Welcome to our new weekly column with Russ “chords of gold” Palmer. This week, he writes with grave concern to Top Shop…
(and here’s a song to listen to while reading this incident…)
Dear Mr Topman,
May I first say that I am a big fan of your shops, whatever the current fad or fashion is, you can guarantee that that you have the clothes that will make me look just like everybody else.
I buy most of my clothes from your establishment (although I must admit I do tend to favour the Gap for my slacks). I must praise you in the current climate of vintage clothes for making clothes that look really old but are actually new, I begrudge paying for second hand clothes in vintage shops that for all I know people may have fornicated in.
I am afraid though, that this e-mail is not just to congratulate you on your untarnished success. I am writing to voice my grave concerns about the workings of an item that I purchased in one of your shops a few months ago. On one of my many jaunts around your shop, I spotted a very nice looking belt, that was made of a black material not dissimilar to that of a hardwearing kitchen carpet, it had a shiny silver buckle and a roller clamp buckle.
Now I’m sure you can see where this letter is going as you have probably received many letters describing similar situations as my own. I wore this belt on a few occasions and found that it held my trousers up rather well and provided a nice segue from slacks to cardigan. A couple of times I noticed that the roller clamp was a little stiff and seemed a little flimsy, but thought no more of it.
If only I have paid more attention, I would not have found myself in such a perilous situation.
I was wearing the belt at work with my smart slacks and Topman shirt as I was about to give my department a presentation on the importance of forward planning. This was my big chance to prove myself to the managers that I was a confident public speaker and a definite promotion-candidate. I had worked for weeks to perfect this presentation and was so worried about it that I had lost a bit of weight, hence the need for the belt. I was in the board room, and I was ready; I checked my hair; wiped my shirt free of specks and tightened my belt as tight as it would go.
The room filled with important colleagues and the nerves kicked in. I started my presentation and it was going ok but my nerves were visible and I could sense that I was not reaching my full potential, so I called a quick 10 minute bathroom break. The nerves had fully kicked in now and I ran to the bathroom as my stomach had decided to rebel against my promotion hopes. I kicked open the bathroom cubicle and tried desperately to undo my belt but the roller clip had jammed, I fumbled fruitlessly for a few minutes until I finally noticed that I had defecated myself. For a further 9 minutes I struggled to undo this belt, although now the pursuit was less frantic as, shall we say, the horse had already bolted.
Finally after using my keys to dislodge the roller clamp I was able to remove my soiled undergarments and throw them in the bin, and due to a fortuitous firmness of the offending motion I was able to salvage my slacks. After a bit of a freshen up I was able to return to finish my presentation although the lack of undergarments and the faint bathroomy smell did undermine my confidence somewhat.
Now I am not holding this belt responsible for the fact that I was passed over for promotion, as ironically I should have done more forward planning in the toileting department. But I would like to let you know that I was very disappointed with this belt and I feel that this situation would warrant a warning label on the inside of the belt stating:
“Please allow adequate time for removal, when attempting bowel evacuation.”
Or something similar. At least then I would know that something good has come from my embarrassment and nobody would ever have to go through this situation again.
So please could you let me know if this was just a fault with this one item, or whether other people have complained about this happening to them, and whether you plan to implement a warning on such items? Please respond as soon as possible as this incident has left me a little weary of your products.
REPLY FROM TOPSHOP
Thank you for your email received 23 October 2007.
I was sorry to hear of your comments.
I can confirm that we have not had any other complaints with regards to this item. However I have passed your comments on to our Buying Department for their reference.
Topman Customer Service
They didn’t even apologize… or at least offer me some new pants, how rude…