High street retailer Marks & Spencer has been accused of taking political correctness too far after it emerged that it has banned use of the name ‘Dick’ from its online birthday cards.
The practice came to light after 77 year-old grandmother Ruth Levy attempted to send a digital greeting to her friend Richard, whom she calls Dick, but was blocked by an automated program.
Instead of sending the card Marks & Spencer gave the grandmother a warning message, citing her use of ‘profanity’ for the block
Commenting on her experience Levy said: “When it came up with, ‘Your message cannot contain profanity’, I didn’t get it. I’m obviously too innocent. I thought it must be the word “significant” that it thought was dodgy, but it still would not accept it. I tried various ways, taking out bits of text, but it still said no.
“After I wrote to M&S to ask what I had done wrong, I could not believe it when they sent me a prissy letter saying it was because my friend is called Dick.
“It is political correctness gone absolutely mad.”
Responding to the incident M&S said it would not change its systems to protect people from harassment.