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How the Other Half Live in London

rain 8 °C

After a warm and sunny start to our time in London, a cold easterly wind swept in with rain and forced us inside. But where better to be than in our local store – Harrods. In 1840 Charles Henry Harrod rented a small shop on Brompton Road in London and over time turned it into the most iconic department store in the world...
There was a time when absolutely anything could be bought in Harrods and its motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique, (all things for all people, everywhere). However, there are some things that Harrods no longer sells – like lions! Click here to see the truly moving story of a Harrods lion...
The customer is always right in Harrods and the store used to employ a person as the 'one who gets fired'. If a customer had a complaint the 'one who gets fired' would be summoned from a back office and, in front of the customer, he would be chastised for the error and fired on the spot. He would give a red-faced apology, accept his dismissal gracefully, and then return to his office to await the next firing. Many of these sacrificial lambs were actually aspiring actors. If they still do this they would never admit it.

In 1985 the store was controversially bought by Mohammed Al Fayed who was widely believed to be a front man for some unsavoury characters. Despite years of trying, Al Fayed was never given British citizenship and the Queen cancelled the Royal Warrants after he called Prince Philip a Nazi. However, Al Fayed almost got his foot in the palace's back door through his son's relationship with Lady Diana – and we all know how that turned out. Harrods now belongs to the Qatari Royal family who, presumably, may once again become “By Appointment” to those who can afford to shop in the watch department...
If you have to ask the price in Harrods you almost certainly can't afford it, but we thought it might be interesting to know how much one of these would cost. The enormous display model wasn't for sale but the assistant pointed us to the real thing saying, “Our collection starts at seventy thousand pounds, Sir, (a hundred and twenty thousand Canadian dollars). We certainly didn't start at that price, but we have been known to splash a few quid on a bit of edible bling in our favourite department, the Food Hall. It's worth a visit just to see the decor over the game counter...
And the cakes and desserts are simply mouthwatering...
The Signature Christmas puddings were a bit pricey at C$70 each, but we know what goes into a good one. And who would not enjoy finding this C$180 box of Harrods chocs under their Xmas tree...
(Friends - Don't get your hopes up) We might stretch to a few chocolates but most of the grub is out of our league. For instance, this little Italian white truffle costs a staggering C$12,000 a kilo...
We know that we wouldn't really need more than a few ounces of truffle, but maybe we could get through a nice 9oz sirloin steak each...
These are the prices in Sterling for 100 grams. So 500 grams of the Wagyu Kobe sirloin would set us back just C$850 and we could get a nice couple of Aberdeen Angus steaks for a mere C$120.
What about a pound of French ham for C$160...
With more than a million square feet of retail space and 330 departments, Harrods is an all day affair. But it is day filled with wonder and delight – would any woman really pay C$550 for a bra? Only the finest, and priciest, products from around the world make it onto the shelves of this emporium but the building itself is a treasure and we love looking at the architecture and decorations. It is in every sense a museum of extravagance...
On 16 November 1898, Harrods debuted England's first escalator consisting of a woven leather conveyor belt with a mahogany and silvered plate-glass balustrade. This was considered so revolutionary and daring that customers were offered free brandy at the top to revive them after their 'ordeal'. No brandy for us today but we still love riding Harrods escalators.

Posted by Hawkson 09:44 Archived in England

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Who on earth buys in this place? Wonder how many of the "shoppers" actually do. Seems to serve more a museum function.
Note the poor Aberdeen Angus at the bottom of the steak list though the meat may actually come from Aberdeen rather than North America.

by R and B

Prefer Fortnum & Mason myself much more my style!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by Roy

I bought a tin of cookies once many years ago. Can't remember what it cost. The cookies are long gone but the tin is still in use.

by Janet

loved your visit to Harrods, always a walk through the Food Court, for me, a drool and wanting to know why i cannot afford to splurge on the exotics ;-)))

by kenhuocj

In May of 1980 we found ourselves in Buenos Aires on our backpacking budget of $20. US a day for food, accommodation and transportation for two. We could not afford Buenos Aires, but we did discover Harrod's Food Hall and arrived each day in time for the free samples. Harrods is now closed, no doubt a result of the Falklands War, but we retain fond memories of it.

by Alison and Stevr

Forty years ago bought a pair of $500 boots. Had to wire for more money from my parents. Where are the boots today? How smart was that. I never told my parents.

by Sue Fitzwilson

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