A high-end department store in London created a stir after restricting access to its Christmas grotto where Santa Claus greets customers, only to those who spend £2,000 ($2,550) or more.
Harrods, the 170-year-old said only those with a Green tier 2 or above Harrods Reward card can visit Father Christmas. In order to qualify for the tier, customers must have spent between £2,000 and £4,999.
Distraught families, who have long visited the store’s Christmas grotto, slammed the decision saying Harrods was “behaving like the Grinch”.
“They have lost the true meaning of Christmas and given into the commercialisation of the season,” a customer told the Guardian newspaper.
“Visiting Father Christmas shouldn’t be reserved for those that are fortunate enough to frequent the store and spend thousands of pounds.”
Following the controversy Harrods agreed to allow 160 lower-spending families the chance to visit the grotto.
They will be slotted in among a total of 4,400 10-minute appointments with Santa Claus starting on November 15.
Tickets to see Father Christmas cost £20 per child and the grotto will operate in the five-and-a-half weeks until Christmas Eve on December 24.
Since the store received “overwhelmed by requests” to visit santa, the store decided to offer invitation only to customers with certain recognition points.
“Due to demand, we invite Harrods Rewards customers who are Green tier 2 and above the opportunity to book tickets,” a spokeswoman said.
There are four loyalty tiers at Harrods. The Green 1 Tier, requires spending up to £1,999, Green 2 Tier, requires spending between £2,000 and £4,999, customers in the Gold Tier, have to spend between £5,000 to £9,999 and finally the Black Tier where customers spend £10,000 or over.