Well well well. I was hoping at least one day this week to create a post that did not have a Christmas theme but it appears I am to be thwarted yet again...
The lovely John Lewis got back in touch after I posted our Christmas Rules and offered me and some fellow bloggers a lunch-time tour of the shop on Monday. I'd like to say that they didn't have to ask twice but sadly it's not true, they did; Monday is a work day and so I regretfully declined. However the lovely Anna at the PR company insisted I come and work from their offices in the morning so as not to impact on my day and so, at an ungodly hour I arrived, laptop in hand, to find them next to the most massive, gleaming Starbucks imaginable. I had died, it seems. And gone to heaven.
I'm not much of a one for doing puff pieces on my blog. I'm not a professional writer, I write about the spud. And sometimes the cat. I get asked however to write about everything from control-top jeans to family genetics to maternity pads. So, unless there are shoes involved, in general I resist.
John Lewis however. Well, those three little words (Never Knowingly Undersold) are words close to a gal's heart and so I found myself drawing up to the shop at the appointed hour to be amazed by their Christmas decor.
The delight of the day was meeting my fellow bloggers, Sally and the immaculately-behaved Flea from Who’s The Mummy, Deborah from Metropolitan Mum and her sweet little Lilly; the very styley Amanda from 40 not out and the truly elegant Alice from Dulwich Divorcee (who happens to live near me owing to that quirk of city design which leaves the refinements of Dulwich nestlingl closely to the outrageousness of Brixton).
It was fun. I drooled over shoes. I bought cheese. I was kicked by a Granny. I marvelled at Flea's patience. I got to watch how other bloggers work (cameras, questions and humour), I got fed very well.
What was great however was that the time encapsulated for me everything about why John Lewis is so loved. Not the products or the scrummy food hall or the huge range of Christmas gifts, but just the way that they are approaching the brave new world of social networks. Not by diving in with some massive or ill-informed viral campaign but by talking to us, the people who shop there, dipping a toe into the internet and being absolutely lovely with it.
Will hundreds more people shop at John Lewis after reading our blogs? Who knows. Will I? Most definitely; although I doubt I will bring the Spud... despite Flea's excellent example I just know we'd have a meltdown in front of the lego Santa and that would be that.