As always if you need to know more about WDDTY click here.
If you have been following the WDDTY saga over the last couple of months you will be aware that calls have been made for supermarkets to stop selling the magazine. This is not an attempt to ban WDDTY, or infringe on freedom of speech, but rather to ask large chain supermarkets to act responsibly with the products they choose to sell to their customers. We have witnessed supermarkets making effort to remove offensive lads mags and insulting Halloween costumes from sale – so why not dangerous health advice?
So far Waitrose have been the only supermarket to step up – announcing in early October that they would not be selling WDDTY due to public concerns. Admitted, a lot of attention had been focused on Tesco to make the first move, something driven by both the fact that they are the largest supermarket stockists and that they had a rather appalling way of dealing with customer complaints.
The initial call for people to complain generated a lot of activity but common sense couldn’t seem to find its way past the ‘copy and paste’ wall erected by Tesco customer service. I decided the next step was to try and bypass customer service and contact Philip Clarke (Tesco CEO) directly. So I sent him an email titled ‘concerns over public health’ – outlining the extent of the campaign, why it was happening, why it is important that Tesco listen to concerns and asking for a meeting to be able to discuss the issues. Within 24 hours I received a reply from CEO offices confirming “I am currently looking into your concerns and will contact you again shortly”.
I proceeded to send further emails in the coming weeks updating my CEO office contact on events such as WDDTY being found actively promoted in a Tesco in Hull and when Waitrose announced they would no longer stock the magazine. Each email got me a response apologising that it was taking so long but that they were looking into my concerns. I was optimistic that Tesco were indeed taking matters seriously. Then I received this:
“Thanks for your patience whilst we have been reviewing the details of your complaint.
I am sorry to say that our position on this matter has not changed. Whilst we have given the matter our full consideration, there are no plans to stop the sale of the What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You in our stores.
Although we cannot be held responsible for the editorial content, we do stock this publication as there is demand for it and by not stocking the magazine, we would be removing the choice of a legally produced product.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to share your views with us and I am sorry for the disappointment my response will cause you.”
And here is the important bit – “we do stock this publication as there is demand for it”
Tesco choose profit over public health. The fact that they are not willing to discuss concerns formally is insulting and only further highlights their motivation. Even high-lighting how hypocritical and contradictory they are behaving towards their corporate values is not enough to make them turn their back on what I can only assume is a small profit driven by WDDTY. Tesco are currently running a campaign with Unicef and Pampers called 1 pack = 3 vaccines – on one hand helping to secure tetanus vaccinations in the developing world and on the other selling lies from an aggressively anti-vaccine magazine.
This is unacceptable behaviour from a company that lists one of its three big ambitions in society is to ‘Improve health’ by ‘Helping and encouraging our colleagues and customers to live healthier lives’. I don’t see how selling medical treatments that have no evidence and actively promoting them above conventional medicine fits into this ambition. The deeper into their policy you go the more contradictory it gets:
“We can create a store environment that encourages and promotes healthier choices”
“By working with leading health research organisations we will see how we can support vital medical research”
“We’re profiling our products against clear health criteria”
Essentially, Tesco have made a big mistake. They have opted for profit over public health and by doing so have damaged their reputation.
Please re-blog, tweet and spread the word to raise awareness.