A couple of weeks back it leaked out that HMV were going to ban their staff from having tattoos. It made the store look a little ridiculous, but they didn't get onto the downward spiral they're on today without clinging doggedly to an absurd line.
Their head of marketing and ecommerce, Mark Hodgkinson has given an interview to Marketing Week to explain what they were doing:
Hodgkinson told Marketing Week: “It’s [the change in policy] been taken out of context and sensationalised and we’ve given a wrong impression of what we want to do. The [appearance policy] is part of something bigger within HMV about being really welcoming and inclusive to customers and encouraging more diversity of customers and making them feel comfortable, welcomed and embraced by our stores.It's heartbreaking, isn't it? Nothwithstanding that there's very, very few people working in HMV had "MURDER" across their foreheads or walked about the headphone department with their shirts off revealing Fred West's face inked on their backs, does HMV really think its tills are silent because the general population thinks its stores are too edgy to enter?
“We will continue to embrace diversity in our colleagues - we have one of the least stringent codes in retail and we’ll continue to. - we’re just saying where it is too extreme, bear in mind we’re trying to attract broader customers and it could be something that would deter some customers.”
Seriously, Mark, your shops already make Ned Flanders' Leftorium look like Malcolm McClaren's Sex Shop. And even if it wasn't already the place where your grandma buys records, given that most chain restaurants have a couple of members of staff whose ears have got dinner plates shoved in them, I think most people in modern Britain are able to cope with the somewhat mainstream tattoo culture.
People don't come into your shops because you're the sort of place that thinks tattoos are a bit "out there".
You'll also note Mark doesn't mention the sexist insistence that female staff wear skirts at all.