An anonymous shopper to a shop in Bournemouth, UK complained about a cat who had been visiting the shop for 13 years. The regular shoppers like him. Damn it, they love him. They see no problem in his presence. And yet when one anonymous complainer told the owners that they did not like the cat’s presence the management decided to ban him from the shop. This is a very bad decision. And everybody agrees.
The cat’s name is Dave. He is a very handsome ginger, classic tabby-and-white cat who lives in an apartment nearby. He liked to visit the shop for company. The shop is called One Stop. I believe their address is: 111-115 Southbourne Grove, Bournemouth BH6 3QY. One Stop is a mini-market chain.
As mentioned customers are outraged at the management’s decision to ban Dave. They have threatened to boycott the shop. Despite the backlash from regular customers, the shop owners have stated that Dave will be thrown out if he enters the shop. However, in a subsequent statement the shop owners say that they are very fond of Dave and have asked staff to not pet him or feed him in the store. This contradicts the ban. So we don’t know exactly what is happening. Perhaps the owners are backtracking in the light of the reaction by their regular customers.
Dave sits outside the shop pining to come inside and customers have witnessed what they describe as a heartbreaking scene. One local person who works at One Stop posted on Facebook:
“I work at the One Stop where this beautiful old cat has been coming in for the last 13 years. One woman recently changed his life forever by complaining to our head office, now they won’t let him back in. Please post your name to this if you think he should be allowed in, all our foods are wrapped, he just sits by the till.”
Another person, a former employee of the shop, Michelle Denton, said:
“I don’t understand the decision. The customers love him. He’s a lovely cat and all he wants his company. When I worked there, he used to come through the door and settle down in some boxes or have a nap near the lottery machine. I never received a complaint about him. All the food in the store is sealed so there is no health and safety issue. People who weren’t even local to the area would come to take photos – he brought customers to the store.”
The general tenor of the comments on the page reporting the story (the Telegraph newspaper) is that the woman who made the complaint should be banned from the store and Dave should be allowed to enter the store as usual. Excellent suggestion.
There is not one person who is for the ban and therefore as the story is doing the rounds on social media and in the online newspapers I would hope that the shop’s owners reconsider their decision and allow Dave back into the store. There is no doubt in my mind that he actually helps to promote the business. To make such a decision based on one anonymous complaint is clearly bad management. It is a knee-jerk reaction and very poor decision-making. It is almost universally agreed that shop cats are regarded favorably by 99% of customers to the shop. They enhance the business. They add character to the shop and their presence helps the business’s profitability.
The underlying problem here is that the store is part of a chain of stores and the decision to ban Dave was made by ‘remote management’. They are too distant from the store to understand what is going on. It is the classic case of the men in grey suits screwing up.