Horrified mum boycotts Boots after children pick up sex toyBy Becky Barnes
January 14, 2013
A disgusted mum is boycotting high street chemist Boots after she found her children playing with a sex toy near the checkouts.
Alison Savory wrote to Boots chief executive Alex Gourlay after her sons, aged six and eight, picked up a purple Durex vibrator displayed ‘prominently’ in the store.
The mum-of-three, from Crowthorne, said: “Call me a prude, but it is not something children should be exposed to.
“Boots presents a family image – since when did it turn into Ann Summers?”
Alison, an acupuncturist, let her sons wait near the tills at the Camberley store while paying for her shopping with her two-year-old daughter on December 23.
She said: “I don’t choose to take my children into a sex shop, but in a family shop I felt happy for the children to run around.”
The 42-year-old was ‘flabbergasted’ and ‘embarrassed’ when she found them playing with the penis-shaped toy displayed at their eye level by a wall of condoms next to the till.
She said “I wasn’t ready to have that conversation in the middle of a busy Boots – I was very embarrassed.
“I felt Boots took my choice away as a parent and that upset me.”
Alison’s letter asked the chief executive to consider the ‘early sexualisation’ of children in a world where their ‘innocence and lives are already bombarded with inappropriate images’.
She wrote to say she was ‘deeply disappointed’ a family company was contributing to the ‘erosion’ and urged him to consider whether the products and product placement were appropriate.
Responding on behalf of Mr Gourlay, Jennifer Freeman, customer manager, said the products were sold ‘after much research and as a result of customer demand’.
She said Boots believed the products were beneficial for customers and their sexual wellbeing and were presented to ‘demystify’ customers.
She added they were stocked in the healthcare area where customers could receive advice and support, but they would take Alison’s feedback on board.
Alison said: “I don’t want my children demystified in Boots and they took away my choice about what my children are exposed to in the pursuit of profit.
“I have therefore made the decision to boycott Boots and have asked them to donate my Advantage Card credit to NSPCC.”
She said she thinks if products like this are on sale they should be out of a child’s eyeline.
Alison shared her experiences on Facebook, which triggered outrage among mums.
Mum Emma Frost, 33, from Jennett’s Park, said “I think it’s appalling for a family shop which sells children’s clothes and aims strongly for parents as a demographic.
“I wouldn’t want to be in the situation where I’m forced to explain that kind of thing to my daughter as the sexualisation of young people now is such a horrible and hard issue to try and control as it is.”