Saturday, 2 August 2014
Somewhere around 1965 I was taken ill in the middle of the night. I had completely forgotten about the incident until today when I was thinking about the department store John Lewis and the remarkable service I used to get from George Henry Lee which was their Liverpool Branch back then. I had shopped there independently since I was 16 as had my parents before me. The doctor was called in the middle of the night and the next morning an ambulance arrived to take me to the nearby hospital (where I had been born and had subsequently worked for a while). This took me a little by surprise (I didn't even possess a dressing gown). I rang George Henry Lee and asked if they could send a dressing gown and some pyjamas to the ward. A couple of hours later one of the young men from the menswear department arrived on the ward with a green paisley dressing gown: the perfect choice. I have no idea what the pyjamas were like (I have always had a detestation of wearing clothes in bed). Many years later that young man was still working in the menswear department and I was still buying clothes from him.
When my Uncle who lived on Anglesey was taken in to Bangor Hospital about 9 or 10 years ago he needed extra pyjamas and a dressing gown and, as I was over 500 miles away I wasn't in a position to do anything immediately. So I rang the M & Co branch in Bangor (in those days it was Mackay's). I told them what I needed and said that I would try and arrange for a taxi to collect it (how I would manage to get a taxi to do that without cash I wasn't sure). The assistant asked me to call back in a short while. I did and she had arranged the whole thing. One of her colleagues with a car was going home shortly after and she would go to the hospital and take the clothes to the ward for me. For the record I wrote to the head office and expressed my appreciation.
I have never ceased to be loyal to John Lewis nor to M & Co nor to sing their praises.
I wouldn't mind betting that even with though sales are so the impersonal these days those two companies would still help out in a crisis. I would like to think that they are not alone. Just don't try and ask Amazon!