Whenever I go into W.H.Smith, whether it be locally or at Heathrow airport or, yesterday, at a northern motorway services, the person at the check-out asks:
"Would you like some chocolate?"
Excuse me. I have selected the items I wanted from your huge range which includes numerous chocolate items. I came into W.H. Smith because you have, for 217 years, had a matchless reputation for supplying newspapers, magazines, books and stationery. If I wanted chocolate I would have gone to Thorntons across the road and stuffed myself silly. I try to maintain a -25% body fat ratio and you enticing me with chocolate does not help that.
They obviously train their check-out staff to push the chocolate. It is bizarre, but I can see the business sense to it. But they are in danger of having their fine reputation as a newsagent/bookseller being subsumed by a reputation as the shop where you always get asked whether you want chocolate.
PS. Full marks to the guy in W.H.Smith Newbury who now sees me coming and doesn't mention the C-word.