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Craft store urges employees to read ‘Fifty Shades’ and sell more sex rope

Employees have been asked to prepare for customers to ask 'sensitive' questions.


EJ Dickson


Posted on Feb 9, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 2:17 pm CDT

Much like an impending blizzard or nuclear apocalypse, everyone is preparing for the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation in different ways. Some people are having flirty and fun BDSM-themed cocktail parties; others, like myself, are trying to ignore the PR blitz for as long as possible by hunkering down and binge-watching Shark Tank.

The U.K. store B&Q, however, is steeling itself against the Fifty Shades bonanza by sending a company-wide memo telling employees to prepare for an increase in demand of rope, tape, and cables.

According to a leaked memo that circulated around the company, employees have been asked to prepare for customers to ask “sensitive” questions regarding the usage of such products in sexual roleplay.

The memo was apparently prompted by a scene in the original Fifty Shades book, in which billionaire Christian Grey visits love interest Anastasia Steele at the hardware store where she works and buys products like rope, cable ties, and tape. “Rather than bought for home improvement purposes, these products are intended to fulfill Mr Grey’s unconventional sexual pursuits,” the memo (hilariously) reads.

“We stock many of the products featured in this notable scene and then used later in the film,” reads the memo, which was sent to the chain’s 20,000 employees:

When the book was released in 2012 DIY and hardware stores in the UK and US reported increased demand of certain products and queries from customers as they tried to recreate their own ‘Fifty Shades’ experiences. We need to be prepared for the same effect when the film is released this month.

The memo also urges B&Q employees to read the book and see the movie to “familiarise themselves with the content of [Fifty Shades]” so they can adequately respond to “sensitive customer enquiries.” And I thought I was the only one who was actively encouraged to read and watch porn at work.

While it’s important to note that using items like hardware-store-standard cable ties for BDSM play is not a great idea (it’s better to use softer, thicker rope to avoid the risk of injury), it’s true that the book’s 2012 release saw a boost in rope sales at hardware stores, so good for B&Q for getting ahead of the demand. 

The chain is also lending copies of Fifty Shades to staff members, so if you’re a middle-aged B&Q employee in the United Kingdom, congratulations: Your lunch break is about to get a whole lot steamier.

H/T Telegraph | Screengrab via Universal Pictures UK/YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 9, 2015, 2:20 pm CST