Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

British hardware store chain B&Q usually lives a quiet life. It had settled into its dull routine as the U.K.’s largest do-it-yourself retail outlet. It spent its nights at home, watching Call The Midwife on Netflix and caring for its goldfish. But Fifty Shades Of Grey has been its secret pleasure. The novel something stirred deep within B&Q. It was a feeling, exciting and erotic, a sensation that made it tingle in places it hadn’t before. And so, when the film version was about to open, B&Q knew what was coming. Feeling the hot sweat beading on its brow, the company sent out an internal memo, warning every employee to prepare for a spike in sales of rope, duct tape, and other bondage equipment referenced in this weekend’s film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey.

B&Q wants its employees to be ready for the onslaught of hot and bothered movie fans, ready for the extremely sexy experience of shopping at the European equivalent of Home Depot. To that end, B&Q is thoughtfully providing a copy of E. L. James’ book to all of its employees, to prep them for the erotic answering of questions, like, “Where is your rope and duct tape?” (Presumably the chain wisely avoided stocking up on the sex gel.)


B&Q knows what the people want, and its memo makes that clear: “All staff are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the content of Fifty Shades of Grey by reading the novel or watching the film upon its release. Copies of the book will be delivered to each store and can be lent to staff on a one week basis.” Employees will then be ready for the intimate experience of Fifty Shades-based transactions, a heightened state of emotional awareness that only comes from light bondage play or manning the cash register in a fluorescent-lit chain store.

After the release of the novel in 2012, hardware stores reported a spike in demand for “certain products,” according to The Independent. And B&Q knows that after fans see the movie, which includes a scene of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) assisting Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) in his quest for rope and cable ties at the hardware store where she works, they’ll be rushing out to recreate that amorous occurrence for themselves. All 20,000 employees are warned to expect “potentially sensitive customer enquiries” in the coming days. Because, much like B&Q itself, fans of the movie will no doubt want to share their most potentially embarrassing ideas with every member of the B&Q sales team.


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