Here in England our distinguished department store Harrods, known for its posh clientele and for its annoying owner Al Fayed, has hit the headlines in the British press for turning away a bunch of young lads in tracksuits. Apparently they were also wearing trainers and some of them, Heaven help us, were even wearing baseball caps.
Harrods’ spokesman stumbled over his excuses today but they apparently broke the store’s rigid dress code and also the doorman turned them away apparently because there was a whole team of them and they looked “too big and suspicious.”
This team of lads were in fact a team, as in football team, there would have been a clue in their matching tracksuits – they were members of Shaktar Donetsk Football Club, winners of the UEFA Cup and star players from the Ukraine whose individual salaries are somewhere in the region of £2 million a year and their shopping power is immense.
They were in London to play football against the London team Fulham whose most famous supporter is that same irritating man, Mr. Al Fayed, the owner of Harrods. Surely even this overbearing man could not have known who those young men were – if he had banned them intentionally to put them off their game then I would almost admire the man but no, the banning is just another example of that unpleasant mix still part of English society – snobbery and prejudice.
We are still not comfortable with the idea that young men in tracksuits might just be ordinary people not intent on shop-lifting, acts of terrorism or even casual hooliganism. These young men in particular were there to buy presents for their family and friends which they managed to do at another albeit less famous store.
I for one hope that they beat Fulham now so I have just joined their fan club.
Maybe we should get a group together and start a fashion for mass shopping in tracksuits. After-all shopping is a serious business – well worth getting into training for – and tracksuits would free up our movements for those infamous Harrods sales scrambles.