Virginia Tech lecturer John Lewis was quick to sign up to Twitter, snapping up the @johnlewis name within a year of the app’s launch in 2006.
What he never imagined was that having exactly the same name as a British department store would one day cause him a whole lot of hassle, leading to what has become a holiday season tradition for the put-upon American.
Twitter gets particularly busy for Mr. Lewis toward the end of the year as consumers increase their store visits for gift purchases. As a result, he spends a good deal of his spare time replying to folks who tweet @johnlewis thinking he’s @jlandpartners. The messages include everything from complaints and stock inquiries to opinions about the store’s Christmas ad, which has become a big part of British culture since the first one aired on TV there more than 10 years ago.
Despite adding “not a retail store” to his Twitter profile, Lewis still receives as many as 50,000 messages on the microblogging site each year, though he admits he enjoys the fun of responding to many of the tweets.
“I think it’s hilarious that people mistake me for the U.K. store and I do my best to direct them to the right place,” Lewis told the Guardian, adding, “I see a massive spike in tweets at this time of year and I always watch the John Lewis advert, especially as it becomes a big part of my conversation.”
— John Lewis (@johnlewis) November 17, 2018
My guess is that uneven distribution of energy exploited micro fractures in the plate invisible to the eye, causing expansion and contraction that ultimately resulted in a full fracture. But what do I know? @jlandpartners https://t.co/EeP4IEMgKm
— John Lewis (@johnlewis) November 5, 2018
It depends on the color of the curtains. (Actually, I have no idea.) @johnlewisretail https://t.co/bh2vFh4N6M
— John Lewis (@johnlewis) April 20, 2018
Did you plug it in? Just trying to help. @johnlewisretail https://t.co/q9LfSEv8ln
— John Lewis (@johnlewis) February 6, 2017
I’ll try. https://t.co/hunbg4DdNK
— John Lewis (@johnlewis) November 16, 2018
In a neat twist, Twitter has now created an ad (above) for its own service that features John Lewis at his home in Blacksburg, Virginia, as he deals with the endless inquiries from British shoppers more than 3,500 miles away.
With the tagline, “This Christmas. Join the conversation,” Lewis is shown in front of his laptop as the tweets roll in. He always replies with good grace and humor, and in the ad is seen referring to a nearby whiteboard showing British/American language translations so there’s no confusion when the John Lewis shoppers receive his responses from across the pond.
You might think that the British department store would’ve offered to buy the account name from Mr. Lewis, but he said that up to now he’s yet to receive any such approach from the company.
- Capsure CEO Jeanne Lewis talks about preserving the world’s memories
- SEC sues Tesla CEO Elon Musk for securities fraud, Musk calls suit unjustified
- ‘John Wick 3: Parabellum’ — here’s everything we know so far
- First-gen vs. second-gen Echo Plus: What’s the difference?
- Cryptocurrency investor Ian Balina sees a comeback for cryptocurrency in 2019