Waitrose: an update


You might have already seen the letter we sent to Waitrose last week. If not, here’s a reminder of what we’re trying to do.

Giles Clarke and the ECB don’t give a monkey’s about the English cricketing public. They have no interest in our views, our questions, or the things we’re unhappy about. But they do care about their sponsors.

The route to Clarke’s heart is through his wallet. We figured we could get his attention via the soft underbelly of his corporate paymasters. Specifically, Waitrose – who sponsor all the England teams.

We wrote an open letter to Mark Price, Waitrose MD, conveying the anger and hurt felt towards the ECB by so many followers of English cricket. We detailed the reasons why, and requested that he use his influence as England sponsor to get Giles Clarke’s attention.

Our hope was that Price, in some form, would tell the ECB chairman how supporters feel. Coming from Waitrose, this would stand a real chance of making an impact.

Nearly sixty of you added your endorsements and personal views below the letter, and thanks for doing so. Many entries came from people who’d never commented here before.

A couple of days after posting the letter online I sent it to Mark Price via the Waitrose press officer who handles their cricket brief. I reasoned that this presented the best chance of getting the contents to Price himself. The recipient, who works on ECB-related issues, would be more likely to take an interest than the generic PA who I presume manages Price’s e-mail account.

There then followed several days of chase-ups and reminders to get some feedback.

Yesterday they confirmed that the letter (with, of course, your comments) has indeed been sent on to Price’s office, and “they are aware of it”. They also gave me an official response, and I’m afraid it’s a little disappointing.

A Waitrose spokesperson said: 
“​I’m afraid that the issues you raise are all a matter for the ECB and I have passed your letter on to them to respond.​”
They’ve rather missed the point.

So what next? There’s no obvious further step for The Full Toss. But I recommend that – if you’re interested – you try getting in touch with Mark Price yourself, as a couple of people have already suggested. His e-mail address is mark_price@waitrose.co.uk.

You could also contact Waitrose via their official phone and e-mail routes – 0800 188 884 and customersupport@waitrose.co.uk.

Why not Tweet them too? @waitrose, and for emphasis use a #waitrose hashtag.

The more people get in touch with them, the more likely the penny will drop. You could paste in the link from the original letter, or just say what you think.

Let me know whether you get a response. And good luck.


  • Just because that was the official response doesn’t mean it hasn’t been read. Deniability and all that.

  • I fear they haven’t missed the point. They know exactly what the ECB are like and they know what they get from sponsoring the England Cricket team. Do you really think that even if everyone on these blogs stopped shopping at Waitrose/John Lewis that we would make a pinprick in their turnover?
    I wish it were different, but I’m afraid Bob Dylan was right…. money doesn’t talk, it swears, and we don’t have enough in the swear box!

    • But they signed the deal early in 2013, when the world was a rather different place. Admittedly, even then it should have been obvious to them what the ECB were like, but they could be forgiven for not predicting what would happen next.

  • Of course they are going to put out the standard bland corporate response. And of course they are not going to to anything sudden. Certainly not suddenly drop the sponsorship. Probably can’t anyway because they will have entered into a legal contract.

    However, they now know that sponsoring the ECB is not quite as straight forward as they may have thought. They won’t admit it publicly, but they will be watching to see how things go in the next 12 months. If England’s results are poor they will want to see if that has causes more,friction with fans. As a company that prides itself on good customer relations, and good staff relations they will at least be aware now that they are aligning themselves with a bunch of people who behave in the opposite way to their core values.

    Seeing the bullshit that passes as independent cricket journalism in this country they may have thought everything is hunky dory. At least they now know not everyone shares this view. I wonder how many people from India shop at Waitrose? Because it is only people from India who the ECB care about regards viewers. They certainly don’t give a shit about English viewers.

    Having said all that Waitrose does seem to be happy appealing to quite a small group of people. Cricket is not that popular in England and as a sport has hidden itself away on satellite tv with small audience penetration. Waitrose seem quite happy about that.

    • Thanks, Marks. Even if the sum total consequence of our efforts are that someone at Waitrose thinks, “hmmm”. It will have been worthwhile. Clearly they won’t drop everything because some blogger they’ve never heard of send them annoying e-mails. But it wasn’t the kind of feedback they were expecting when they bought into Giles Clarke’s Powerpoint presentation.

  • Here is my email to Mark Price:-
    Dear Sir,

    I write to you with regard to your commendable sponsorship of English cricket.

    I am sure you are aware of the huge negative feeling among the English supporters ( referred to by the senior management of the ECB as ” people outside of cricket”).
    The ECB are presently managed by a group of people who have no regard for the paying cricket public ( and consequently your customers).

    The very sad thing now is that the English team are losing huge support of true cricket fans.
    It is not only the lamentable saga of the Kevin Pietersen affair but in the whole way relationships are handled by the totally arrogant ECB attitude to players and the paying public.

    As sponsors ( and you personally as CEO) have a responsibility to ensure your shareholders money is being spent in the best interests of Waitrose.

    I feel that as sponsors you should voice your concerns at the way the ECB is being presently managed, to not do so is not acting in the best interests of your shareholders as many of your customers will desert Waitrose in the same way they are deserting English cricket.

    Can we see some positive action taken by Waitrose?

    Yours sincerely,
    John Harlow

    Sent from my iPad


  • The situation seems a bit confusing but I do not think that Waitrose have missed the point. According to Waitrose, Mark Price is aware and the letter has been sent by Waitrose to the ECB. So now we must wait for the ECB to respond to the letter in some way.

    But if they do not respond within, say, a couple of weeks – and given their previous form they won’t – then we must contact Mark Price again and ask him to act on our behalf as the ECB have failed to respond to even Waitrose’s request.


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