ('plunging' sales);


    and incorrectly stated sales numbers reported on the front page of the financial times today;


  5. It's easy to post a comment on their facebook expressing your decision not to shop there. I have - it can't do any harm! page https://www.facebook.com/MarksandSpencer/?fref=ts

  6. I have contacted M&S on this matter 3 times and received one response, which failed to address the issues. I have withdrawn my custom 2 months now and it is unlikely that my confidence will be restored . M&S are exploiting our native wildlife for profit and this is not acceptable to me.

  7. What is the big deal about it all !! It's up to the shops what they sell and for all you know it could be popular ! Would you do the same if it was Tescoe , Sainsbury ,Asda or waitrose ? !! They don't have TO Answer to you lot !! It's got nothing to do with any one what the sell !!

    1. Andrea, as we both clearly know, the power of one's argument will always judged by the number of exclamation marks used. However, exclamation mark inflation being what it is, i'm afraid two is no longer quite enough. So next time you delight us with a comment, could I gently suggest you use three (i.e. !!!) or (and, though perhaps considered a touch gauche at present, I'm quite sure that the inflationary trajectory will continue) four (i.e.!!!!)? Perhaps we can also enter into a dialogue concerning your fascinating use/disuse of capitalisation? I've really not seen anything quite like it outside some extremely rare misprinted first editions of the King James Bible. Wonderful stuff!!!

      1. I think that's my best collection of dislikes to date, and for such wordy smart-arse-ery to boot; be afully proud!

  8. As suggested by Wildhils, I have posted on their Facebook page. I thought a picture of an X-rayed grouse might encourage discussion but unfortunately it was was deleted within seconds.

  9. Just written to M&S to inform them I will no longer buy work clothes or food from them until they agree to a permanent Red Grouse ban & not hedge the issue as detailed above.

  10. This is the very disappointing response I got from M&S. Their Plan A needs a Plan B.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Ellen
    Date: Sunday, 10 July 2016
    Subject: M&S Ref:398109
    To: M&S Executive Office

    Dear Emma,
    You seem to have missed the point of my email. It is not the Grouse numbers which are of concern, it is that of the Hen Harrier and other birds of prey.
    You also have not answered any of the questions outlined in my email.
    I would appreciate it greatly if you could re read those questions and answer them accordingly.
    Most importantly, as stated in my previous email I would like to read your codes of conduct to ensure that I am not supporting illegal or immoral practices.

    Kind Regards,

    On Sunday, 10 July 2016, M&S Executive Office wrote:

    Dear Ellen
    Ref: 398109
    Thank you for contacting us.

    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.

    Thanks or your comments regarding this.

    Kind regards

    Emma Jopson
    Executive Office
    Your M&S Customer Service

    On 09/07/2016 12:03, Ellen wrote:

    I have been following the debate online with regards to the stocking of Grouse meat in your stores and the potential implications this has on the wider environment, in particular other species.

    Is it true that you intend to stock Grouse meat in your stores after the 12th of August and if so, how will you ensure that the Grouse you stock will be safe to eat in regards to its lead content?

    Are you also aware that since 2007 not a single Hen Harrier has nested in the Yorkshire Dales National Park as a result of Grouse shooting?

    Finally, why do you believe that it is not necessary for you to publish your 'industry leading' code of practice that you have agreed with the shooting industry?

    As a loyal M&S customer I would be interested to read these practices to ensure that I am not contributing towards immoral and illegal practices.



  11. "immoral and illegal practices"

    While you're about it, ask them about cotton, pesticides, water abstraction, conditions and pay for suppliers' workers, halal, kosher, fish harvesting and the amount of food waste they have generated in the process of gaining your loyalty

  12. And it's goodbye to me ....and my Cambridgeshire based m&s loving family. Enough is enough you've shown no understanding or care at all of this very serious issue and are clearly catering towards the few roast grouse loving customers with no conscience rather than the many many customers who actually do care about what they are putting in their mouths. It's a shame you don't make as much effort to see what your customers want to eat and why as much as your efforts to move with the times and fashions of the day with your clothes ranges...another area I'll be avoiding from now on. I'll write to m&s to repeat my sentiments and make sure my friends and family know your stand on this matter.


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