It was only a matter of time before the tabloids dusted off the old favourite ‘Christmas cancelled because of Islam’ headlines. They’ve treated us early this year, probably sensing the nation is sick of stories about Donald Trump and small Toblerones.
The dubious tales this time centre around a Woolworth store. Yes Woolworth. The chain closed down in Britain a few years ago but still operates in Germany. However, stories started circulating this week about one store in north Dortmund which – shock, horror – has removed all of its Christmas merchandise.
You can probably guess who the blame has been pinned on.
Cue the UK tabloids picking up the story and running with it. The Sun screamed ‘XMAS IS CANCELLED’, telling readers how ‘shocked shoppers’ were told the shop is ‘now Muslim’ and a ‘massive row has erupted after staff boasted that they would not have any Christmas decorations this year’.
A similar story ran in The Daily Express, who managed to squeeze out a piece about this trusty old narrative in between its current ‘Coldest Winter in a Million Years’ and ‘The EU is Run By Illuminati Elites’ output. It went with ‘WOOLWORTH’S STORE CANCELS CHRISTMAS OVER ISLAMIC CUSTOMERS’. Again it was stories of a ‘row’ occurring after ‘shocked locals’ found out that the store ‘had decided not to bother with Christmas… because it is now essentially a Muslim store’.
Even the Daily Mirror, normally more restrained in these areas, got in on the act with an article headlined ‘ROW ERUPTS AFTER WOOLWORTH’S STAFF STATE THE STORE IS NOW MUSLIM – AND THEY WILL NOT BE SELLING CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS’.
The papers were seemingly reporting on a story that ran in Die Bild (which is pretty much the German equivalent of The Sun). However, local paper Dortmund 24 investigated the story to discover that behind Die Bild‘s trademark sensationalism there wasn’t really much to report on.
For a start, the store is still selling Christmas decorations. They haven’t banned them or removed them or cancelled Christmas because of Muslims or anything else. They have simply scaled down their Christmas section. The reason? Low sales. The town does have a high immigrant and a lower than average Christian population, meaning that Christmas materials are not exactly rocketing out the door.
Despite the tabloids reporting on a mysterious unnamed member of staff claiming the store is now ‘Muslim’, district manager Oktay Guner explained: ‘It was purely a commercial decision’.
This was backed up by a Woolworth spokesperson Diana Preisert, who said: ‘In this branch, demand was too low’.
The excess stock has been distributed to other branches in Dortmund where it is more likely to sell. It hasn’t been taken to a local mosque for Muslims to destroy it by jumping up and down on it, which is probably the way it has been reported by the likes of Britain First and Breitbart.
To prove the point, Dortmund 24 took pictures of the Christmas display still in the Dortmund store.
(Pics of the Dortmund store and of store manager Seda Capakcur by Daniele Giustolisi/Dortmund 24)
As for the fierce rows that were breaking out as shocked customers struggled to come to terms with the depleted yuletide stocks, the paper quizzed a few of the locals to get their views. It seemed that most understood the decision and weren’t that bothered by it.
It seems the only place where rows and outrage were occurring was on the internet, after Die Bild and others had put their sensationalist spin on the story and published it to wind people up.
So basically, the Woolworth chain in Germany has relocated some of its Christmas stock from one store to another because of capitalist laws of supply and demand. Santa can sleep easy for the time being.
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