I’ve just discovered another reason Try Ashbourne First…everywhere else is rubbish. An inherent assumption in people going to shop in Derby or at the major chains during the Sales is that there is a wider choice and lower prices. The Sunday Times hints at the problem today – there’s a lot of “crafty” discounting going on. In their survey they found that 50% off may only apply to a small range of itmes. In their “up to 50% off” sales major stores had less than 20% of their sale stock of shoes and bags at half price.
My experience this Christmas has been appalling. Having spent 45 minutes queueing on the ramp to get into Westfield on Boxing Day I think I’m qualified to judge. I have no idea why it took that long. Spending so long watching a stream of faces heading down the ramp and home to their lovely warm houses, unable to look me in the eyes because they knew what hell I was going into, should have stopped any sane person. If you are thinking that the shopping makes it all worthwhile let me stop you instantly – I bought nothing. This journey was solely for the purpose of returning unwanted stuff.
There is certainly discrimination at work during the sales – the ladies clothes departments seem to have aisle after aisle of discounted stock in all shapes and sizes. Marks and Spencer’s must have a special range of items that only come out at sale time. In the men’s section barely a thing by comparison. Their trashy stocking filler section looks made for sale clearance time though. The whole store looks like Primark after the onslaught.
Next is a similar story – either a plague of locusts swept through or there was barely any stock in the first place. What was left was the returns from Santa’s elves, Peter Crouch or sumo wrestlers.
Maybe I should try something other than clothes? We are looking at a new bathroom and wanted to see a particular bath so we thought we’d head to Tamworth which has a larger store. Thankfully the store is tucked away in a different part of Ventura Retail Park to M&S and John Lewis…tucked away in its own private hell!. It took me two hours to get out of the car park. The gridlock was so bad that people were parking nearer to the exit than me, doing all their shopping, returning to their car and being let in by those further down the queue while I didn’t move an inch. Even more poetically, the bath was not on display and the manager’s parting words were “good luck getting out of the car park”. Not a steward in sight to help the flow of traffic and many frayed tempers. When you hear on the news about people arriving at 6 am to get into the Sales I hadn’t realised this was the only way to avoid wasting a few hours later in the day.
The retail chains just don’t get it. The only reason people will put up with being treated like this is if there is something worthwhile at the end of it. Can they really afford giving customers such a poor experience in the current climate. They should learn something from the independent retailers who can’t take their customers for granted.