Every year during the Christmas season, a popular figure will be well adored by children and adults alike – and that’s none other than Santa Claus. Every year since 1955, the luxury department store Harrods based in the United Kingdom has a tradition of setting up a Christmas grotto in its store for children to visit and see Santa. Additionally, there are elves, seasonal decorations, and Christmas music to convey the Christmas atmosphere. This year, to add an air of elegance, the grotto is decorated with Swarovski crystals which will no doubt enhance its secret forest theme.
However, all is not well in wonderland. To reportedly help deal with the overwhelming demand, the store reserved visits to the Christmas grotto to customers who achieved at least Green Tier 2 level on their Harrods rewards program. These are customers who have spent at least $2,500 in Harrods over the past year. With this new implementation, there are only 4,400 limited slots available to meet with Santa this year. In addition, customers who manage to get one of the coveted slots will have to pay an additional of £20 each for a ticket to enter the grotto.
Based on the calculation, Harrods should earn at least £84,800 over the time the grotto remains open throughout the month of December. This newly introduced policy has led to backlash and criticism as customers voiced their disapproval, claiming Harrods is acting like the Grinch who stole Christmas by only limiting grotto access to children of well-off families. Some customers have also had traditions dating back years of visiting the Christmas grotto yearly. In a bid to offset this, Harrods announced that 160 slots were being offered via a lucky draw system to all store visitors granting the chance for less well-off families to visit too. Despite Harrods effort to clear its name, this incident will undoubtedly impact their decision for the following year regarding their famous Christmas grotto.