I have a reputation for being a bit grumpy about people pretending they are in Clapham when they are, in fact, firmly in Battersea.
I’m not sure why this has developed, since intensive cognitive behavioural therapy and daily meditation normally keeps it in check. But I know a few issues do fester. One is ‘The Plough, Clapham’, probably more because – since leaving Wandsworth – Young’s has become a soulless hotel/pub chain and the beer is no longer what it once was.
The other I consider a much worse sin: Sainsbury’s Clapham St John’s.
Not content with naming themselves after an area several miles away. Sainsbury’s have compounded the sin by making up an entirely new district.
I’m not quite sure where the name originated. Maybe they genuinely thought people call the area Clapham St John’s. It’s entirely possible they liked the ecclesiastical sound of the name which gives it a rural feel. Perhaps they feel inadequate when compared to Tesco, so like to act like a corporate giant that has no connection with its local community.
I like to think it’s a new variation on the porn star/Star Wars/whatever naming games, and you take the name of the last place you got drunk and the church you were baptised. So the manager had to think about THAT night out, checked with their parents and lo Sainsbury’s Clapham St John’s was born. (If you are interested I wasn’t baptised, so can proudly say I live in plain old Battersea.)
I have attempted to raise this with Sainsbury’s via their website, but to no avail. Initially it was passed to their ‘Careline’, who ignored me for a few months. When I chased them up, they basically said “nothing to do with me, guv” (you could almost hear the Clapham St John’s accent) but said they’d pass it on to the relevant department and the issue would be “considered carefully.”
Perhaps I’m cynical, but I rather doubt it was considered at all; I don’t think Sainsbury’s is one of those retailers that especially strives to be part its local community. I’ve certainly heard nothing since.
Luckily, I have a blog, so in addition to therapy and mediation I can vent my frustration. As well as taking satisfaction that, living in Battersea, or Chelsea Lavender as some know it, there’s a Waitrose and an Asda that both know where they are.