Sat Mar 28, 2020 London

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Editorial comment from Matthew Steeples Our editor tells it like it is and he rarely minces his words

The Poppy Pariahs

Matthew Steeples names and shames the retail giants who won’t be selling Royal British Legion poppies this year; they include Boots, Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Tesco, Waitrose and Wholefoods


Even ‘Murky’ Meghan Markle – down under in New Zealand on tour – is sporting one right now; the humble poppy. A mark of respect to those who fought so we didn’t end up living under a regime of terror, most surprisingly, isn’t available at a single supermarket in Belgravia, Chelsea, Fulham or Knightsbridge.


Today, I visited Sainsbury’s in Elizabeth Street, Belgravia in the hope of buying a Royal British Legion poppy. I asked at the counter and was met with: “We don’t sell those things.” I then telephoned the company’s press office and was told: “Our employees got the wrong end of the stick.”


Subsequently, by email, a media relations executive working at the firm, Jordan Grant, replied and commented: “We can reassure customers poppies will be available in store this week.” Given it is already 29th October and Remembrance Sunday is just 13 days away, this is hardly acceptable – especially given the store is already selling Christmas decorations (Christmas Day is 57 days away).


Next, in frustration, I visited Tesco on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea. Situated directly next to the National Army Museum and close to the Royal Hospital – home to the legendary and widely respected Chelsea Pensioners. On asking for a poppy, a till operative lackadaisically remarked: “We do not sell those things. We are a supermarket.”


Waitrose Belgravia – commonly known as “Celebrity Waitrose” due to the likes of John Cleese and Lady Helen Taylor being regulars –presented a similar but worse response. The customer service desk operative at the flagship store told me: “We do not condone war so do not sell poppies. It is against our company policy.”


A friend, on my behalf, visited Wholefoods and was told: “We don’t know what poppies are” (they, at least, suggested donating to a homeless charity). She also got told at Boots: “We don’t sell things like that” but did find a lovely pair of Sikh gentlemen selling poppies in the Fulham Broadway underground station. She gave them £25.


A phone call to Selfridges was met with: “We do not supply poppies” but Harrods came through. Their customer service desk call handler announced: “We will be selling poppies later this week. We like to support the Royal British Legion.”


Shame on the high street retailers of Britain. Not a poppy in sight and not an ounce of support for the heroes who’ve saved us. This is an utter disgrace and it should be named as such.


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27 comments on “The Poppy Pariahs”

  1. I would like to congratulate my dear best friend Matthew Steeples on highlighting such an under discussed cause. Both my grandparents defended this great country bravely in the war and I am outraged as a patriotic member of the United Kingdom that only The Steeple Times are highlighting the injustice in this corrupt, ageist, unpatriotic, anti-Semitic, very un-British way of behaving. I am very shocked more people have not felt outraged about the lack of retailers selling the wonderful Royal British Legion poppy.

    1. James Stunt – You have shown you are quite the contrary to the “nasty person” that evil bitch Lady Brady tried to portray you as in this post. Well said sir.

    2. I find it appalling that no stores have poppies for sale, I have not seen a single on in Chelsea, all these poor men and women fought for our freedom and now are not even being recognised, well done Matthew for recognising them, shame on the supermarkets and all the chain stores who don’t sell them!

  2. I back Mr Steeples on this motion on highlighting this matter.
    How is it that these companies do not make mandatory to sell the remembrance poppies in all of their stores?
    Their response to this matter I’m sure will be along the lines of, We allow each store to make the decision whether or not to sell the remembrance poppy as it may cause offence to the employees and customers.
    But in turn these huge companies are happy to push Easter,Christmas and any other holiday months before the holiday but not a single worry about the offence caused.

  3. What an effing disgrace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These shops should be boycotted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Close them ALL down NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. You are a mental case. I cannot believe you waste time supporting this ridiculous cause – WARMONGER. You should do the decent thing and help dear Gerry and Kate McCann help find their beloved daughter Madeleine. FIND MADELEINE, FIND HER NOW. Shame on you. Shame on you again and shame on you yet again. FIND MADELEINE< FIND HER NOW!!!

    1. It is pleasant to see that the Broodmoor hospital have moved into the modern era by allowing it patients the use of the internet for an hour a day.

      Hurry Gillian only 45 minutes left to find out where to buy a real unicorn that passes golden nuggets…….. STOP TALKING TO ME…..

      Go and find Madeleine’s corpse youself because she is dead, dead, DEAD. There is no evidence the parents are lifting a finger to do so and she was NOT abducted. The dogs say she was DEAD in 5a. The dogs say the McCann’s had a rotting CORPSE in the boot of their hire car.

    3. There is only one Mental case around here, and there are no prizes for guessing who.
      You are a complete loony tune and an insult to the memory of ex service men and women.
      Had to said.

  5. I asked for a poppy in Waitrose too and the woman on the till said the same thing. It’s not about war. Ignorant people seem to have taken over the asylum but then again, look, we live in the land where Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are our top political forces.

  6. Unforgivable in any year, but the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 makes it particularly APPALLING not to be commemorating those who have died for our freedom.
    2% of the British population died in WW1, so that’s 4 % of all males. God knows what % of men between, say, 15 and 50 years old, because they were the ines who died. And we can’t honour them? APPALLING.

  7. Dear Matthew

    Its a shame that today history is rewritten and the great sacrifices that many young men and women took to protected the freedoms we all take for granted today. I bet all of the above retailers do sell Children in Need or Comic Relief when required but why not a poppy?

    Thank you for working hard on the issue to publish and name those who wish not to remember on the 11 hour of the 11 day of the 11 month.


  8. Shocked. I had no idea these stores are not selling poppies this year. I suppose the poppy sellers are banned from selling in their foyers as well are they? And to think our forefathers, my own included in both world wars and friends in latter day conflicts, gave their lives for scum like these. I’ll eMail each head office with the grave numbers of my Great Grandfathers, Grandfather, one school friend and one drinking buddy from my youth so their board can stamp on their graves too. Because this is how it feels to this simpleton. SCUM.

    1. I don’t know what the position is of Marks & Sparks. But yesterday I was able to buy my poppy from a Chelsea Pensioner, resplendent in his red tunic, selling his poppies in the entrance to M&S.
      He seemed to be doing roaring business too.

  9. Hi there. Check with BL as they sent a press release saying they had no refusals to sell poppies this year. Might be them and not the supermarkets.

  10. Well just on my way to the office, but just had to give my two bobs worth, so now I’m going to be late.
    I’m absolutely gob smacked about this, it’s an absolute outrage.
    It makes me feel sick that people can just forget what these guys and gals did for us during the war years. Only just recently my brother found actual footage of my uncle Hartley being evacuated on one of the boats from Dunkirk, he never really got over the horrors he went through during those years. My own father served in the Royal navy during the war, and never really spoke about any of it, on the odd occasion one of us brought it up, he would change the subject, or leave the room on some pretense.
    A simple thing like selling a bloody poppy, has now become a big problem for god’s sake, they should be sold absolutely everywhere, even in schools, so we don’t forget them.
    It’s not much to ask to pop on a poppy and have a minute silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Is it? LEST WE FORGET.

  11. “We don’t condone war?” Says the robot. Well nobody does you idiotic woman it’s just something you have to do
    sometimes. We all fight for something sometime anyway. The ironry is she is only stood there BECAUSE of war! Stupid much?

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