I had a response from Asda following my complaint about them branding their Lavender Hill store ‘Clapham’.

Hello James.

Thank you for contacting ASDA about the name we have given to our ASDA Clapham store.

I’m sorry to learn of your disappointment at ASDA naming the store Clapham instead of Battersea. I can assure you ASDA welcome all customers, whatever there background. We certainly don’t want to offend anyone with the name of the store.

Having spoke to the General Store Manager, he confirmed the store is in Clapham, this is the reasoning for the name of the store. Also if we were to change the name of the store it would lose it’s identity in the local area.

Again, I’m sorry to hear of your disappointment, I hope all your points have been covered in this email. If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Will Hayton
ASDA Service Team

I only moved to Battersea 13 (fourteen, if you round up) years ago so I’m quite happy to admit I’ve been wrong all this time and have somehow fooled myself into…

Hold it. No. Of course I’m not wrong. Even as a relative newcomer I have seen enough evidence, both objective and subjective, to know I live in Battersea and the Asda store is in Battersea. Of course areas change, but not at the whim of one person (unless Wal-mart have staged a coup d’etat I missed and their manager is now some sort of regional governor). I could pretend I’m typing this in Manhattan. Or on the moon. But that doesn’t make it so.

Happier times: 2008, when people knew where they were
I will be replying to Asda, but decided to hold off my reply to calm a little. The odd thing is that the more time passes the angrier I get about Asda’s attitude.

I’d love to know the manager’s connection with the area prior to managing the store. Very often in retail the managers (because of the nature of their career progression) manage stores some distance from their home – this is particularly true in London where moving can be expensive. But even putting that aside…

Has he had a chat with one of my neighbours who obviously mistakenly believes she has lived in Battersea for the best part of 80 years – all that time a few hundreds yards from the store (or the railway yard that preceded it).

Or perhaps he’s raised it with the council, who – in 2008 – mistakenly passed a motion that highlighted SW11 is Battersea (opens PDF).

I’m sure he’s popped into the Royal Mail delivery office next door to the store and told them how wrong they are to call themselves the Battersea Office. And while he was at it had a word with Battersea Library and Battersea Arts Centre. I can only imagine how foolish they must all have felt having the wrong names all these years.

And I’m sure they’ve had a chat with their press office and the previous store manager. Pointing out their total ignorance when in 2008 they changed the name of the store to reflect it’s true location of Clapham Junction, Battersea.

11 thoughts on “In which I move to Clapham

  1. “Also if we were to change the name of the store it would lose it’s identity in the local area.”

    I hope he’s better at selling tins of beans than punctuating.

  2. I appreciate the humour (cannot be anything else surely…) in the sentence: “Having spoke to the General Store Manager, he confirmed the store is in Clapham”. Is it possible to speak to Will Hayton and have a video comment of him stating the store is in Clapham (or maybe on the Moon?)

  3. Oh dear – what a laughably inadequate response from Asda. It’s so poorly written (and barely literate, to be frank), and as you note betrays such a lack of knowledge of the actual location of the store and the previous name change to Battersea, that it could only come from the central press office of a big corporate entity that just doesn’t care.

    Surely someone in the store must remember that “it’s (sic) identity” had recently been prominently changed to ‘Clapham Junction, Battersea’? After all, most of the staff do work there.

    But it’s not surprising. In my opinion this has long stood out as a particularly poorly-run branch of the Wal-Mart estate, with a track record of baffling errors of judgement; remember for example that this was the branch that famously fought a case all the way to the High Court back in 2007 after a live mouse was found in the pic’n’mix – rather than simply apologising and sorting out the food hygiene issues. They paid a large fine and received some pretty negative national media coverage (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6321775.stm), but things didn’t improve much following that incident and the general standards of cleanliness remained fairly questionable until the very recent internal re-fit (anyone who ever visited their bathroom facilities will know what I mean…).

    This sort of arrogant (and patronising) attitude suggests little has changed!

  4. What a cretinous response, to suggest that the store is named Clapham at the behest of the manager is absurd.

    A blatant lie and a highly disingenuous response.


  5. I was born in Battersea. SW11 and when I worked for the NHS people would ring up and ask for their nearest GP, when asked for their address they would say South Chelsea, SW11.  I would always inform them that they lived in Battersea. 

    Now we see a large store, ASDA saying their store is in Clapham what rubbish.  Perhaps their Manager is unable to tell the difference between the name of a Railway station and the Borough they are in.

    Battersea was a wonderful place to live, we had Battersea Park with swings at each end and a paddling pool.  I spent hours cycling around the park.  Just before my Mother died she wanted to see Battersea Park again and was so upset to find we were unable to drive all around the park as it had been divided and was partly closed for a private function.

    As a child the old Battersea Borough Council looked after the Batteresea Park, there was always plenty of Park keepers to keep children safe, the head keeper and his family lived in a house in the Park.   The Council would never have let it out or consider charging an entry fee as I understand the current Wandsworth Borough Council tried to impose.

    I lived in Battersea throughout  WW2 and remember the cinema that stood where ASDA now is
    until destroyed by the bombs, there was also what we called Coal yards behind,  for years I seem to recall a wreath placed on the gate each year in memory of a driver who was killed in the raid.. I found it sad that a German company now has a store on the bomb site.

    I think people should be proud to say they live in Battersea.


  6. ASDA have the right to call their store whatever they want. They can call it ‘ASDA Chelsea’ if they want, what right do you have to complain? Where under UK law does it say anything about private companies being forced to give their locations geographically accurate names? Go and fight a real battle, keynoard warrior.

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