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MiNDFOOD Interview: Jeremy Piven

Jeremy Piven, who plays Harry Selfridge, founder of the iconic department store, Selfridge’s in London, dishes to MiNDFOOD about what

MiNDFOOD Interview: Jeremy Piven

Do you get a discount when you shop at Selfridge’s?  

(laughs)  Yes, I do get a small discount!

Do you go there often? 

Not only do I go back to the store, but it’s really weird, I go past it all the time to take a look at it because it’s so overwhelming just the actual physical presence of the store.  And with Harry, everything in his life he went big. But listen, if I were to walk into Selfridge’s, looking like this (in character) it would cause…. it would be very distracting for shoppers and I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of shopping.   So when I go, I throw a hat on and some glasses and do a little bit of shopping.  I get in and out, but I do go past it all the time.  They are going to put a restraining order on me soon because I am basically stalking the store. (laughter)

Has your shopping experienced changed since you started the show?  Do you enjoy it more?

I am not a great shopper and I have no endurance for shopping; I don’t think many men do.   I think if they said that they did, they would either be lying or they would be a designer or be someone that is fascinated by all the aspects of it. And we just don’t have endurance for it and I think so many men will take a pair of pants and put it around their neck as opposed to trying them on – and that trick works by the way. You can see if a pair of pants fits you by putting it around your neck but it’s different for women.And yeah, it makes it really, really fast. And I go into stores and if the salespeople are ignoring you I notice it right away because after researching and just playing this role and his credo was “the customer is always right,” they come first and to treat them really well, and so it does bother me when I walk into a store and I am completely ignored.  There’s a part of me that wants to bring the staff over and have a team meeting. (laughs) So I have to calm down a little bit. And so yeah, it’s made the experience different for me for sure.

What do you take from America to England and vice versa?

Well, men are very fashion forward here in England and they have fun with their clothes and so you get a lot of that here that you don’t necessarily get in the States at all. And the quality of the shoes here for men, with the wing tip shoes and everything IS just brilliant, and so I bring that back to America. Because sports are completely different, even just the American fitted baseball caps that I have in the States, I bring over here to London and I miss my American sports and don’t understand cricket.  I didn’t say I disrespect it I just said that I don’t understand it. It apparently takes 116 days and it’s just a confusing event. (laughs) But God bless them. (laughs) And the Queen! And if you just look on Oxford Street for instance, in the pilot they say to Harry, ‘Why are you building this store at the wrong end of Oxford Street? There’s nothing here, so what is the point of it?’ And then you look at what has happened since then, and it’s just incredible and I mean he’s like those guys that went into the desert and created Vegas when there was nothing there. Everything else, you build it and they will come, and for him to do that at the turn of the century, when no one was over here, was just kind of incredible.  Selfridge’s was ahead of its time.

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