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Friday, 21 March 2014

Tescos: Every Little Ban Helps!


Hello Everyone,

Just a short update for you, today. Thanks to the Melon-Farmers for the original story.

An 18-certificate horror film, called THE HOSPITAL (2013, Daniel Emery Taylor) has been banned from sale, in all Tesco stores, due to a single complaint stemming predominantly from one journalist, working on a local newspaper.

The journalist, Matt Holmes, who works for the Gloucester Citizen local newspaper, bought the film and said he was shocked by the extreme and graphic content. The story found  here  states that because of one complaint to his local Tesco store, the film was removed from all Tesco stores nationwide, due to (alleged) offensive content. The 74m 53s film has been given an uncut 18 certificate from the BBFC with certification notes that state it "Contains strong violence, sex and sexual violence".

I undertook a Live-Chat via the Internet, with a Tesco Store's representative, and he said:
I can tell you that we absolutely did receive multiple complaints about this product, including from members of staff in stores. Both customers and staff were asking for this to be removed. However, I absolutely appreciate your frustration with this, and can make sure your comments here are reported back on our internal system which will, in time, be reviewed by all relevant departments, including our Head Office and Buying Teams. I do know that they will be taken into consideration for the future. Ultimately, we will choose to sell what we think is suitable for our customers. Moreover, we are under no obligation to sell any product, though we will attempt to take all feedback into consideration, whether that is demand for a product or against. The feedback we receive from our customers goes a long way to helping make those decisions.
Make of that, what you will readers!

The film can still be purchased from Amazon, at this link  here  for the sum of £8, but the reviews all suggest this film isn't actually worth it anyway. Having not seen it myself, I can't comment on whether the Tesco ban is warranted or not.

I guess Every Little (Ban) Helps!

UPDATE: On Saturday 22nd March, Tesco e-mailed me with a further response. This is the full contents of that e-mail, minus any personal information. (All errors have been retained!)
Dear ______ ,
Thank you for contacting us. The hospital was approved for general release and rated 18. However, on this occasion we’ve made the judgement to remove it from sale. We are always pleased to listen to feedback and remain focussed on offering the most popular titles to our customers. In regards to your comments on the content of our newspapers, as with all retailers we look to offer our customers a wide range of media titles. Please let me assure you that when selecting our magazine and newspaper range, we always keep at the front of mind that we are a family retailer and that the product choice needs to be appropriate.  We do not stock any publication that we deem would be not suitable to our customers, including any adult titles. We’ve passed on your concerns to the relevant departments as customer feedback is very important to us. Thank you for contacting us. Kind regards
Steven ______ , Tesco Customer Service
Tesco seem to be saying that they'll only stock items that are "family friendly", but not "adult" titles, yet they are happy to stock most 15 and 18 rated films (and some Parental Advisory, Explicit Lyrics type CD's too), but clearly if something doesn't fit-in to their own, very narrow definition of what constitutes "family friendly", then they will happily remove it from sale - presumably after just one single complaint!

Ironically, they continue to sell THE SUN, the DAILY MAIL and the DAILY STAR newspapers, which aren't "family friendly" (as per Tesco's understanding of the term), so it seems that their decision is really down to randomness, rather than a concrete decision to protect the morals of children and families.

If they really wanted to be "family friendly", then they wouldn't stock any films higher than a PG-rating, and the three newspapers I mentioned would also be removed from sale. Likewise, they'd remove most mens and women's magazines, as well as titles like PRIVATE EYE magazine too, as they aren't family-friendly either.

It seems hypocrisy and misinformation is very much the order of the day here! I don't think Tesco knows what it's actual policies are, and are making this all up as they go along. Hmmmm....

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