To think the customer service in WH Smiths is crap?

(96 Posts)

I went in WH Smiths today with DS who has autism to choose some board games and learning toys, we also bought books and magazines. We were in there nearly half an hour, my arms getting gradually fuller and fuller, no staff offered to help, asked if I needed anything, or asked if I'd like a basket/stuff putting near the till, etc. I spotted at least 4 shop floor members of staff milling around.

I went to the till with nearly £90 worth of stuff, waited in line for ages, then was told if I wanted bags I'd have to pay 10p per bag or "how was you intending on carrying them home?" - said with a don't care stare. I don't even care about having to pay for a bag for life it was more the attitude of the person on the till, almost like she wanted me to be arsey with her! Which I wasn't, I've worked in many customer service roles and wouldn't dream of being rude to anyone serving me in a shop/pub/café/restaurant.

I came away wondering why I didn't just buy them all cheaper on Amazon/ebay, and amazed they are still in business. hmm This was a LOT of money for me to spend, but even if I was buying a 20p newspaper a smile and friendly manner wouldn't have gone amiss.

nancy75 Sat 09-Feb-13 22:23:58

Everything about wh smiths is crap, their stuff is overpriced, their shops are untidy badly laid out and never have what you want and their staff, if you can find them, desperately need customer service training.

usualsuspect Sat 09-Feb-13 22:26:45

The bags were only 1p the last time I was in there

slatternlymother Sat 09-Feb-13 22:27:06

I'm sure they used to be better a few years back.

They seem to be turning into a tat shop; and their stores are always untidy and cramped.

threepiecesuite Sat 09-Feb-13 22:27:26

I was after some stationery in there today but couldn't even get 3ft into the shore with my slim Maclaren buggy so god help anyone with a proper pram or using a wheelchair. Too much shite lying around on ends of aisles. Horrid shopping experience. They'll be next to go, I'm fairly sure of that.

MrsDoomsPatterson Sat 09-Feb-13 22:29:51

Whs ain't going anywhere! They're doing well.

nancy75 Sat 09-Feb-13 22:29:53

I don't think they will be the next to go, they take a lot of money in their train station stores and they have opened post offices in many of their branches. They are still crap though!

usualsuspect Sat 09-Feb-13 22:30:42

It's a shame really.I've always liked Smiths.

Very true about the cluttered aisles. I was thoroughly pissed off with it the last time I was in there with the pushchair (a Bee, so tiny). Then I saw a woman in a wheelchair, one with her legs stretched out straight in front of her. She had no bloody chance of getting round. She kept going down aisles and then having to be pulled back by the person she was with. Was a disgrace.

KeepingCalmAndPostingNicely Sat 09-Feb-13 22:30:48

They lost me when they kept on relentlessly trying to make you buy a bloody Terry's Chocolate Orange or a 500lb bar of Galaxy every time you went to the till with the bloody Radio Times or whatever. Horrible shop and I'm sure there must be a reason the staff are always so angry - I expect the management treat them like shit.

cq Sat 09-Feb-13 22:30:49

Totally agree. Our local WHSmith is dirty, crappy and scruffy, always understaffed and overcrowded. Nightmare to get round with a buggy. Staff don't care.

My DNiece found £20 on the floor in there once, she was over the moon, me and my sister made her do the right thing and hand it in. We left her name and a contact number in case it was unclaimed. 2 weeks later went back in to enquire, was met with a blank stare from the manager who said, it wasn't written in the message book, therefore it never happened. Basically implying we were all liars. Couldn't have been one of his surly staff just pocketing it, oh no. Didn't even apologise for what might have been a mix up or try and be pleasant about it.

What kind of a lesson has DNiece learnt from that? Next time she finds anything she'll think twice before handing it in. angry

Pancakeflipper Sat 09-Feb-13 22:32:25

Awful place. I had a lively discussion with a sales assistant once about their rudeness. A shame as they were a high street fav but in recent years I wonder how they aren't another in administration. .

usualsuspect Sat 09-Feb-13 22:32:59

I've never had a problem with the staff TBH

Yep our town centre Post Office has moved into the WHSmiths too, we also have a train station branch. The man in the train station one made DS cry last time we went in there!

I have looked on amazon and ebay and will be taking a couple of the items back for a refund as I've bought them online cheaper and didn't get scowled at during the purchasing process.

usualsuspect the 10p bags were the big sized plastic bags for life, as I had a few large board games that wouldn't fit in a cheap, smaller carrier bag.

MrsDoomsPatterson Sat 09-Feb-13 22:34:54

Staff always lovely in my local, the manager is a top bloke too, always visible, staff seem to love him.

ledkr Sat 09-Feb-13 22:36:42

I agree apart from them not offering you a basket when carrying stuff in your arms. You were in smiths not Harrods grin

usualsuspect Sat 09-Feb-13 22:36:48

I don't think you can judge all the staff on one arsey one.

IrnBruChew Sat 09-Feb-13 22:37:37

I used to work in WH Smiths, one of the train station shops. We had to push packets of sweets on customers when nuying papers etc.I never even tried, it's a shit way to get sales. If they want sweets they'll buy the fucking sweets!! Management are shocking, don't give a shit.

lastSplash Sat 09-Feb-13 22:38:45

Stopped going in there because of the chocolate/random shite pushing at the till...

lastSplash Sat 09-Feb-13 22:39:54

crosspost IrnBru. I did feel sorry for the sales assistants who had to hassle customers too.

nancy75 Sat 09-Feb-13 22:41:13

I think the not offering a basket is pretty bad, from a shops point of view you want the customer to buy as much as possible, if their arms are full and they are struggling to carry stuff they will stop browsing and go straight to the till, if the staff offer assistance the customer is likely to carry on shopping and buy more stuff, watching a customer struggle shows the staff have not received proper customer service training.

Awks Sat 09-Feb-13 22:41:45

Whoever thinks that tillpoint conversations don't increase sales, is an idiot.

WH Smiths are a trusted brand and will be around for yonks, and nope, I dont work for them.

MrsDoomsPatterson Sat 09-Feb-13 22:43:01

Nothing to stop op asking for a basket though.

mammmamia Sat 09-Feb-13 22:45:30

Awful. I hate them trying to sell you sweets at the till as well. Although I do feel a bit sorry for the staff who have to ask though.

I'm not normally the sort of customer that want's following round the shop being offered "assistance" at all but on this occasion when I was obviously struggling, it would have made sense IMO for one of them to kindly say "do you want me to go grab you a basket?" Honestly I had loads, as well as DS's overnight bag, a bag of groceries, etc and was trying to keep an eye on DS who is like a large excited 3 year old in the body of a 10 year old (well behaved but bouncy and flappy and excited). Just a sympathetic bit of eye contact and an are you ok even would have done. It's not like they could have not seen us, we were in there ages and DS doesn't exactly blend into a crowd. smile

aufaniae Sat 09-Feb-13 22:47:14

I hate the chocolate pushing thing too, and it's ridiculously overpriced. I avoid it if at all possible, although I do sometimes go in to buy a magazine for DS. Think I'll make more of an effort to use the corner shop instead, they're lovely.

And now you mention it, one of the guys in our local one is really grumpy.

It sounds from the replies like it's the luck of the draw, some people have nice staff and others not so much.

Yes to the pushing of sweets "on offer" too. Still more expensive than other shops even when on offer. hmm

MrsPoglesWood Sat 09-Feb-13 22:49:47

The last few times I've been in they've had some assistant urging you to use the self service till instead of the staffed ones and getting quite pissy when you choose not to use them. It's as if they don't realise that they are the equivalent of turkeys voting for Christmas. Am utterly baffled by it.

usualsuspect Sat 09-Feb-13 22:58:48

I would have used a basket in the first place if I knew I was going to buy a lot of stuff.

IrnBruChew Sat 09-Feb-13 22:59:09

Nice Awks! So I'm an idiot.?

Going by this thread alone "till point conversations" only annoy customers. Yes, maybe on a full shift 2 people at most will buy the sweets but its hardly a great sales technique given it pisses people off.

nikcname Sat 09-Feb-13 23:02:45

My local WHS is horrible. Tiny aisles, full of what I can only describe as shite!
As a teen was the greatest shop ever, books and stationary are my fave things.

Now it's cheaper on my kindle, books I buy from the supermarket for price or water stones for the coffee/experience/day out with DS and unusual books.

I actually went to a larger whs recently for revision guides and reading books. Nothing was suitable, went home and spend £80 on the Internet with next day delivery.

I went in intending to buy one or possibly two games . Baskets are at entrance, kids stuff right at other end of shop. I got carried away buying stuff! blush If I'd realised how much I'd have ended up with I'd have grabbed a basket but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

nancy75 Sat 09-Feb-13 23:09:12

Op you could have picked up your own basket, but, as a sales assistant is employed to assistant customers they should have offered you help without you having to ask, it is their job.

floweryblue Sat 09-Feb-13 23:10:09

Amazon or supermarket for books, since WHS decided to charge me extra for buying lots of stuff from them and wanting a bag to carry it all home in.

Never even look at M+S food for the same reason. Funnily enough you are allowed a free bag if you buy clothes, or a single pair of knickers.

TeamEdward Sat 09-Feb-13 23:10:44

I won't use Wmiths again - very overpriced, messy store, and the last time I was in there I was told off when using the self service machine! Got to the "If you are using your own bag, place it in the bagging area" stage, which I did, but because I had the temerity to use a heavyweight fabric bag instead of a flimsy plastic carrier the machine got all confused...

Southeastdweller Sun 10-Feb-13 00:14:49

I haven't experienced bad customer service from any of their staff, personally, and I do shop there frequently. I read recently the current C.E.O brought the company back from the brink - no wonder really since she brought in self-scan machines thus reducing staff costs, opening more shops at train stations knowing there's huge footfall for most of the day, and cutting down their C.D and DVD range.

It's an unpleasant place to shop now with so much stock piled up everywhere, too much of everything. But along with the rest of the 'captive customers' at Euston or London Bridge or wherever, if I need a paper or magazine then I go there as I have little choice.

olgaga Sun 10-Feb-13 00:21:54

Not sure I understand why you went into a shop intending to buy stuff, carrying groceries and an overnight bag, and didn't bother picking up a basket yourself!

Sarahplane Sun 10-Feb-13 00:29:28

yanbu ours is appalling too. The staff are crap, it's difficult to navigate, stock all damaged and strewn all over the floor. I'm really surprised they've not gone bust. They seem to be trying their best to go out of business.

NatashaBee Sun 10-Feb-13 00:54:46

I'm surprised its even still going. A friend went in there and asked for stamps to put on cards - the staff told her to use funkypigeon instead.

Genasai Sun 10-Feb-13 01:01:23

I've honestly never had a problem wih the service. On my last visit a young member of staff was practicality falling over himself to be helpful.
OP I'm a little miffed as to why you didn't grab a basket on your way in (or go back) if you were buying...

I've avoided smiths for a while due to out just being so non competitive kn price, messy, grubby and generally awful.

Went in today and was even worse.

When did it go so downhill?

JeezyOrangePips Sun 10-Feb-13 08:08:25

To the poster that said about the £20 - it might be that it was claimed before it got to the book. When I worked in a shop anything found would be left at the till until it was cashed up at night, and then it would be entered in the lost property book if it wasn't claimed - mainly because there wasnt time, but a good proportion of stuff was claimed on the day so it saved work.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 10-Feb-13 08:18:23

you should try their internet shopping experience OMG

Everything arrives after a good few months weeks, damaged - in squashed boxes etc. And then they randomly cancel parts of the orde again months later as it wasn't in stock and still isn't, despite your having been told it was due in when you placed the order.

then taking stuff back tot he store where no one knows how to do an internet refund.

<head in hands>

It used to be a great shop. It's dire now.

likesnowflakesinanocean Sun 10-Feb-13 08:20:14

used to love whsmith unfortunately not anymore, dingy shops, overpriced and shopping online with them is hellish

Tee2072 Sun 10-Feb-13 08:26:06

Smiths is in trouble. They've closed shops, including ours here in Belfast.

They don't seem to care.

CrystalQueen Sun 10-Feb-13 08:31:03

I was in one yesterday and saw a Lego kit DD is saving up for. The RRP is £25. It was on sale for £40.

I was in WHSmiths once and some guy was trying to take a photo up a woman's skirt in the queue. shock

The bloke in front of me realised what was happening and informed the member of staff on the entertainment desk, who just shrugged and said "he does it all the time, not a lot I can do about it mate". The pervy guy had legged it by this point and I put down what I was about to buy and walked out in disgust.

Disgusting. I don't shop there any more.

SmilingMakesMyFaceAche Sun 10-Feb-13 08:34:56

I worked there as a teen in 1997 until I finished uni in 2001. We were drilled with the customer service message, always trying to help people, going out of our way for book orders etc. people used to specifically come in and ask for specific staff to help them with stuff, eg we all had our own specific customers IYSWIM. Nowadays, I rarely go in. Pervious posters are right, it's full of crap with pushiness at the till (although I must admit we were told to push offers too, but specific things like pre ordering titanic on VHS when that was released! smile). I only go in there to chat to old colleagues now, it's like a more expensive version of the works I think. It's gonna go soon I reckon.

ZillionChocolate Sun 10-Feb-13 08:52:13

I agree that it's rubbish now. Feels downmarket but without the prices to match.

They could rebrand using that slogan Zillion!

stormforce10 Sun 10-Feb-13 11:34:33

I used to love WH Smith and it would be my first choice for books, stationary, magazines etc. Staff used to be friendly and helpful. It was nicely laid out with a good choice of stuff

NOW I do anything to avoid it. I wanted to buy books for a birthday present the other day and WH smith seemed to be the only option without taking a bus. I went in, hunted about, didn't like anything I saw. I finally a member of staff and asked if they had children's encyclopeidas to be confronted by a woman who seemed to think I was looking for a magazine confused. Finally got the newspaper, ignored the chocolate sales patter and left.

I remembered there was a branch of the Works about 10 minutes walk away, went there, asked the same question and got offered a choice of 3 by a lovely smiley man who clearly knew his way around the stock. Another shop assistant talked to DS (6 months) while I dithered between them. Finally chose, paid and left with my free carrier bag and I suspect it cost me about £10 less than it might have in WHS. Guess who will get my custom next time

usualsuspect Sun 10-Feb-13 11:41:02

The Works staff alway try and sell me all sorts of weird stuff that's on the counter.

The choice of books in the works is rubbish too.

fridgepants Sun 10-Feb-13 13:38:55

I had to return something there a while ago. I'm always nice and polite in shops because I can't stand people who think service industry people are beneath them - so I said please, thank you, explained everything calmly etc.

literally the only word the woman serving said to me during the whole transaction was "CARD!" and a point at the machine, rolling her eyes all the way through. Friends of mine who haven worked in shops would never think of being that rude.

limitedperiodonly Sun 10-Feb-13 13:52:07

Smiths is crap. I always join in threads slagging it off.

In brief, I hate:

1. Them voiding stealing money from giftcards and then saying it's in the small print. Who reads the small print on a fucking present?
2. Having to buy something overpriced that I don't really want so my giftcard doesn't get voided raided;
3. The way my elderly aunt remembers them as a reputable bookshop so keeps wasting her pension on their fucking giftcard scam;
4. Pushing chocolate like heroin when I finally bite the bullet and buy something overpriced I don't really want so as not to have my giftcard robbed.

Last time there was a Smiths thread someone sounding knowledgeable said they'd soon close. I'm torn because I don't want people to lose their jobs but I really hate Smiths and their cynical senior management.

mrsjay Sun 10-Feb-13 13:54:51

I can't understand why Wh SMITHS IS STILL GOING TBH it is over priced and there is never anybody around to ask where i can find x yz, ours has a post office in it but the shop never seems busy,

mrsjay Sun 10-Feb-13 13:56:07

oh I was in using the post office yesterday and dd asked me to pick up a birthday card so i was looking and they all have those stupid codes on and they are miniscule I nearly bought a card for £2.99 shock

Our post office is in WHSmiths too.There's always a huge queue (so lots of whingeing) but the PO staff are very efficient and polite so you don't wait that long. But if you do choose to go at busy times then it's, well,busy hmm

WHSmiths though- practically everything in there can be bought elsewhere cheaper.
And I never buy sweets/chocolate in there because it's so flipping hot I imagine the chocolate would be a turdy slab rather than a solid block.

But the staff are ok. One member of staff spent ages helping my 10yo DD look for a book she was trying to find (she couldn't remember the name or author, just some details)grin

mrsjay Sun 10-Feb-13 13:58:27

Waterstones books are cheaper than Smiths books I was ripped off at Christmas saw it cheaper in waterstones after i had bought angry

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Sun 10-Feb-13 14:00:00

I agree it is a horrid place to shop. The one in my town is really cramped, messy and again, overpriced. I can't remember the last time I went in there tbh, I always tend to avoid avoid avoid.

MarmaladeTwatkins Sun 10-Feb-13 14:10:14

"The Works staff alway try and sell me all sorts of weird stuff that's on the counter.

The choice of books in the works is rubbish too."

Stewart Lee made reference to this in his Carpet Remnant World stand-up routine.

"The Works; a shop that claims it is a bookshop yet seems very suspicious of books. You go in and ask them "Do you have anything by Dostoyevsky maybe? Perhaps some of the earlier works of Satre..." .."No, but we do have a papier mache model of the Pompidou centre"

Arf!

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 10-Feb-13 14:10:36

I bloody hate the post office thing. We had a huge, central town post office which had proper disabled access, automatic doors, for pushchairs and knowledgeable staff till a few years ago when it closed, and the stuck it upstairs in WHS. It now has humungous queues constantly, (it did before but there was more room) and is very very hot, overheated I mean, really hard to get to (there's a tiny lift, then piles of stuff to get a buggy round in the shop before you get there) and the staff are all young students, though they mean well.
It's so rubbish, I have to leave most times as the baby gets too hot or I feel like fainting. Why did they do it?

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 10-Feb-13 14:12:03

The works is just a cheap stuff outlet, non? Not a real shop in its own right with its own stuff, iykwim.

Mind you WHS do have super deals on fountain pens sometimes. Only cos no one buys them I guess. Really sad what it has come to.

mrsjay Sun 10-Feb-13 14:13:02

Dunno rooney our huge post office is now a pub It was a great building and now it is Upstairs in smiths I thing ours closed because it cost alot to run it was a huge old building

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 10-Feb-13 14:16:50

sad Ours is Chimi changa I think

Odd Chinese restaurant thing with statues etc

MarmaladeTwatkins Sun 10-Feb-13 14:20:45

A chinese called chimichanga?!

shock

confused

FanFuckingTastic Sun 10-Feb-13 14:20:54

I used to work for them and I wasn't terrible at all.

I had special customers who came in to see me, the two older ladies with walkers who used to buy me fruit, and the older man on his mobility scooter who liked his paper and a packet of polos, plus the lady with sight issues who used to get me to do her lottery ticket for her.

I greeted all customers with a smile, even on Christmas Eve, when I was sick and could hardly talk, and when I got promoted to the customer services counter I introduced a new filing system for DVDs and the like which made it faster to find matching DVDs for boxes.

The problem with many companies I guess is that they employ younger staff because it's cheaper and then don't train them properly, so they give you their moody stares and teenage attitude. And with the rate of their pay, I guess I can understand it a bit.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 10-Feb-13 14:25:38

Sorry Marmalade I thought it was called that, no idea, I don't go out to eat. Why the shock though? (am I missing something)

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 10-Feb-13 14:26:22

Oh it's Mexican, sorry. Just looked it up.

calandarbear Sun 10-Feb-13 14:27:19

YANBU

I used to love WHSmiths then last year I asked DH for a fountain pen for my birthday ( I was sitting an OU exam and find it hard to wrote for a long time with a biro) I was so excited but got in there to find they no longer have a Pen Counter. I mean really who buys a fountain pen in a sealed packet from a shelf, without trying it.
We went and got one from a department store instead with a helpful lady and all the exitement of her unlocking the display case and trying lots of pens.

MarmaladeTwatkins Sun 10-Feb-13 14:27:23

Heh heh! grin

Just shocked at the confusion that this could cause... you think you're going to get some hot mexican parcel and you get a spring roll... Imagine....

mrsjay Sun 10-Feb-13 14:30:40

OH and another thing the post office staff ALWAYS seem to refuse passport photos if you use their check and send, last year dd and dh renewed theirs at different times and they sent dd back to the shop for retakes 3 times dh twice then he just posted it himself , and i have heard a few people moan about them, that isn't wh SMITHS FAULT BUT I DO LIKE A MOAN ABOUT IT grin

tempnameswap Sun 10-Feb-13 14:36:03

YANBU - I think they are heading the same way as HMV.

Went into a large branch the other day to buy a fountain pen and came out empty handed. Chaotic shelves, random stock, no way of trying anything and (friendly) assistant who recommended a different shop!

limitedperiodonly Sun 10-Feb-13 14:38:00

What is The Works? Sounds like something worth hating.

Way back in the last century a schoolfriend had a Saturday job at Smiths and was saving up to buy their Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horrible Deaths or something or other like that.

We'd spend every Saturday looking at it. It was definitely worth it but looking back it seems their wages policy must have been shit even then.

limitedperiodonly Sun 10-Feb-13 14:40:17

And do you remember their Win A Pony competition? I did but I never won sad

They were morally suspect even in 1975.

limitedperiodonly Sun 10-Feb-13 14:44:22

I'm going to suggest they resurrect it as the Win A Lifetime's Supply of Findus Crispy Pancake Beef Pony and Onion Flavour Competition.

Can't be any more cynical than recent management decisions.

HoobleDooble Sun 10-Feb-13 14:46:05

Our local WHS is totally inaccessible for anyone with a pushchair or wheelchair, the shelving is so close together with tight turns at the end.

The last time I went in was just after I'd had my DS by c-section, I'd walked into town to get an anniversary present for DH as I wasn't able to drive, and thought of a few DVDs or CDs that would be nice. WHS is now the only outlet for sound/vision in our town (oh Woolies, I still miss you!!!). But it wasn't until this first (and last) visit with a pram that I realised they haven't got a lift, just a steep flight of stairs, and, as all the CDs, DVDs and books are on the 1st Floor, I left empty-handed.

Porkster Sun 10-Feb-13 14:46:46

I'm staging a one woman boycott of my local WH Smiths.

There's always a queue snaking across the shop, with 2 people serving on the tills and 4 members of staff wandering around being gormless.

You have to go upstairs for children's books, stationery etc but no-one ever serves at that till. Despite the fact there's always 2 people standing behind it, they have a sign saying go and join the queue downstairs (paraphrasing).

When I eventually reach the till, vein pulsing in my temple, the staff are always surly. And no, I don't want any chocolate; if I did I would have picked it up!

Grrr.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 10-Feb-13 15:21:24

How is it relevant to your complaint that your DS is autistic? hmm

I don't understand why you didn't buy everything from amazon either. By all means go to Smiths to look and choose, but why pay over the odds to haul it home when you could pay less and get it delivered for?

MarmaladeTwatkins Sun 10-Feb-13 15:24:44

That's helpful, Holla.

I would imagine that the fact that her DS is autistic might be that she could not say to him "Sorry but I am not going to get these from here, tooexpensive, I'll get them from Amazon. You'll have to wait a few days though" in case of a meltdown? If he thought he was getting his books and stuff THAT DAY, a delay might have been bad for him.

Take the chip off your shoulder.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 10-Feb-13 15:37:19

Guess I just thought the OP was going to end with the DS being upset by someone unkind/insensitive, which would be a reasonable thing to be pissed off about. Instead the OP seems to have randomly mentioned it to garner sympathy before launching into a rant about the staff not fawning on her enough being rude and unhelpful. I agree WHS is a bit shit, but it's a bog standard high street newsagent, not Fortnum & Mason.

edam Sun 10-Feb-13 15:42:51

Smiths is a miserable shop. Gloomy, depressing, over-crowded with piles of cack teetering at you every time you go round a corner, pissed-off unhelpful staff and long queues.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 10-Feb-13 15:44:37

There is no service to speak of in Smiths. Horrible place. Trumped only by Iceland and the Main Post Office.

fridgepants Sun 10-Feb-13 16:38:28

In my home town, your choice for book buying is Smiths, The Works, or charity shops - often the latter are a better option in terms of choice as well as price. The local library is great, but that's not ideal for me as a visitor....

FakePlasticLobsters Sun 10-Feb-13 16:52:03

I used to spend a lot of time and money in WH Smiths but our local store has been going downhill for years and I go elsewhere now. In fact, some friends bought me a gift card for WH Smiths for my birthday this year and I was surprised to realise they were still open, I'd forgotten about them completely when I was looking for a particular book.

My biggest problems were the fact that the shop can't seem to decide what it sell now. Is it books and magazines or is it the massive display of vile pick and mix sweets that you almost have to climb over to get through the door. Because you can't use the other door, it's blocked by a fridge selling spots drinks and a mad woman trying to take white-background photographs of your baby before you can escape and hide behind a pile of tat.

Upstairs is no better. They've used the books and games to build a massive series of maze like tunnels, occasionally booby-trapped by a box of creme eggs or chocolate oranges and if you can find someone to serve you they give you a whole tree worth of Ocado vouchers and 15% off an easel the next time you spend exactly £37.62 on pencil sharpeners before 9am on February 29th only.

Which is impossible, because despite them having the opening hours on the door as being 7:30am, they don't open until 9am because "nobody wants to come in before then." I know this because I used to try and get my morning paper from them on the way to work at 8:15am and they would never let me in.

And they are overpriced. And they hide their books in weird sections that they don't actually belong in.

Will slink back to my pedant's cave but ... it's W H Smith. No plural. Guess you can tell I'm bored on a dull, grey old Sunday afternoon.

limitedperiodonly Sun 10-Feb-13 17:17:24

Holla buying from Amazon means only that you're embroiled in those angry 'why does my neighbour expect me to take in her parcels?' threads that baffle me because I suspect I'm the remaining person on earth to buy things from actual, real life high street stores and take them away there and then.

Just not W H Smith (thanks southdevondelight)

razamatazz Sun 10-Feb-13 21:09:55

I say this every time I go in. No one on tills but plenty of supervisors, hardly any stock, can't find anything in there. How on earth it's still going is a mystery to me. I used to love going in there when I was little with my pocket money each week too, it's a shame.

Floggingmolly Sun 10-Feb-13 21:17:12

They used to be fabulous shops, but have gone downhill shockingly in the last few years. It's a shame sad

freddiefrog Sun 10-Feb-13 21:27:50

Our local WHS used to be fab with really helpful and knowledgeable staff.

It's awful now, I'd rather go to Waterstones for books, their staff know what they're talking about and are willing to order stuff for you of they haven't got it

Last time I went to WHS, it was full of stationery covered with owls, cupcakes or Russian dolls, the book section was virtually empty apart from overpriced z-list sleb autobiographies and the lady on the till was determined to sell me either stamps or sweets. She wouldn't take no for an answer so I went elsewhere

pineapplecrush Sun 10-Feb-13 22:28:06

They have definitely lost their way, trying to sell a bit of everything. Stores are really untidy and not a pleasant shopping experience at all. Agree their staff look as if they dislike working there - perhaps someone could enlighten us? Thought new management had been brought in to sort out but nothing has changed in the 2 branches I occasionally visit.

FanFuckingTastic Wed 13-Feb-13 22:37:27

I contacted WHsmiths about the complaints and they messaged me back and said they would do something about it. can't copy the email as on my tablet, but it sounded positive.

The complaints on this thread FFT? Had forgotten I'd posted this, your post had bumped it back up my threads I'm on page.

To the poster who asked why I mentioned my DS's autism, it was not to garner sympathy hmm it was to illustrate I couldn't have popped back up to the entrance/exit to get a basket (he would have got extremely upset), or leave the items at the till after the churlish service (again he wouldn't have understood and would have got upset), I couldn't have asked him to help me with the balancing act of carrying (his co-ordination isn't as it should be). So basically it was more to give an idea of me not being a straightforward shopper. Also as I mentioned he is quite obviously quirky in public, he makes odd noises, flaps, bounces up and down, etc. In terms of picking games it also means I can't just look at the age ranges on the boxes which is why choosing took us a little longer.

I was more annoyed at the churlish, almost challenging way I was told I'd need to buy a bag than I was at the basket issue.

The fact there were 4 shop floor staff milling about not helping anyone, and only 2 young girls on the tills did seem silly though, especially as there was a queue as always.

FanFuckingTastic Thu 14-Feb-13 12:31:40

I did discuss disability with them as I am disabled and my daughter most likely has a form of autism, I suggested some training in customer service and some sort of disability awareness training also.

I have my fingers crossed as I am an ex employee and it was sad to see how many people had a bad experience with them.

consonant Thu 14-Feb-13 13:00:14

I agree it's dreadful in there now - cluttered, impossible to find anything, quality of own brand products poor and that's before the sweetie-pushers at the till.
I used to love it as a child - books, toys, stationery, nicely laid out and good quality.
Sadly I think the bargain positioning is what has enabled it to survive the recession rather than the other way round. it is horrible in there now.

popcornpaws Thu 14-Feb-13 14:29:57

I once had an interview with them and the manager spent the whole time bitching about the staff and how useless they were...

berndoo Tue 03-Dec-13 13:51:12

I have to say I fully agree with previous comments. W H Smith must surely provide the worst customer service by a supposedly major retailer. Used their online ordering service and have been unable to find the whereabouts of the order despite the money being debited from my bank account almost immediately. No e mails to update me, and customer services provide a different response each time they are contacted. I would like my money back but cannot claim it online as there is no facility. How much of a stink do I need to create before W H Smith take notice. They should either provide a proper service or cease "trading" online. They are to be avoided at all costs

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