Har­rods’ Fa­ther Christ­mas only re­wards big spenders

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Katie Mor­ley Con­sumer Af­fairs ed­i­tor

IT is a mag­i­cal Christ­mas tra­di­tion adored by chil­dren, but this year Har­rods has de­cided they will only be al­lowed to sit on Fa­ther Christ­mas’s knee if their par­ents have spent enough in the store.

For the first time, the Knights­bridge depart­ment store has said its an­nual Christ­mas grotto is by “in­vi­ta­tion only”, mak­ing it ac­ces­si­ble only to reg­u­lar Har­rods Re­wards cus­tomers who are deemed to have splashed enough cash over the past 12 months.

The Daily Tele­graph has been con­tacted by Har­rods shop­pers with chil­dren who say they are so an­gry at be­ing de­nied ac­cess to Fa­ther Christ­mas that they are pre­pared to boy­cott the store.

One mother, who claimed she had spent around £12,000 at Har­rods over the past year, said she “was made to feel like c---” af­ter staff told her she was not a big enough cus­tomer to take her chil­dren to the grotto.

She claimed that she was told by a mem­ber of staff that even peo­ple who had spent £15,000 in a year would not gain ac­cess.

Har­rods de­clined to re­veal what cus­tomers would need to spend in or­der to be in­vited to the grotto, claim­ing a “range of fac­tors”, in­clud­ing fre­quency of vis­its, was taken into ac­count.

An­other mother who was de­nied en­try said the pol­icy had put an end to a fam­ily tra­di­tion of 20 years. The woman was a Har­rods Re­wards cus­tomer who spent around £250 over the past year and was told this was not enough to qual­ify.

Par­ents who were de­nied ac­cess felt salt was rubbed into the wound by the fact that Re­wards cus­tomers who qual­i­fied for the sought-af­ter tick­ets will be al­lowed to take up to eight guests to meet Fa­ther Christ­mas. How­ever, they

‘We are over­whelmed with re­quests … we sim­ply can­not meet the de­mand’

will be charged £20 per child on en­try, which in­cludes a visit to the grotto as well as an “ex­clu­sive gift”.

A Har­rods spokesman said: “The Har­rods Christ­mas grotto ex­pe­ri­ence is, this year, avail­able by in­vi­ta­tion only.

“We care hugely about mak­ing a visit to the grotto as mag­i­cal as pos­si­ble, there­fore tick­ets are ex­tremely lim­ited. Each year, we are over­whelmed by re­quests for the Har­rods grotto ex­pe­ri­ence, which we make ev­ery ef­fort to fa­cil­i­tate. Un­for­tu­nately, we sim­ply can­not meet the de­mand.”


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