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WHSmith blames shoplifters for removal of gay magazines

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  1. I have a hard time believing that this is the case. I’ve seen all kinds of magazines lifted by thieves in WH Smiths. Sounds very much like the manager of the store didn’t want them on display, someone noticed and told head office and they came up with this excuse

    1. Staircase2 5 Sep 2011, 4:51pm


    2. billywingart 7 Sep 2011, 7:23am

      Well they can put the front covers – enlarged on the wall where bigots cant get at them.

      With a large sign telling the customers to ask for them at the service counter or register.

      we’ll see

    3. I admit you could look at this cynically. I would like to think that the events expressed by WHSmith are genuine, although even if this is the case then the judgement call as to how to respond to the issue may be questionable

  2. They do have a copy of Gay London next to where the Attitude and GT were so its not as if theyve taken all gay things down. I believe them.

  3. WHSmith are telling barefaced lies.

    If someone intends to steal a copy of Attitude or GT then having a plastic cover on the magazine will not deter them.

    Unless they issue a statement saying that this homophobic policy will end; apologise for the homophobia of the branch in question and confirm that the manager who took the homophobic decision to hide their gay titles is to be punished; then I think it’s only reasonable that any gay person would want to avoid WHSmith.

    As for Matthew Todd – well he would say that wouldn’t he?

    He doesn’ty want this title removed from the shelf entilrely.

    I think he should condemn WHSmith’s stupidity and dishonesty.

    1. bearshaped 5 Sep 2011, 4:15pm

      If you re-read the acticle you will see that the mags in question are not in a plastic cove but are kept behind the counter.
      The thieves are probably closet cases to afraid to be seen buying them. Sad really. And most unfortunate for WH Smith.

      1. How do you know they are not homophobes who are binning them?

    2. The magazines arent behind a plastic cover. If you actually paid any attention to the picture or read the article it becomes clear that the magazines in question are held behind the counter, with these dummy boxes on the shelves. This is a very common practice with high value items and with products targetted by lifters.
      Giving smiths the benefit of the doubt here in terms of the security, however, perhaps they should work on training their staff to be less judgemental and stop looking down their noses at people who want to buy these ublications but fear the stigma attached.

  4. Paula Thomas 5 Sep 2011, 4:05pm

    Yeah, right, all those people who shoplift can’t help themselves but go for a copy of Gay Times!! Pull the other one!!!!

  5. Which other magazine titles were placed behind protective plastic covers then WHSmith.

    Or is your Leamington Spa manager homophobic scum?

    1. Paddyswurds 5 Sep 2011, 5:55pm

      …would you ever wake up . As was pointed out to you several times already, they WERE NOT placed “behind Plastic covers” or in plastic bags. There was a plastic square with the name on that you brought to the checkout. Can’t you read or even look at the accompanying pic?….sheesh. Some people!

  6. When I was in the closet, I used to nick GT from Smiths. I couldn’t go on the internet at home (this is before smartphones) and I couldn’t risk being seen buying it. Funny how I took the bigger risk of actually being caught stealing it!

    1. Good admission. I also remember how difficult I found it the first few times to actually take a copy of a gay magazine to the shop assistant to purchase it. In the film “Beautiful Thing” Jamie also steals a copy of GT from a shop, and for just the same reason.

      The explanation given by WHS is fully credible to me. It is nonetheless unfortunate.

    2. So you felt you’d rather being branded a common thief than face the embarrassment of buying a queer mag. I can understand that. But now, people who are in the same situation you were in now have to get the courage to actually ASK for these publications and no, I’m not suggesting they steal a copy – I used to bundle GT with a newspaper etc. Do I believe this explanation from Smiths? No, I do not!

  7. Just to point something out. The magazines are not housed in plastic covers. There is a plastic dummy cover on the shelf which is then exchanged for a copy of the magazine behind the counter. This in fact does deter shoplifting.

    1. It may well deter shop lifting but nobody can tell me they are the only titles they have lifted. I bet if FHM or Loaded or whatever got nicked, and the MUST do on a more regular basis, they wouldn’t take them off the shelves.

      1. That was my feeling. It just seems implausible to suggest that only GT and Attitude were being stolen.

        1. And if they were being stolen more than other magazines, why not tag them like any other product that is prone to being taken. Sound more like a homophobic manager/ess to me using theft as an excuse.

  8. Ali Hodsden 5 Sep 2011, 4:29pm

    I do not believe this excuse this for 1 minute.
    When I tried to purchase Septembers issue of Diva magazine in a Northampton store I found it on the top shelf of the men’s interest magazines in a display box next to Attitude and GT, 1 of which was also in a display box. Why would a womans magazine be displayed in the mens section anyway? I am still awaiting a response from they’re head office.

    1. Paddyswurds 5 Sep 2011, 6:02pm

      @Ali Hodsden…
      ….”I am still awaiting a response from they’re head office.”…….which expands as….” I am still awaiting a response from they are head office”.
      Can you explain this new use of these words or did you actually mean “I am still awaiting a response from their head office”.?

      1. Oh for goodness sake, don’t attack this lady for a small grammatical error, rather, applaud her for having the courage and determination to challenge this corporate bullsh*t! Good for you. Thanks for making a stand for us all!

      2. Dandelion 5 Sep 2011, 7:25pm

        Well, you obviously understood what she meant.
        So apparently you are “stupid” for understanding the same grammatical mess, or at least not adding to the actual content since you obviously understood.

        1. Oh dear Paddyswurds. You can’t pick holes in this reader’s comments so you attack her grammar. Is your life really that empty?

          1. Paddyswurds 6 Sep 2011, 8:26am

            Whats to pick other than the illiteracy. No Rossco, i didn’t make any comment about this story because I think it is a load of shyte about a shop in a town time forgot and which is probably run by management that believes in sky fairies. I didn’t “attack” anyone, just pointed out a glaring inaccuracy which made a nonsense of her comment. How, by the way, does someone who doesn’t understand the English language , read a magazine like Diva anyway, one wonders?

  9. OK – so these magazines have been removed from the shelves.

    Which other magazines have been removed from the shelves?

    I think WHSmith needs to tell us.

    They have a history of this type of sneaky, untruthful, homophobic behaviour and their explanation is not good enough.

  10. Shops can do what they want.
    SteveC id be carefull of your accusations towards WH Smith.

    1. Paddyswurds 5 Sep 2011, 6:05pm

      …. actually no they can’t do what they want if it is blatant discrimination, which this clearly was by either a homophobic or xtian manager/manageress.

      1. Paddyswurds 6 Sep 2011, 8:30am

        @Barry …
        …On second thoughts, perhaps one should have said “this clearly was by either a homophobic or Abrahamic cult brain washed manager/manageress”. One doesn’t wish to discriminate against any one of these imaginary “religions” or their adherenats.

        1. Its not discrimination, they are not preventing anyone from buying the item, or ‘getting the service’, as you can ask for it…no breach of any acts or legislation.

  11. Wasn’t it WH Smith that fussed about a Diva cover a while ago? I think it was reported on Pink News.

  12. I think it’s possible these mags were targetted by homophobes.

  13. This seems like a reasonable answer, I’m sure there’s a number of people who have tried to nick a magazine they wouldn’t want to be caught buying in the past.

    Whether this is the correct answer or not, I’m getting a bit sick of people stirring things up on twitter/facebook/other social media on the strength of one photo and without waiting for any response from the stores. I saw people demanding boycotts, withdrawal of stock, all sorts from WHSmith yesterday.

    1. No it’s not a reasonable answer.

      1. Which other magazines other than Attitude and GT are kept behind the counter because of theft?

      2. Why are the magazines not tagged to prevent them being stolen?

      WHSmith in Leamington Spa seems to be managed by either a bigot or an idiot (or a combination of both).

  14. Please pray: equality vote in Lords tomorrow.

    Tomorrow the House of Lords will vote on whether to approve a new set of equality regulations.

    The regulations relate to the public sector equality duty as introduced by the Equality Act 2010.

    Christians have seen how equality laws have failed to properly account for freedom of religion and conscience.

    Lord Waddington has tabled a motion that expresses regret that these regulations reinforce that failure.

    The added bureaucracy that the regulations will place on the public sector is also a matter of regret, under the motion.

    The motion does not stop the regulations from being approved, but it is a signal of discontent about how equality laws have harmed religious liberty and undermined ‘fairness’.

    Please pray:

    That Lord Waddington’s debate will highlight the key issues.
    That many Peers would support his motion.
    To protect the religious liberty of Christians in the UK.

    1. Dandelion 5 Sep 2011, 7:29pm

      I was going to comment that gay people usually aren’t the most religious bunch, but then I remembered my ex-girlfriend is Catholic, who now has dated two abusive men. Oh, and said “hate the sin, not the sinner” to my face while breaking up. So. I guess you’re asking for prayers in the right place.

    2. Freedom of religion and conscience should never be used as an excuse for homophobia or repression of ANY members of society. Period. And “amen” to that!

    3. “To protect the religious liberty of Christians in the UK.”

      You mean the protection of the right of a few bigots to discriminate a la carte with a bible in their had as “vindication”?

      You should pray for sense.

    4. Dr Robin Guthrie 6 Sep 2011, 1:51am

      Please keep your religion to yourself.

      Once you FULLY understand it, then you can comment.

      The arrogance of the religious knows no bounds.

      I prescribe “God is not great” by Peter Hitchens.

      It clearly tells you of Gods differing love in all 127 world religions.

      Yours is not the only one. However it is one of the worst.

    5. What difference would praying actually make in this case if your God wont interfere with free will? What has conscience got to do with villifying and excluding a whole section of society on the basis of a belief system which has no credible evidence or logical, objective arguement to support its central claims?

  15. I’d love to believe Smiths, I really would. But I can’t because this is waaay too much like what happened here:

    Well done Smiths, nasty little trick…

  16. whsmith clearly have inefficient security staff , if they concoct that their only option is to remove gay magazines to deter thieves. And when i was coming out at school in early noughties i could look up gay times etc online ,so for those leaving comments of stealing the magazines as a desperate act to gather knowledge, is not acceptable in this day and age.

  17. I would be more inclined to believe Smiths than not. These magazines are on display at all their branches near to where I live.

    I desperately wanted to read them when I was younger and not out, but didn’t have the ‘bottle’ to buy them openly. Nor did I have the courage of some commenters to steal a copy. I don’t doubt that they’ll be reinstated to the shelves soon enough.

    1. I would be more likely to believe that the manager at the WHSmith at Leamington Spa is a bigot.

      I think s/he needs to be questioned by Head office and if the manager is found to be homophobic then s/he should be trained on equality laws.

  18. Who says they were gay? I’ll bet there is a radical group of Christian shoplifters doing this to censor what is available to the gay community. (I jest!) But seriously have they caught or prosecuted any of these gay shop lifters or are they assuming that they were gay just because of the subject matter of the magazines

  19. Having worked for WHSmith for nearly three years in the past I can verify that this is entirely true and that there are other magazines that have been replaced by plastic signs before, namely gaming magazines which were targeted for the free disk and more randomly wedding magazines.

    Being gay myself I think that it is bizarre and pathetic that people are making such a fuss about this – it’s nothing to do with homophobia and it is merely a protection of a business where thieving scum are an issue.

    It’s no different to the system used with dummy boxes for mobile phones, memory stick or other expensive electronic items.

    Lastly, if it really is such a big issue for some individuals, what is the difference to taking up a plastic sign to the counter and trading it for the magazine and taking up the magazine itself to pay for it. If you were really that worried, you wouldn’t be buying one in the first place. Grow up!

    1. 1. Which other magazines except for Attitude and GT, did the Leamington Spa WHSmith remove from their shelves due to shoplifting?

      2, Why does the Leamington Spa ouitlet of WHSmith not use tags to prevent theft.

      It seems that the Leamington Spa WHSmith may be managed by a homophobe and this ‘story’ about theft has been quickly concocted to divert attention from the fact that the manager is a bigot.

      1. You keep mentioning tagging. Tagging is extremely expensive and on the whole not very effective. From a security point of view the dummy box / ticket system is much more efficient.

      2. SteveC you have a real problem with making unfounded aligations, and these are going to land both you and Pink News in trouble if you keep using their site as a platform for making these unfounded aligations of slander and lible.

  20. Oh yeah… the nation is going through a wave of gay magazine shopliftting… we believe that… no other magazines or products are being targetted by shoplifters. Just the gay ones… that’s why we decided to hide them from display. That’s right….

    1. It’ll become a feature on the 10 o’clock news!

      Yes, I am sure we’re experiencing a crime wave. Quite surprising WHSmith have taken the stand they have with it, I would have thought the likes of ‘Bolts’ ;) etc would have been more popular to take without making an attempt to pay for them! What a weird and wonderful society we live in…..

  21. Think about where Leamington Spa is – West Midlands right near to Coventry (which if anyone thinks is gay friendly needs their eyes peeling open – very, very widely!)

    According to the Big Gay Crime Survey 2008 more people fear homophobic hate crime in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the UK; and from my personal experience of this area comparing it to other parts of the country I’ve lived in I’m erring on the side of the general attitudes and “not very gay friendly of places” envirmonments in areas of the Midlands – where you’ll be stared at in astonishment for buying beauty products or wearing a purple or green shirt.
    Only today I was called a paedophile simply for sitting on a bench in a town centre in south Worcestershire- apparently my feet weren’t allowed to hurt – I just HAD to be a Daily Mail stereotype!
    I’m still checking whether or not I’ve grown a third ear out of my left nostril the reception I got in the town centre!
    I’ve had very similar in Leamington Spa itself.

    1. How is west midlands so homophobic but east midlands so accepting recently i wore a gay pride t shirt through Leicester on a Saturday night and got loads of young lads on nights out cheering me high fiveing and trying to give me a hug. Was quite funny hehe :)

      1. I don’t know, I’ve found Nottingham perfectly accepting too which is East midlands – but the west midlands – where do I begin – you wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve experienced.

        1. Loads of regional and cultural differences in UK over attitudes to different kinds of people.

          Re what Iain said about its well worth a look at some of the surveys like Big Gay Crime Survey and one from Equality and Human Rights Comission about feelings, attitudes andplaces LGBT people would avoid and not want to be in the UK.
          Those of us that live in more accepting locations should have a look to appreciate what ignorance still exists (there’s some hideous pockets of ignorance and unpleasantness out there and some of us dont realise it and take it for granted where we live) and what some folks are still having to put up with in 2011. Seriously.

          1. Agree with Tom.

            Lee – if you think Leicester’s gay friendly (which is fair enough its your opinion and its better than some places when I studied there a few years back )then your head will explode in utter astonishment if you sample Manchester or Brighton or the like!

  22. I only started buying gay magazines when shops like tesco and sainsburys (the 2 closest near me) introduced self service check outs so you never had to go give them to a shop assistant

  23. Hi Everyone,

    you are all asking the wrong questions here – I am a former WHSmith Manager I know exactly what pressure smith’s Managers are under to stop recurring thefts at any cost.

    Even 2 copies stolen of a magazine is too many for the company and for many weeks I tried (successfully I might add) to catch one guy who week in week out stole the same 2 magazines. Of course it would have been much easier just to remove these magazines all together especially if we were having more stolen then sold!

    The REAL question is why is it WHSmith Policy to place Gay Magazines on the top shelf? Are they more offensive than FHM etc? Go into a WHSmith store and notice Gay mags are always above Straight mens magazines. Feel free to ask your local Smiths manager and they will tell you it’s just company policy!

  24. – Men who engage in sodomy are 860% more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD), increasing up to 500% their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Men who commit acts of sodomy with men that have large numbers of anonymous partners, which can result in rapid, extensive transmission of STDs. Control of STDs is a central component of HIV infection prevention in the United States; resurgence of bacterial STDs threatens national HIV infection prevention efforts.5

    1. Jock S. Trap 8 Sep 2011, 10:16am

      As usual, totally irrelevent. We and who we are is NOT up for debate.

      1. I wonder if this comment will be deleted like all the rest of his wasted endeavours?

        Makes me sad…..

        ..actually, it makes me laugh.

        1. And it’s the same comment he’s posted on other threads too. He reminds me of a child throwing a big strop. Sad really. I hope he gets the help he needs.

    2. As usual, nothing about men who engage in sodomy with women, either because the man likes it, or as a means of birth control, or both. If the fundies were to offend these upstanding (no pun intended) men, the income from ‘tithes’ would fall through the floor fairly quickly.

      1. Get a life not statistics ! Sad sod

  25. Hello World 8 Sep 2011, 1:39am

    I think there’s a much more obvious answer. Someone in the store wanted the chance to check out all the gay guys who came through. Then anyone coming to the till asking for Attitude, he could ask for their phone number.

  26. Jock S. Trap 8 Sep 2011, 10:14am

    This comes from reducing the amount of people you employ. I see both arguments here viable as I’m pretty sure some bigotted managers would seize a chance to stall democracy by denying a persons right to buy these magazines.

    I also see that sadly society still makes some feel they have to hide themselves and see being Gay as shameful. If only we could restrict the bigots not the freedoms maybe this would happen fair less,

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