Bad customer service in shops is my biggest bugbear. This month, I've seen the following:
- Trying to pay at the tills, while the staff carry on their conversation together about their "crappy hangover."
- The reply "I dunno, ask one of the other staff" when I inquired about a shoe size.
- Absolute silence. At the tills. Not even a hello. Seriously awkward stuff.
- Store stalking. Following customers around the store probably does reduce shoplifting instances. Unfortunately it probably reduces sales too. I left after two minutes of feeling like a criminal.
The thing is, I've worked in retail before. I know it's tough, shoppers can be rude and it can be stressful. But is raising a smile really so hard? Or putting a conversation on hold while serving a customer?
Perhaps this is why more and more of us do most of our shopping online. We don't have to deal with grumpy staff, we can search for what we're looking for in the search bar, and try on clothes in the comfort of our own homes. The only downside is, you've still got to deal with customer service if something goes wrong.
In fairness, I've seen some great customer service too. Dorothy Perkins
in general has great staff, and the serving staff in Giraffe are always really friendly and helpful. VeryGoodService
has a great resource if you want to see more evidence of great customer assistants.
Have you had any awful customer service experiences? Or any fantastic experience?
There's a great Groupon offer on today if you're a magazine addict like me. Pick up a year's subscription to a number of magazines, like Glamour, Vogue, GQ, Easy Living and Wired for £19.99, rather than up to £55.20.
The range of Conde Nast magazines also includes Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, Vanity Fair, GQ Style and Brides Magazine. If you don't fancy any of the publications on offer, you can always buy it as a gift for another glossy mag-addict.
I've got my eye on a subscription for Easy Living and Wired.
Pick up this Groupon deal for £19.99
Like designer clothing but hate the price tags? Have a look at some of these shopping sites to bag a bargain.
BrandAlley is packed full of designer sales for clothing, jewellery, home and garden, covering a huge variety of brands like French Connection and DKNY. Items usually take a couple of weeks to arrive, but you can grab some amazing bargains.
Cocosa works in a similar way to BrandAlley, but they go for more exclusive brands, and only offer a few sales at a time. It's not unusual to see a Vivienne Westwood sale on there, along with Lulu Guiness and Alice by Temperley.
Like Cocosa, Vente-Privee focuses on the higher end brands, with a section especially for the really special deals. Great brands, particularly for shoes and bags.
eBay Fashion Outlet
eBay isn't just the place to pick up a second hand bargain these days. They offer daily and weekly deals from high street outlets, as well as an eBay Fashion Outlet where you can buy designer clothing at a reduced price. Particularly good for bargains from Office and Very.co.uk.
Girl Meets Dress
Want a designer dress for an event, but not the bank account blow? Girl Meets Dress allows you to rent designer dresses, like a £700 Marc Jacobs dress for £79. If you sign up to their newsletter, you'll get £10 off your first rental too.
What's your favourite online spot for a designer bargain?
Picture the scene: You're out at a posh restaurant, enjoying a romantic night out with your other half, when he gets down on one knee and pulls out...a Costco ring box.
Yup, the wholesale warehouse has been offering diamond rings for some time. But if your partner is really rich, he could treat you to their brand new single 6.77-carat diamond solitaire ring for $1million.
Sounds a bit pricey, but the ring is actually valued at $1.6million, so you're getting a Costco bargain.
They actually sell 100,000 carats of diamonds a year, so there's clearly a market for it.
How would you feel if your partner bought your engagement ring from Costco?
Source: Daily Mail
In The News...
Every week, we're told about the latest products and treatments that promise to give you a long and healthy life. But this is easily my favourite.
A day at the shops has a multitude of benefits, particularly if you're a man. All that socialising, walking and concentrating gives your body and mind a workout, meaning you're able to live for longer too.
In fact, older men saw a reduction of 28% in their chance of buying when they shopped on a regularly occasion. The more often the better.
The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at 1,8500 men and women in Taiwan. These initial studies were then compared with the death statistics in 1999 and 2008.
What are you waiting for then? Grab your purse and shop!
Source: Daily Mail
Online shopping has dozens of benefits over hitting the high street. We can shop in our pyjamas, whilst comparing the best deals and tracking down that must have item without boring queues.
But how careful are you when you're online shopping? We might be aware when we're punching in our pins at the tills, but it seems UK women are less careful when it comes to buying online.
A recent survey by Onepoll suggests that of the 60% of us who shop online in the UK, 1 in 5 have experienced online card details theft. Despite this, two thirds of us fail to check the online store security logos, and 84% don't bother to check a website's security rating.
If you think your online shopping security could do with a bit of fine tuning, try some of the following steps, as suggested by F-Secure.
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Mary Portas: Secret Shopper kicked off this week with a look at the customer service offered on the high street, particularly budget fashion store Pilot (I swear they went broke a few years back?)
I share Mary's hatred for bad customer service. I can count on one hand the number of high street stores who actually offer good customer service (Boots, Lush and Dorothy Perkins being three.) Bad customer service experiences however are too many to count.
But unlike Mary, I'm not surprised. In fact, I almost expect bad customer service in stores where the clothing is an absolute bargain. Naively, I consider it the payoff. But why should that be the case? Customer service employees are there to offer customer service, regardless of how much you're paying for a dress.
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Sex & Relationships
We've all been there. The stubborn bra hook. There's nothing quite as awkward as having to stop at that vital moment in the bedroom to struggle with your bra.
Clumsy hands rejoice! Designer Laetitia Schlumberger has created a set of lingerie with a magnetic clasp at the front of the bra, for easy removal. The Dement's 'Dentelle' black lace set will be stocked in Selfridges this week, and several other varieties will be released in January, just in time for confused partners running around the shops in pure present panic for Valentines Day.
The lace sets aren't cheap, ranging from £165 to £259, but you are paying for convenience. Still, I'd be a little concerned my bra would ping off every time I walk past any form of magnetic device....perhaps they're best kept for the bedroom.
I like shopping. I have a purse full of various loyalty cards for pretty much every shop on the high street. In fact, I like shopping so much that I probably fall into the cliché category of shopaholic.
But I hate Christmas shopping.
The high street is full of what I like to call 'Amateur Shoppers', pushing their trolleys/prams/family slowly around the aisles. At the tills, there's the Amateur Shopper that bought along 17 different vouchers to discount 50p off their shop. Every aisle is messy and disorganised, and you don't have a chance in hell of grabbing a seat in the food halls, thanks to Amateur Shoppers taking their time.
So, I try and do my Christmas shopping online. Except, with the snow, dodgy Post Office and questionable couriers, that's kinda gone to pot this year too. Plus there's always the crushing disappointment when you realise you've ordered the wrong thing, or the item you've ordered is half the size and half the quality you expected.
So what's the solution? How do you get through the hell of Christmas shopping?
The Daily Mail has, yet again, upset the nation. This time, they featured an article from a middle class woman, complaining that the recession has popped on a Grinch suit to ruin her Christmas. The 'poor woman' has to get by on £500 a week as a writer, since the economy took a downturn and she had to take a reduction from her normal £1,200 a week rate as a TV and film producer.
Quick everyone, let's get a collection going for her!
Apparently, she's now had to switch her Christmas shopping trip in Harrods for a trip to Poundland where you have to carry your own bags.
Because clearly it's either one or the other.
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