Wednesday, 30 April 2014

So did Sports Direct reject?

So as promised, here is how I got on with asking my local branch of Sports Direct to join the ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ scheme. Their Stoke Newington branch is located on the high street and so this afternoon I headed up there armed with my ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ pack. This consists of a leaflet titled ‘Becoming Breastfeeding Welcome, a step-by-step guide for family friendly businesses and community venues in Hackney’ An A4 poster stating ‘This is a breastfeeding welcome place’ which also states ‘Remember: you have the right to breastfeed anywhere’, a check list for the venue of all the things they need to do to welcome mothers which includes ‘Babies can be breastfed in any public area of our venue’ among other points and 2 window stickers to show passers by that the business has signed up to the scheme. 

Was I hopeful? In all honesty, not really. I expected that, even if I did get to speak to someone, I would be treated with disinterest. Admittedly also I hadn’t done my homework, I had no idea if Sports Direct were a franchise or controlled by a central office but either way I didn’t see this as an obstacle. 

 I don’t mind saying I shop quite frequently in Sports Direct and so confidently walked up to the nearest sales assistant and said I was a regular customer and would like to talk to their Manager about their recent negative press. The Manager came over and I introduced myself and asked if they knew about the incident as reported by Mumsnet. 

It transpired that the Manager was off that day and I was in fact talking to the Assistant Manager who was nevertheless personable and astute. She wasn’t aware of the incident where the Manager of their Nottingham branch had asked a customer’s wife to leave the branch because she was feeding her baby and she was very keen to know where she would find this information. I went on to tell her about how ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ works and how actually Sports Direct would benefit greatly to signing up to the scheme. The Assistant Manager explained that anything like this would have to be run past head office and so we agreed that I would leave the pack with her to speak to her Manager. I also wrote down all my contact details along with mumsnet website link so she could find the article I was referring to. I could see that she hadn’t ever encountered Mumsnet and so immediately reeled off it’s terrifyingly impressive viewing stats of 4 million new visitors and 50 million page views a month. At that moment I sensed that I might have caught her attention.   

So I didn’t get a ‘We are Breastfeeding Welcome’ sticker in the window of Sports Direct BUT I also wasn’t sent packing and will now be following up with the Manager to see what their head office’s response is. I hope at least that within Sports Direct I have started a conversation. I will keep you updated.

I didn't think it would take long for someone to set up a petition - please click HERE to view.

Also another great petition to change NHS Breastfeeding Guidelines to match WHO Breastfeeding guideline - click HERE


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