The US soul group are well known for their 1976 hit ’Kiss and Say Goodbye’. Picture:
The US soul group are well known for their 1976 hit ’Kiss and Say Goodbye’. Picture:

UK man over the moon as SA's loot delivers limited edition CD to his home

By Marchelle Abrahams Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

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Music has the power to uplift; evoking a sort of nostalgia that transports us to another place and time. It’s amazing that one song can be the soundtrack to a memory that we hold dear, and the minute you listen to it, a flood of emotions come seeping through.

For John B Sheffield, his love for Motown Soul catapulted a global-wide search for a single CD, resulting in a journey all the way from South Africa to the UK, thanks to the work of leading online store going above and beyond.

With a career in commercial radio in the UK, Sheffield has many fond memories, including working with the management team of popular boy band Take That.

“Over the years I got to interview all my musical heroes, and they came in to be interviewed each time they visited Liverpool, many became friends, The Four Tops, Junior Walker, Edwin Starr and The Manhattans, especially their lead singer Gerald Alston, to name a few,” says Sheffield.

Sheffield has a huge CD collection, many signed by the artists he met during his career.

Now 70 and retired in Lancashire, Sheffield was in search of one CD that would complete his coveted collection – “The Manhattans Collector’s Item” CD.

The US soul group are well known for their 1976 hit “Kiss and Say Goodbye”, but for Sheffield, his affinity for the group went beyond just being a fan.

“The Manhattans, and especially their lead singer Gerald Alston, became so special to me”, said Sheffield.

He had every album they had ever released. He had hoped that a DVD of their live concert in South Africa would be released. Unfortunately that never materialised.

And so Sheffield’s hunt for “The Manhattans Collector’s Item” CD began.

“I searched for it everywhere, but never had any luck finding it!”

Then he struck gold and found a copy advertised with Loot South Africa, but there was one catch.

Music has been John B Sheffield’s life. He is now 70 but doesn’t feel it at all, and he puts that down to music. Picture: Supplied

“I was so excited, but then found out Loot did not mail to the UK.

“I tried contacting radio stations and newspapers in South Africa who would allow me to post it to them, and then mail it on to me, but I never received any response.”

Except for one...

In an attempt to get his hands on the CD, Sheffield mailed IOL. Explaining his predicament, he wrote that “I ordered a copy immediately and paid for it, then last night they sent an email: ’we will not mail to England in the UK, please find someone who you can get it sent to in South Africa, and for them to post it to you’”.

Immediately, IOL escalated his query and alerted Laura Seymour, Loot’s customer service manager.

Both companies are owned by Sagarmatha Technologies.

“We don’t normally ship items internationally but after reading his story and realising it has been a struggle for him, finding this specific CD, we immediately jumped at the chance to help him,” said Seymour.

“I received his email on March 2, and before replying, I requested a quote from Fedex to see how much it would cost to ship from our warehouse in Cape Town to his address in Lancashire, England.

“Fedex replied and I emailed John B with the options we had and the quote we received from Fedex. John replied the following day, saying he was happy to pay the shipping fee as he has desperately been trying to find this CD,” she continued.

And so the journey of a single CD began.

Loot was the only online store that stocked the CD in question. Picture: Supplied

“Following it being despatched from Loot, it went to Italy, then on to Dubai, and a day or so later to Paris, then finally to Gatwick Airport just outside London.

“Sixteen days later it went by road some 325 miles (about 520km) to my nearest FedEx warehouse just 3 miles away in Warrington, and yesterday morning it was finally delivered! and I could not wait to play it. I was so grateful to Laura,” said an elated Sheffield.

In his response to Seymour, Sheffield wrote: “The sun is truly shining here in England today! Thanks for all the kind help you gave me, at long last your package arrived today! and so well packed. What a journey it has had!”

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