Sunday, 14 April 2013

                                                             advertising feature sponsored by Boots The Chemists


Picture the scene: You're running to catch a train. You realise there's just time to pop in to the smart, modern retail outlet on the platform and buy a magazine, a bottle of Lucozade and some chewing gum. Are you in WH Smiths? No.

Or, you're running late to go on a hen night. You could really use a shop with flexible opening hours where you could get a spare pair of tights, some condoms and more hairspray. Amazingly, you find it, right on your own high street. Are you in Tesco Metro? No.

You really fancy taking some methadone and then buying a pair of fashionable spectacles and an mp3 player before getting your auntie 6 lavender bath bombes for her birthday......Are you really off your bastarding nut? No. You're in Boots!

CHB caught up with Jan De Dentalmishap, head of purchasing for Boots PLC.

CHB: Jan, it's probably fair to say that Boot's purchasing policy is eclectic, to say the least. How on earth did you know that a shop selling contraceptives right next to ploughman's sandwiches, pregnancy testing kits, bargain DVDs, cosmetics and support hose could possibly succeed?

Jan: Well, I kind of fell into this job, a little. My previous job had been research and development for Philips, in Eindhoven. We worked in a very organic way at Philips. Our remit, basically, was to wander around the labs all day in the scud (except for our PSV Eindhoven tops, obviously), totally ripped off our trumpets on Super Skunk, trying to invent a CD player that was sharkproof, or a follow up to the 'Stylophone'. In fact, Rolf Harris would often turn up, keen to reprise his successful ads of the '60s for the original Stylophone, asking us if we'd guessed what it was yet (the  proposed follow up to '60s global smash 'The Stylophone') before usually just stripping down to his PSV Eindhoven top, bonging his little mad coupon off, eating 2 fish suppers and just walking out, in a straight line up the road, fucking mortal. Lunatic. What a class cunt. Respect. Great days, great guys.
So, as you can imagine, when I found myself being offered the post of head buyer for Boots, I was pretty much completely fucked up in the brains, and a right mad freak, so the prospect of having to source dependable supplies of tights, photographic supplies, slimming aids, electronic leisure goods, homebrewing equipment, sporting goods, travel irons, chicken tikka and raita sandwiches, barley sugar and methadone. Or the entire top 40 singles (and 20 albums), stereos, videos and computer games as well as femine hygiene products and limitless vats of our famed No7 cosmetic stuff from Hungary and northern Turkey, seasonal summer games like badminton sets and boules or some shit, Xmas gift packs for all the family less than a tenner and Viagra....well, that didn't bother me none. I looked young Mr Boot in the eye and told him "There's scenes, and there's scenes, baby. Lemme tell ya, I am TOTALLY making your scene,,,,"

CHB: What inspires you, day to day, to keep trying to make Boots number one eclectic/OCD/autistic retailer in the UK? Is it b(at this point, a statement by Jan, that he is "often thrilled by seeing young girls in Boots" goes completely haywire, and very swiftly descends to some quite robust and industrial observations on concepts too disturbing to be featured by Boots, in their sponsored feature "You're In Boots!"

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