Shop pulls “Virgin Mary crisps” after complaints

From London: 

Coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manger has withdrawn its ‘Virgin Mary’ brand of crisps after a flurry of religious complaints.

The coffee-shop made the costly decision to pull the brand after campaigners on the Protect the Pope website pointed out the offensive crisps branding to its members.

Responding to the complaints, the religious website says Pret a Manger has ‘apologised for any unintentional offence they have caused and have indicted that they will give any unsold crisps to the homeless’.

Posting on the website, Deacon Nick Donnelly, says: ‘Clive Schlee (Pret CEO) has admitted to a reader of Protect the Pope that taking this brand of crisps off their shelves will cost them quite a bit of money but “good businesses listen and react quickly”.

Mr Donnelly includes grabs of two Tweets from Pret, that confirm the company is has decided to remove the crisps from the market with immediate effect.

The first Tweet say: ‘We’re sorry the name offended you. It wasn’t our intention. Our CEO has decided to remove them with effect from today.’

The second, one minute later, adds: ‘We’ll donate the unsold crisps to homeless charities. Thanks for tweeting. We do listen and we’ve tried to react quickly.’

Keith Beech, a spokesman for Pret, confirmed to the mailonline that CEO Clive Schlee spoke with an organiser of the the Catholic charity group, apologised for any offence, and agreed to withdraw the brand of spicy tomato crisps.
Although he could not put a figure on the number of complaints received, Mr Beech said the launch and subsequent withdrawal of the brand happened all within a week.

‘The decision was made Friday morning as it became clear the crisps weren’t popular,’ he said.

‘They were launched last week, so it was within a week of launch,’ he added. He said the brand was only launched in London.

News of Pret’s reaction comes as the company faces accusations of a regime of ‘enforced happiness’ of for staff at the chain. Mystery shoppers check for moodiness, which is said to be discouraged at the chain.

The Catholic website goes on to post a number of replies received from Pret following the anti-Virgin Mary brand of crisps.

A message from Pret CEO Clive Schlee to a reader of Protect the Pope says: ‘You will be glad to hear I have taken your advice. We have now had a lot of calls and emails from our customers and we have decided to stop selling the crisps with effect from today.

‘This is costing us quite a bit of money but good businesses listen and react quickly. We will be giving the unsold crisps to charity.’

Read the rest. 

From the description of the snack, I presume they were modeled on the drink of the same name, which is a Bloody Mary without alcohol.