Has Fifty Shades fever spread to B&Q?

Posted: February 10, 2015

Adult retailers are not the only ones expecting a surge in demand to follow the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. The UK’s leading DIY chain, B&Q, has reportedly forewarned its staff that rope, cable ties and duct tape may be bought in large numbers by customers outside of the store’s usual demographic.

The products feature in a scene from the movie and the retailer has allegedly told staff in an internal memo that after the publication of the books in 2012 it experienced, “increased demand of certain products and queries from customers as they tried to recreate their own ‘Fifty Shades’ experiences” and it added: “We need to be prepared for the same effect when the film is released this month.”

It went on to suggest that staff should familiarise themselves with the book and head office would duly be sending copies to stores for this purpose. The memo added that customers for these products should be assisted in a “polite, helpful and respectful” manner and also advised staff to use “a level of discretion” when dealing with such enquiries.

The internal staff memo was reproduced in full on the Daily Mail website and its readers were quick to comment, with several suggesting it was a publicity stunt, including Wee Me of Alba who said: “Well done to the B&Q publicist who thought of sending that memo. You got your company bucket loads of free advertising”. John from Sunderland said: “I think someone in B&Q’s marketing department is trying a little too hard” while a number of posters alluded to the 359-strong chain’s prices, including Dave of Oban who said: “If you want rope and duct tape then don’t buy them at B&Q unless you’re a REAL sadist. Their prices will make you weep.”

LittleYumyum, of Somewhere only we know, made an even better point: “Why would you buy it from B&Q? Go to an adult shop and get proper bondage tape etc, that won’t rip your skin off or irritate it”, while Dr Ads of Jersey said: “There are hundreds of well-written classic books of erotica, so why is the (just awful) tripe being constantly – and REALLY excuse the phrase – being shoved down our throats?”

Spare a thought for electricians and washing line installers though, such as – presumably – Avaword2013 of Poole, who said: “Great…I can no longer buy rope or duct tape for my job.”

If it is a publicity stunt someone should have told B&Q’s web team, as the hero products displayed on its landing page in the run up to the film’s release were loft insulation, timber garden fence panels and vinyl flooring. And although typing ‘fifty shades of grey’ into the search box brought up 1,000 results, most of them seemed to be for paint…