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Joy to the World … and Please Pay Me!

Just over a month away from Christmas and the festive season is off to a rock and roll start.

This week sees the launch of the annual John Lewis schmaltzy advert (see every one since 2006 here) and after six on December 5 sees the lighting of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree. Be there or be somewhere.

Now, I know most of you are probably fed up with the seasonal sights already, but take note that there’s one thing many haven’t mentioned about Christmas.


Yes, it’s all about the money (as usual). Shops, retailers, manufacturers and more all make a shed load of cash at Christmas. Christmas, along with Singles Days, Black Fridays and Valentines Days are all about generating sales.

Now, most are quite subtle about it but not Harrods. Harrods, the good old retailing brand that is owned by the Qatari Empire, has made clear that Santa is for the rich. It’s not for any old Bob Cratchit or George Bailey. No. Santa is for the rich.


Harrods limits Christmas grotto to £2,000-plus spenders

Harrods “has been accused of “behaving like the Grinch who stole Christmas” by restricting access to its Father Christmas to customers who have spent at least £2,000 in the 170-year-old shop.”


Father Christmas is for every child, no matter how big or small, no matter how rich or poor, no matter what race or creed, no matter if in wealth or need. Father Christmas is for every child.

But hey, if you want a really good Father Christmas, you need money.

So, this has caused quite an outcry. Just a small flavour:


And there’s loads more online.

However, when you open the hood, Harrods are not saying you need to spend £2,000 to see Santa. They’re saying you have to be a loyal customer. Only Green tier 2 or above Harrods Reward cardholders are allowed to see Santa in-store. In other words, they are rewarding loyal customers for being loyal with a Santa reward, rather than letting in any old hoi-polloi. Are they right or wrong?

Personally, in business and in life, I would say they’re in the right. In a world where loyalty should be rewarded, they should allow in only their best customers and give them special payback for being special customers.

Anyways, in light of the arguments against them, they’ve agreed to allow 160 lower-spending families the chance to visit the grotto. Bully for them. Either way, ti’s grabbed headlines and bottom-line?

Tickets to see Father Christmas cost £20 per child. Harrods will collect a minimum of £84,800 from operating the grotto in the five-and-a-half weeks until Christmas Eve if every slot is taken by families visiting with one child. Takings will be much greater from multi-children groups.

It’s all about the money.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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