Dear Sir,

I am delighted that Harrods is celebrating the 70th Year since The Wizard of Oz was first released. I have loved the movie since I was a very young girl, losing myself in the magic and fantasy of this story. I believe that the staff in your Department Store has created a wonderful tribute to the film, from the Emerald City light display, to the creative Christmas windows.

The one area where Harrods has truly failed in its mission statement to: ‘provide every customer with a truly unforgettable experience,’ however, is the Ruby Slipper Boudoir. While The Ruby Slipper Boudoir did succeed in providing me with an unforgettable experience, it was certainly for all the wrong reasons.

I tried in vain last week to purchase a pair of Limited Edition Ruby Slippers in an adult size. It was a desperate shame to be told that they were sold out. Even now, at the age of thirty two, I was not averse to that childish feeling of disappointment and sadness when I was told that I could not have something that I wanted. But, as I am an adult, one must be adult about this. Nevertheless, I do feel compelled to write to you and express my heartfelt disappointment and disillusionment with your store.

I do not understand why, when the shoes have clearly sold out, your store continues to promote their sale? Your website does nothing to inform potential customers (who often travel from a significant distance) that a visit to the store for this purpose would be a waste of their time, since there are no adult shoes left. Furthermore, when I visited the Boudoir, I was told that the shoes had sold out a number of days prior, yet there was a glass display stand advertising the adult shoes’ availability. I don’t see the point of advertising something that is unavailable, particularly when I was informed that the likelihood of more shoes becoming available was slim. The sales assistants also refused to add my name to the ‘already too long’ waiting list.

It is disappointing that this worthwhile project of releasing an edition of these shoes, the sale of which benefits a very deserving charity, seems to have been handled so poorly. The demand for these shoes seems disproportionate to the quantity of shoes made. The intent is unclear to me: was the aim of the exercise actually to benefit Great Ormond Street Hospital, and if so, why weren’t more shoes made? If the shoes were going to be so limited, why was the price tag not set significantly higher so that the percentage of money going to charity could be increased to further benefit the cause? Why has an area of your shop been given over to the sale of a product that cannot be purchased? From November through to the end of December, your Dorothy themed sales assistants (each wearing a pair of these coveted shoes) will be turning away disappointed customer after disappointed customer. This will inevitably amount to many customers, all of whom will experience something set in direct contrast to your store’s intrinsic ethos.

You may or may not be aware that Ebay is now cluttered with these Limited Edition shoes. Most are selling between £150 and £200. You may ask why, if I desire these shoes so much, would I not purchase a pair from an ebay seller? I can assure you that the thought has crossed my mind, even though it seems so at odds with the raison d’etre of this enterprise. I have looked at most of these shoes online, and no seller is passing on any of the inflated sale price of these shoes to Great Ormond Street Hospital. I find this very wrong. At the very least, your company should liaise with Ebay and halt the sale of these shoes, or insist that a percentage of profit is passed on to charity. It feels very much as though others are profiting in an area where they should not, simply because of an oversight on your company’s behalf.

I am so disappointed by the way that something potentially so wonderful and magical has been managed. Not only has your store given customer’s a deeply disappointing experience, but has also limited the financial benefit of a deserving charity. I very much hope that a store which once prided itself on being able to get anything for anyone, will find a way of getting more shoes manufactured as soon as possible. At the very least, if this is impossible, sufficient information should be conveyed to potential customers via your website or the press.

I very much look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter.

With very best regards,
Hannah Mardell