By Alexander Lawrie
A POPULAR high street store has been criticised after it emerged bags of their Christmas sweets go out of date two weeks before the big day.
Marks and Spencers started stocking their shelves with Christmas goodies on October 1, and claim the Christmas sweets are designed to be “consumed soon after purchase”.
But shoppers and consumer campaigners have branded the store’s decision to stock the early-dated sweets as “ridiculous”.
Suzanne Mackie, 22, from Edinburgh, began her seasonal shopping at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Edinburgh last Monday, and stocked up on bags of the treats for younger members of her family.
But when she got home to start her wrapping she was horrified to see the bags of Christmas Jelly Babies were out of date on December 9.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I got home to find out the bags of jelly babies were going to be out of date on Christmas Day.
“I was going to give them to a couple of my nieces as a gift, but they could have taken ill if they had eaten them.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that a quality company such as Marks and Spencers could make such a blatant mistake. It’s bad enough shops selling Christmas goods in September or October, but for those goods to go out of date before the big day comes around is ridiculous.
“At a push I could forgive them if it was just a day or two, but these sweets go out of date over two weeks before the 25th.”
Shopper’s group Consumer Focus Scotland admitted the company was selling products which could easily mislead their customers.
A spokesman for Consumer Focus Scotland said: “Consumer Focus Scotland believes in a fair and open relationship between consumer and company. While all sell by dates and use by dates are clearly stated on the packaging, we feel that in certain cases, retailers could give more thought to labelling that while not deliberately misleading, could be easily misconstrued by the consumer.”
But Marks and Spencers denied any wrongdoing, insisting that the jelly babies were meant as a quick impulse buy, which would be eaten long before Christmas day,
A spokesperson said: “Our Christmas Jelly babies are a seasonal version of the popular sweet designed to be an impulse-buy consumed soon after purchase.
“They have historically been very popular early in the season as a treat for shoppers. Stock is refreshed regularly so that nearer to Christmas the sweets will have a use by date that lasts over the festive period.”