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AIBU to not be surprised the High Street is Dying?

(76 Posts)
MythicalKings Tue 09-Jun-15 13:34:44

A few weeks ago I bought a pair of shoes in a store in town. This is a real find for me because I have trouble finding comfy shoes.

So I decided to buy a couple more pairs in different colours. I had 25 minutes before I had to get the next bus home. I went into the store this morning and there was only one assistant serving. Usually there are 3 or more. She was serving a lady struggling to find something to suit her. I wandered around the shop looking at other shoes then spent a few minutes deciding which colours to buy the new pairs in. I had no acknowledgement of my presence at all. Not a smile or an "I'll be with you in a minute" or even a "Hello".

Meanwhile I could hear that there was someone in the stock room moving around. I went to stand at the counter to wait. A woman came out of the stock room with some shoes which she gave to the other assistant and went back into the stockroom. She had to walk past me twice but didn't make eye contact at all.

Still the woman hadn't found anything to suit but was chatting away to the assistant about her holidays and other chit chat. I am aware that I am not the most patient person in the world and that the other woman had a perfect right to take as long as she liked to choose her shoes but I had been in the shop at least 10 minutes and no one who worked there had said a word to me. More time passed.

The assistant came up to the till, where I was still standing, with the shoes the woman had chosen. The woman was putting her shoes on. The assistant said she'd serve me as soon as she had finished with the other customer. No "Sorry for the wait", no "I hope you don't mind if I serve this lady first". Not even a smile.

So I said, very calmly, "Never mind, I'll go somewhere else." And I missed my bus anyway.

I've been able to find them cheaper online so have ordered them.

So AIBU to think that this is the sort of attitude that is killing High St shops?

bilbodog Tue 09-Jun-15 13:39:37

YANBU - customer service can be very crap in places. Sad but true.

susanstryingterm Tue 09-Jun-15 13:40:42

Yes YABU. That is one shop with unhelpful assistants. It's not representative of all high street shops.

Myricales Tue 09-Jun-15 13:48:51

It's not representative of all high street shops.

Indeed, it sounds better than most. No deafeningly loud music, for example.

I don't even bother trying in the high street any more. They don't want my money, so I'm perfectly happy not to give it to them. You can't park, the staff aren't interested in serving you, the music is deafening and the shops appear more interested in drawing in crowds of teenagers with no money to spend than me with money in my hand. So I spend a couple of hundred quid a month online, and the high street will presumably revert to housing once the rest of the shops have died off. Their fault.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Tue 09-Jun-15 13:53:23

I think most high streets will end up solely comprised of the stuff you have to do in person: cafés / hairdressers / nail bars / charity shop / gadgets. Everything else will be online or out of town malls

AvocadoLime Tue 09-Jun-15 13:56:10

Hmm, yes that is just one shop, but I think that poor quality staff is reflective of retail only paying NMW and most contracts being part time. It doesn't pay a living wage so a lot of people working in retail are in full time education or looking for something better, so they don't keep hold of good quality employees for long. Not to mention shops are often understaffed and, IME of jobs as a student, employers sometimes care little about their welfare.

ItsTricky Tue 09-Jun-15 13:59:41

The main thing in all shops is getting money in the till. If a customer is waiting to give you money, take it asap!

I've walked out of places over not being acknowledged at all. We found a beautiful little cafe once, in the middle of a park by the sea in Devon. We all walked in and were standing at the counter expectantly while two members of staff just carried on their conversation. No 'just one minute' or anything. We walked out and found another cafe with a warm welcome.

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Tue 09-Jun-15 14:02:08

YANBU. If you had ever got served, you would have probably found out that they didn't have your size.

Your experience sounds a bit like our Co-op. One member of staff on the till, a queue ten deep and the other 3 or 4 staff are either hiding in the back or pretending to stack shelves.

MitzyLeFrouf Tue 09-Jun-15 14:07:37


Cheaper prices online are killing the high street.

Fleecyleesy Tue 09-Jun-15 14:07:56

Pretty silly of the shop staff to ignore someone who wants to give them money for that long. Presumably the actual business doesn't belong to the staff so they don't actually give a stuff what sales are/are not made?

But yes, crap service and rudeness in high street shop is not a great idea in the days of the Internet.

Myricales Tue 09-Jun-15 14:10:23

Cheaper prices online are killing the high street.

I have no idea if the stuff I buy is cheaper or more expensive. I simply don't go to the high street. On the odd occasions when I do (on holiday, perhaps) I am reminded of why I usually don't. I'm not bothered about saving a few quid, I'm bothered about being able to buy what I want, when I want it.

VacantExpression Tue 09-Jun-15 14:12:01

Here here for the loud music comment too- I went into a shiny new Office store recently, I was planning to buy at least two or three pairs of trainers. The music was deafening. Went in, turned round, left. Horrendous.

Depending what shop it was OP I'd be inclined to email head office they should know when rubbish service you experienced.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 09-Jun-15 14:14:07

You're right to be annoyed but sadly ime shops with lovely staff be dropping like flies as well.

HerBigChance Tue 09-Jun-15 14:21:02

The loud music thing does my head in too. M&S seems to have it now (even in the food bit), so does Pret and so did Greggs the other day.

Why do they play too-loud shit in places like this?

MythicalKings Tue 09-Jun-15 14:45:02

The shoes were the same price online but I had to pay postage, so it's costing me more. sad

I have always loved High St shopping. I like to see things on hangers and to try them on. It's difficult to see exact colours online. When I was at school and university I worked in several shops in the town and I know it's not an easy job, although I did enjoy the interaction a lot of the time.

I wouldn't have minded waiting even longer if the assistants had at least acknowledged I was there at some point prior to her telling me I'd have to wait.

kittycatz Tue 09-Jun-15 14:45:14

I live in another European country and it is even worse here. They have a limited selection of things to buy. There is very little for those on a budget. Most things are horrifically expensive. We have over-bearing shop assistants too who are pushy and give you a right old spiel about the quality of the product and why it is worth a small fortune. It isn't... and isn't high quality either, they are just taking the piss.
Shop assistants selling children's products seem to be the worst and really tug on the heartstrings (ie. emotional blackmail) of parents saying "Doesn't your child deserve the best?" (The best being some over-priced piece of tat) or "Don't you care about your child's safety?" when my friend wanted to buy the cheapest of the 3 car seats available (all of which conformed to EU safety regulations but she simply did not have the money for the 500 euro intermediate range car seat and wanted the 300 euro one instead). Friend ended up in tears and left the shop without the car seat.
In this country people haven't gone online shopping on mass but people are starting to realize that it is a viable option.
I absolutely cannot stand high-street shopping here. It is unbearable. So I buy everything online to avoid the pushiness.

NotBeingUnreasonable Tue 09-Jun-15 14:49:54

I've been having a problem with supermarkets recently.

Our nearest supermarket is a co-op and they never have any tills open, only the self service ones, it annoys me but isn't a big problem as I usually only nip in to get a few things.

But I went to our local ASDA to do a big weekly shop last week. When I went to pay there were only self service tills open. It wasn't quiet, and there was a couple of old ladies obviously struggling with the self service till sad

I had a trolley full of food and baby DS in the trolley seat, strapped in but getting bored, whinging and trying to climb out. It would've been a nightmare to scan it all and pack it all myself whilst trying to look after DS as well.

So I found a member of staff and asked them if they'd open a till and serve me. They were very nice about it and opened a till. As soon as they did a big queue appeared behind me. So I clearly wasn't the only one wanting to be served.

I don't mind self service tills as an option, but I do think there should be staffed tills open as well for people who need the extra help or whatever.

Bunbaker Tue 09-Jun-15 14:51:15

"I simply don't go to the high street. On the odd occasions when I do (on holiday, perhaps) I am reminded of why I usually don't. I'm not bothered about saving a few quid, I'm bothered about being able to buy what I want, when I want it."

Which is why I buy shoes and clothes in actual shops. I have size 6 feet, but end up having to try on loads of pairs of shoes before I find any that are comfortable. If I bought shoes online it would take weeks of ordering and returning shoes before I found any that fitted properly. Also, I am not a standard size, and clothes sizing is all over the place anyway, so I prefer to try clothes on before buying. I really CBA with all the faffing around of buying online and returning stuff all the time.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Tue 09-Jun-15 15:02:33

I don't even mind paying a few ££ extra for actual service and the ability to try things on and get them immediately. Smart shops need to work out that interaction with real humans is their USP vs online shopping and make it a feature. Not the sort of experience the OP had

SevTSnape Tue 09-Jun-15 15:05:25

I'm sorry to hear you had bad service in store OP.
But when I left retail a couple of years ago, in every store I worked in (I've worked for a lot of high street retailers because I would get bored), it was all about the customer.
However, at the same time, there were always cutbacks on available hours, so much so that I would be in store alone until 2pm most days. It was hell when it got busy. I wouldn't have a break until 2pm and I hated that, as I'd be in from 8.30am.

Please don't stop shopping in the high street where possible, these people are not getting paid a lot and being made redundant would be the worst for them.

RainbowFlutterby Tue 09-Jun-15 15:08:04

I think in a lot of cases the delivery charges for online shopping are cheaper than bus fare/parking fees so that's not really helping the high streets either. I much prefer shopping online. <lazy>

Topseyt Tue 09-Jun-15 15:09:53

I think the High Street will have to adapt a lot to survive.

I think it will survive, but in quite what form remains to be seen.

I do both online shopping and occasionally High Street shopping. Both have pros and cons.

The High Street is often more expensive, though is perhaps trying to fight back a little now. There are still some occasions when I do like coming away with my purchases straight away rather than waiting for delivery a few days later, which usually comes when I have to go out.

Online is choice, and often cheaper. I do sometimes find it difficult to judge things from a photograph or from someone else's written description.

I think it is higher taxes and overheads that are strangling the High Street though. High rents must limit it's freedom to compete with the internet.

Myricales Tue 09-Jun-15 15:11:48

waiting for delivery a few days later, which usually comes when I have to go out.

Amazon Locker.

Andrewofgg Tue 09-Jun-15 15:16:56

I won't buy in-store what I can buy online, and I won't buy in the High Street what I can buy in the shopping centre or the supermarket. That's what suits me and I owe no duty to support one form of retail over another.

But it is not fair to restrict the hours of brick-and-mortar shops, wherever they are, when online retail goes on round the clock, and that needs to be addressed - it obviously wasn't an issue when the Sunday Trading Act was passed in 1994.

Now I suppose someone will suggest that the online retailers should be forced to keep their servers and their depots closed when the supermarkets are not allowed to open . . .

Andrewofgg Tue 09-Jun-15 15:18:22

Myricales My shopping is a combination of supermarket, shopping centre, and Amazon Locker at the shopping centre.

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