Harrods was accused of ruining the spirit of Christmas after limiting Santa visits to customers who spend over $2,500
- Harrods came under scrutiny this week after reports surfaced that it is reserving visits to its famous Christmas grotto to customers who spending more than $2,500 at the high-end shop over the course of the year. The Guardian was first to report the news.
- Customers are complaining that it's ruining the spirit of Christmas and Harrods is behaving like "the Grinch."
- Harrods limited grotto tickets to its biggest spenders for the first time in 2018, which resulted in a backlash. In 2019, it offered 160 free tickets to families who didn't meet the criteria.
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Harrods is ruining the spirit of Christmas, according to some of its customers.
London's most famous luxury department store came under scrutiny this week after reports surfaced that it is reserving visits to its famous Christmas grotto to Green Tier 2 rewards holders or customers who have spent over $2,500 in Harrods over the course of the year.The Guardian, which was first to report the news, spoke to angry customers who said Harrods was missing the point of Christmas.
"Harrods is behaving like the Grinch who stole Christmas," James Browne, a Harrods customer who has been visiting its Christmas grotto for the past 15 years with his three children, told The Guardian. "They have lost the true meaning of Christmas and given into the commercialisation of the season. Visiting Father Christmas shouldn't be reserved for those that are fortunate enough to frequent the store and spend thousands of pounds."
The tradition dates back for over 60 years - children are invited to come into the London store and visit Santa in his grotto in the London store and have their photo taken with him. Up until last year, anyone was able to reserve a slot with Santa but Harrods changed its policy in 2018 to cope with the overwhelming demand.
Last year, it didn't divulge how much customers would need to spend to be eligible for a slot but customers who had spent thousands of dollars at its store over the course of the year told The Telegraph that they weren't able to get time with him.
"Each year, we are overwhelmed by requests for this special experience, which we make every effort to facilitate. We care hugely about making a visit to the Grotto as magical as possible, therefore tickets are extremely limited. Unfortunately, we simply cannot meet the demand for places," a spokesperson for Harrods said in a statement emailed to Business Insider on Tuesday.
This year, Harrods offered 160 free tickets to any families that hadn't met its criteria - families could apply for the draw in-store and 10 tickets were handed out each day for just over two weeks. But according to The Guardian's numbers, this amounts to under 4% of its total bookings.For rewards customers, a space to see Santa still costs $25 for a maximum of eight people. These tickets are now sold out online.