Letter: All's well for the real customers at Harrods

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The Independent Online
Sir: Those among your readers troubled by the Harrods dress code may like to try these handy tips which I have found to be helpful:

1. Do not be irritated by the pompous tone of the security guard. He is, after all, only doing his job, as he will be pleased to point out.

2. Discuss the situation with your guard. The form of words used here is less important than allowing him to detect from your accent that you are English and not a feckless Eurotourist. Adjust your delivery to Home Counties Received Pronunciation in order to achieve the optimum effect.

3. Indicate to the guard that you are a regular customer, and on that occasion you are shopping for specific items - buying food for a dinner party that evening has been found to be appropriate. This will reassure him that you are not a sightseer intending to leave with nothing more costly than a packet of own-label shortbread fingers. If you can manage it, a tone of outraged incredulity mingled with effortless authority will serve you well.

At this point, you should find that the security guard will have determined that you are the 'right' sort of customer after all. He will then helpfully suggest that you turn under the unfinished edges of your shorts, at a stroke transforming your outfit into suitable shopping attire, whereupon he will be pleased to admit you. You may, however, prefer - as I did - not to collude further with the store's 'standards' but to try instead the excellent food hall at Harvey Nichols.

Yours faithfully,

KATHERINE ALLEN

London, NW3

3 May

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