Well, I love M&S and I'm not going to desert it in its hour of need. Here are 10 reasons why it will rise again to slay its competitors and be around years after Next, Gap and other interlopers in the white T-shirt market are but dim memories.
A little known aspect of M&S is its role in the treatment of anxiety and depression. It's a cosy and warm retreat from a harsh world in the way that families are meant to be but never are, the retail version of re-reading a favourite children's classic. Nothing bad ever, ever happens at Marks - you are safe here. And if poverty is what's bringing you down, you can spend thousands of pounds cheering yourself up because ...
... you know you can bring it all back when you're feeling a little more stable. Other shops have jumped on this bandwagon but M&S is still at the forefront of the refunds market because of the assistants' non-judgmental manner as they cross every item off a receipt as long as your arm and hand you back hundreds of pounds. This function is also a student's best friend - if your cashpoint has stopped handing out money, buy from here on a cheque and return two hours later for cash. (Well, it worked in my day.)
M&S is one of the few shops on the high street to provide somewhere to sit down. Rest your weary trots awhile without threat of being moved on by burly security staff.
Free with all purchases. Obviously you won't want them (they're plastic and break) but a free gift should never be underestimated.
5. High resale value
Have you noticed the premium that second-hand clothes shops charge on M&S items? This is a mark of the High Quality which is another selling point (but so obvious it doesn't deserve a bracket of its own).
6. Good Saturday jobs
When I was a teenager, a Saturday job at Marks was the most sought-after in town for its top rates of pay and assorted benefits, the most famous being a hairdresser - now that's class. I got a job at Boots (a not-to- be-sniffed-at Saturday employer itself) and we had a reciprocal bomb-scare agreement with M&S, so that if we were evacuated from our end of the shopping centre, we could shelter in their staff areas and vice versa. The first time it happened we sloped into their perfumed cloakroom with its sweetly fragrant handcreams, bowls of potpourri, soft tissues in boxes and immaculate decor and felt like a crocodile of raggedy orphans who'd been allowed to glimpse paradise. Staff also got to take home out-of-date food.
7. Sarnies and knickers
Absolute supremacy demands no explanation.
8. Refuses to take credit cards
Stops you getting into debt you can't manage. (See also Refunds.)
9. Bra measurements
OK, so we're all supposed to know by now not just to shove a tape measure over the widest part and get our friends to squint and estimate a cup size, but too many of us still don't have the first clue of what our true bra size is. M&S can tell you. M&S knows everything.
10. Cool in summer, warm in winter
Outstanding temperature control. I've got a friend whose mother makes a special trip to M&S on hot summer days to stand in the freezer department. (See also karma.)Reuse content