SOCIAL media is a tempest at even the best of times, but when you share your name with a retail giant, it can be particularly challenging, as one American fellow finds daily, never more so in the run up to Christmas.


Don’t mention Christmas!

The retail giant in question mentioned it first and therein lies most of the trouble for the gentleman who also happens to be called “John Lewis.”


So what’s happened now?

When the end of summer is in sight, retailers start to get ready for December 25 and push the conversation in that general direction. And so, now we are well into August, the well-known British retailer - which uses the Twitter name “John Lewis Retail” - tweeted, “It's never too early for Christmas”, in relation to an online article about its predicted seasonal trends for 2021.


And then…?

John Lewis, a computer science lecturer and resident of Virginia in the US, sighed. He joined Twitter in 2007 and now gets besieged with, on average, 100 tweets a day from shoppers who are trying to communicate with staff from the British store.


So he’s used to it?

By now he is, but just like Father Christmas, the festive season is his busiest period and as for it being “never too early for Christmas”, he replied, “I respectfully disagree,” in a tweet that went viral.


What kind of things to people try to talk to him about?

In the last few days alone, one customer tweeted him, saying: “Can someone reply to my earlier tweet regarding an order I placed? It seems to be lost.” Ever patient, Mr Lewis said: “I’ll look for it, but the probability of success is small.” Another customer said: “I am unable to determine if @johnlewis has napkin rings”. He replied: “We got a lovely set as a wedding gift, but I must admit we never use them.”


It goes on and on…?

And on. Among recent tweets, a customer posted an image of a store mannequin saying: "Look at these unrealistic body expectations at @johnlewis. How can anyone be expected to have a neck like that?” Mr Lewis replied: "Unrealistic body expectations" is the mantra that keeps me sane.”


Doesn’t he go insane?

“The way I look at it is that if it got really irritating I just wouldn't do it," he told the BBC previously. “But I'm having enough fun with it still that it's not a bother. I'm always amazed at the folks who say 'how do you stand it?' and 'How do you not go crazy and yell at these people?’. First of all, life is too short.”


And he did get a star turn out of it?

He starred in his own festive advert - a Twitter UK Christmas film in 2018 featuring him replying to some of the messages sent to him erroneously. And he also receives gift packages from the retail giant every year.