UK TV retail queen Mary Portas (known as Mary Queen of Shops on TV) went after UK-based games retailer GAME in a very public way over the weekend after her 17-year-old son was not allowed to purchase a 15+ rated game at the company’s Oxford Street store. Outraged that the store was following the recommended guidelines on ratings, Portas took her fight to the phones to contact the company’s CEO and to Twitter.
The result was a very public display that some gamers responded harshly to – like this Eurogamer forum thread where users called her everything from a "see you next Tuesday" and a moron, to a b*tch and a drama queen. Good job, Internet.
Her initial argument was that staff at the store recommended games to her son, but then refused to sell them to him because he didn’t have a proper form of ID.
Here are samples of some of the tweets from Portas:
"STILL holding on after 8mins to spk to a human at GAME Ox st where they refused to sell my 17 yr son a 15 + game. Now they’ve cut me off."
Later a public tweet from GAME CEO Ian Shepherd:
"That’s appalling. I’m very proud of our focus on age verification but also of our service. If that’s gone wrong, we’ll fix it."
Later another tweet from Shepherd:
"I’m very proud of our brilliant team in GAME [Oxford] St. and also committed to every customer being delighted. We will sort with [Mary] – I’m sure we will clear up any misunderstanding."
Portas tweeted after:
"He doesn’t have a [driving] licence! He is 17. How many kids go out with their passport. We are not talking drink, but a 15plus video!"
she later added:
"My son did have valid I.D. They would not accept it. End of."
Finally, this morning the matter was straightened out:
"Spoke to CEO of GAME. Impressive and bright. Agreed good customer service is worth fighting for and how tough the regulations they face are."
Commentary: While all this was unfolding many saw this as a "celebrity" abusing her power to bend the rules for her own edification. In a way, it sounded like she was really saying "HOW DARE THEY?!? DON’T THEY KNOW WHO I AM?!!?"
The name calling I witnessed was highly inappropriate, but commenters are probably right to point out Portas’ bad attitude when the retailer was clearly following the rules and enforcing policies to keep possibly inappropriate games out of the hands of a child. Without an ID, every teenager is a child as far as they are concerned. GAME CEO Ian Shepherd deserves a lot of credit for being the only adult in the entire situation.