Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

She is Always a Woman to Me,


Or put it another way ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’

‘Never knowingly undersold’ is the motto for the John Lewis department store, I’ve never been sure how it means what it means; if you get my drift; and it seems I am not alone . But the stores new TV advert is a silky smooth delivery of the shops ethos, poetry in motion in the world of TV ads, I’m sure it will scoop up awards.

For overseas readers, John Lewis a very British, very middle class sort of store, the sort of place I wander around in (just very occasionally) and come out with no more than a couple of birthday cards or a new baking tin. There is so much more I would aspire to buy, but in reality I rarely do*. The stores are always very spacious, calm, light and airy, beautifully merchandised,  the staff are always polite** and you know tea and cake in the cafe will be a delight.

So I think they would be wise to ditch the strap line in favour of the advert below. It says it all beautifully***, pass the tissues.

We’ve been humming the music in the office today, but then, it was the Banana Splits we were humming yesterday,  you see we are very fickle, we women of a certain age.  (Do you think John Lewis have thought of that?)

* I did buy a new bra there the other day, by time the nice lady in the fitting department had finished with me, there were, well, err, how can I put this, gains and losses all round, when I came out I certainly wasn’t the same shaped woman that went in the store! But I’m always a woman to me.

*** They were very kind to me some 13years ago when I  slipped and fell over in their revolving door, I was nine months pregnant with Joe at the time and on a last minute ‘nesting’ shopping spree, I had to be rescued, as every time I tried to get up the door started moving and knocked me down again, it must have quite a sight. I was very hormonal

***Not sure about the baby bump; and the token ethnic minority, just seems a bit  ‘clunky’ somehow.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

16 thoughts on “She is Always a Woman to Me,

  1. It is a very clever ad, although when we saw it for the first time the other day, we spent the whole ad trying to guess what it was for. When it came up saying John Lewis, we were quite surprised, would never have guessed that.

    Hubby was lucky enough to be given a £50 gift voucher from a client, it took us ages and lots of wandering around the store to decide what to buy. So much choice 🙂

  2. Ah John Lewis. If they don’t sell it, it’s not worth buying, and if the staff in there don’t know how to do something, it’s not possible to do it … OK, maybe not strictly true, but it’s a good rule of thumb.

    the few times I have to shop in Oxford Street, I just go straight to the big John Lewis and look there, if I can’t find it, I just go home. Saves an enormous amount of time in the long run

  3. Following the links was interesting. I’m astonished at the resentment some viewers felt, as if depicting an admittedly idealized home life of the store’s demographic were some sort of slander on the rest of society. Ah well, with the whole country debating the ad, John Lewis will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

  4. Oh shopping, errrr not sure what to post.
    John Lewis, ah errr well you have mentioned the bra department.
    Seriously though, I have to endure that shop in Nottingham sometimes. Mrs Laidbackfellrunner drags me round it.

    Nottingham has what I call the Bra triangle

    John Lewis
    Marks & Spencer

    Ive sent hours standing in them shops. Its a long job.

    What a story though Uphill

  5. I am not familiar with John Lewis or the Banana Splits, but your encounter with a revolving door when very pregnant is unforgettable. Always a woman

  6. We used to have a local store like that in our area. Then it was bought out, and has been sold numerous times since that. The location is still the same-the store never has been. So appreciate what you have!!

  7. Well, yes, it is idealised and it brings tears to the eyes. How lovely her life looks, nothing gone too wrong, everything perfect. But hey, how understanding is she of other people’s foibles, weaknesses and misfortunes? Possibly she has no idea at all.

    And another thought, how bad must your life be if you can’t make 1:29 minutes of good-looking stuff out of it? I think we could all do that some way or other. Pass me the camcorder, then click on Spotify.

  8. A fellow John Lewis lover here – one day I will have enough money to go totally nuts in their Edinburgh store. I do buy all my towels there, because they last for ever! They’re also the only city centre shop with a decent haberdashery department. I just love the sound of that word – haberdashery. Sounds exotic to me …. but it’s a great place for replacement zips.

    By the way, “Never knowingly undersold” means that no-one, with JLs knowledge, will sell the same item cheaper. They will price match, but not internet bargains, unfortunately.

  9. Why are people so upset, there are for the vast majority realy great moments, childhood, marriage, parenthood, it is possible to celebrate the good, the noble and the honorable. Many people have difficult, problomatic, indeed, tragic lives. In the real, non-whinging world it is, decades of experience tell me, people like the woman(en) portrayed in the ad who help out, by donations to charity or the loan of some tea and a chat. So it is romantic, so is Mansfield Park, so its aspirational, so is St. Hilda’s college Oxford, so its idealistic, well I want my grandchildren to be aspirational, romantic, idealists who live noble lives of love and faithfulness. If you can fault that you are in real trouble.

  10. John Lewis.

    The famous “list”.

    Where our MPs spent all our money.

  11. Should have added that it’s still the best place to get a basic deck chair.

    • And I bet they come in a choice of colours? (I now have a vision of you, knotted hankie on head, trousers rolled up, Blackpool beach!)
      We were debating the merits (or otherwise) of various local nursing homes today (a colleague is trying to find suitable care for a frail parent.)
      ‘How about Nursing home X? I hear good reports about it.’ I suggested
      Her reply, ‘We’ve looked at that, nursing home X, it’s beautiful, it is like walking into John Lewis when you normally shop at Primark
      She then went on to explain how much it costs per week in such a place, £700-800 per week, and I realised, that I won’t be able to spend another penny in John Lewis or Primark, ever, if I want to be cared for in my old age.

  12. There was an interview on the drive time show on BBC Radio 2 tonight, on this very topic; see, we lead from the front.

  13. Pingback: Give us our daily bread | Uphilldowndale

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