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To feel that Clarks are taking the pssss?

67 replies

IdreamofClooney · 01/10/2007 11:17

I am inclined to lose perspective when I feel I am not getting good service so any input would be appreciated...

I bought DS (2) a new pair of clarks shoes six to eight weeks ago. He;s actually had very little wear of them as he wore cheap canvas shoes on holiday for two weeks.

On saturday I noticed that the stitching was coming away on the front of both shoes so took them back to the shop and complained.

The assistant's response was that his feet were too big and were causing the shoes to split and she said he needed to be remeasured and that to avoid that problem I should avoid shoes with seams in future

She duly measured him but before she told me what size he was she asked what size his shoes were - I told her 6G (I should of course have asked "what size is he now" but anyway) she said he was now 6 and a half G

She then went and got the only two pairs of shoe in 6 and a half G. DS tried them on and the pair we liked were too big - the assistant told me they were so big they would slip off!

At this point I felt like I was being done. I was certain that his shoes still fitted him (ok I am not a trained shoe fitter but his toes were no where near the top of the shoe) and that the shoes I had paid £26 for a few weeks ago were falling apart and yet clarks were trying to sell me a new pair that were too big as opposed to re-placing a faulty pair.

Surely shoes for toddlers should withstand general wear and tear? I would not expect a pair of shoes to fall apart after six weeks and I walk five miles a day.

Any one had a similar experience with Clarks?

OP posts:
Troutpout · 02/10/2007 13:58

I went into clarks the other day and dd had her feet measured. She stood on the machine thingy and it said 12 E
The assistant (who didn't realise i saw it)said 'oh she's an 11 1/2 E'. I said..'but it said 12 E!' She said 'oh we just use that as a guide'

She put an 11 1/2 on her which fitted but had little to no growing room. I asked for a 12 and put them on (much better) and bought them.

I've had lots of experiences in Clarks like this and i've also had similar in independent shoe shops. Another fitter in clarks once suggested i buy and then cut off the strap of a pair of doodles so it didn't dangle on the floor (wtf). I sort of expect to kind of fit them myself now...and only buy them if i am happy with the fit.

Skyler · 02/10/2007 15:52

I have to say I had a bad experience in a local small shop near here that I was trying to support. My dd1 measures an F but always ends up in a G. This small shop fitted her with shoes and fitted my dd2 as well. DD2's shoes were rubbing dreadfully across the top of her ankle and so had to be returned and I also was not happy with the fit of dd2's. I asked the man to just double check them and he checked with her sat on the chair , then said she is measuring an F that is fine etc, I tried politely to show what I felt was her little toes spilling over the side and I am afraid he got stroppy and just said you are obviously not happy I will take them back. I have to stress neither pairs had been worn outside as I know how funny my children's feet are and I always like to double check the fit at home so he could re-sell them. I was so upset by his attitude though. He made me feel really silly, but I am sure I did the right thing. The sad thing is I can't shop there anymore. I have to stress I do trust my local Clarks as they have actually refused to fit dd2 before as none of the stock shoes were suitable, so they are def not just going for the sale there....

cheeset · 02/10/2007 16:17

Hi, I always buy Startright from Russell and Bromley. Admittedly, Clarks are too wide for my kids feet but whenerver I have tried to get other things like black velcro pumps before they start back after summer hols, the staff seem really young and a little bit too casual and I feel like an annoying parent questioning their judgement. Does anyone else feel like that?

I'm not trying to be ageist, i'm really not(maybe i'm getting too old!) but I want someone to be more certain that they ARE the right size for my child and the assistant has knowledge and experience of the product they are selling.

YANBU IdreamofClooney,go and get your money back.

JustcallmeMat was spot on "Item must be fit for the purpose for which it was sold"-this is a retail term and one that the retailer will be familiar.

It has nothing to do with the size your clild is NOW, it's the stitching.

Good Luck.

tizzwhizz · 02/10/2007 16:56


Ahh! dont know if its the pregnancy hormones kicking in but can feel another rant about rubbish training and uninterested staff coming on. But unlike my other posts on this thread will try to keep it short. ( I heard the collective sigh of relief from you all)

Troutspout - "Cut the strap off" surprised she didnt suggest you whip out your sewing machine and make your own. Which lets face it you sometimes feel like doing after a shoe shopping experience.

Inmyhumbleopinion - Did the shop assistants explain the purpose of going up half a size and down a width? Or as what seems to be frequently the case they couldnt be bothered so you went away feeling like they were conning you. Dont want to sound patronising or a no it all so apologise if it comes across like that to anyone. In some cases particularly if a child needs a wider fit eg a H it can be quite common to have to go up half a size and down a width. eg 9.5H to a 10G. Its all about ensuring the right parts of the foot sit properly in the right part of the shoe. One of the most important things a fitter should check is that the widest part of the foot (the ball joint) sits in the widest part of the shoe. In a correctly designed childrens shoe this will then ensure
the correct amount of growing room at the front of the shoe. How this works is sometimes when children have wider feet they have slightly shorter toes (really common) this means that the wider part of the foot will be further forward in the shoe and it is necessary to go up half a size to push the widest part of the foot back into the wider part of the shoe, thus ensuring the correct amount of growing room.

Sorry everyone, long one again. Dont mean to offend any shop assistants or managers either by being too critical, was one myself before having ds. Its just I think its really important if people are fitting childrens shoes that they do a good job. Mistakes will happen we are only human, but they should be minimised by staff taking the time to do the job properly. A lot of adult foot complaints can be traced back to ill fitting shoes as children. Its important to aim to get it right.

I am stopping now promise.

cheeset · 02/10/2007 17:29

tizzwhizz, your not boring, i'm gonna print your knowledge off and keep it by my bed until July 08 and then take it into the shop with me when I do the 'New School Shoe Run'.

I'm gonno quote from it, try and catch the assistant out, make the whole experience a game/bit of fun for me!

tizzwhizz · 02/10/2007 17:50

OOh Cheeset, We could prepare a Back to School shoe quiz and fire questions in a you are the weakest link style. (no no no sorry the saddo part of me taking over again). I can give you some foot shape percentages if you really want . NO I hear you all cry too much Tizzwhizz.

Understandably my dh wont now enter a childrens shoe shop with me.

The lovely local shop i have found are very tolerant with me though and to be honest I trust them so dont go to obsessive with them.

Thank you cheeset though, you have made me feel useful.

tizzwhizz · 02/10/2007 17:53

Have you had any joy getting your moneyback Idreamofclooney?

IdreamofClooney · 03/10/2007 09:58

Thanks for all of the posts - I have definitely learnt a lot about shoe fitting.

I am glad to hear that I was not being unreasonable - all I expect is a decent pair of shoes that fit my child and don;t fall apart in less than two months!

I haven;t had a chance to go back to the shop as I work full time and DS is at nursery (wearing his falling apart shoes ) but I have written to (and sent recorded delivery) and emailed Clarks. No word yet.

I was interested to read some one say that Clarks would replace shoes if the child outgrew them in less than 6 weeks - that actually happened to DS's shoes last winter - my Ex bought him a pair for £40 (my money obiviously!) and they were deemed too small by the time I got his feet checked six weeks later. Back then I was new to this racket as DS was only one so they were his third pair of shoes I think so I glibly (SP) accepted this and forked out £26 for a new pair, so I spent £66 in six weeks on shoes for a one year old. I don;t think that I;ve spent that much on shoes for myself in the last six years (sob!).

His last pair of shoes (before the ones that are coming apart) fitted for about five months which I was happy with and they were a bit scuffed but weren;t falling apart. Sigh

Will let you know if I get any joy

OP posts:
iloverosycheeks · 03/10/2007 10:09

I am in edinburgh too and have given up on Clarks, I go to John Lewis now and get Startrite shoes, good choice, patient seemingly well trained fitters, easier to get to. I know it is in town but prob worth it.

duchesse · 03/10/2007 10:27

Clarks shoes have nose-dived in quality and sensible styling in the 13 years I've had children.

If you can find anything for girls over a size 1 that's not tarty or high-heeled, you're doing well, and they can never fit my son's H width feet with anything. Also most of their boys' shoes look like football boots or bowling shoes.

I think they're a complete waste of money now. But then, the quality of even Startrites has declined imo. I had my son's last pair made to fit as the cobbler will take them apart and stretch them up to one whole size and it was the only way to get an adequate width fitting (his last pair of Startrites/ Rhino fell apart at the front after 5 months). The made to measure shoes cost me £64, which is still cheaper than two pairs of Startrites.

cheeset · 03/10/2007 11:13

Wow duchesse, didn't know the cobbler could do that with the old shoes, thats amazing!

When you think about it, back in the day folk were more spend thrifty and used to making things last and thats prob what people used to do-good bit of leather shame to throw it away.

duchesse · 03/10/2007 11:47

Ah, Cheese, he makes them. He says he taught himself how to make shoes when he was in the Marines, by taking his mates' boots apart and putting them back together again in his spare time. He knows how his shoes fit together. He made my son's shoes as an 8.5, and can stretch them to a 9.5 if needed. As my son is 14, about the size of a hobbit still (well, about 1m60) and has enormous feet, I'm hoping that should be about it. If they get any bigger, we'll have to sit back and wait for the massive growth spurt.

IdreamofClooney · 08/10/2007 09:42

Update on Clarks and I am now even more Psssd off with them!

Clarks will argue with you that the damage to the shoes is your fault and won;t accept responsibilty - am so psssd off!

No response to my email - was sent last Monday so well over the five days they quote in thier website and as there is a postal stike on a doubt that I will hear back from them in the near future in response to the letter they received (recorded delivery) on Tuesday.

So anyway I decided to go back to the store and see if I could get someone to help me.

This time I got a battle axe type, rather than the young girl type.

Same story though - this assistant also came up with novel reasons why the shoes had come apart rather than just accepting that some times these things happen and products have faults.

Her line of questioning:

"Does DS have a scooter"

No "Oh looks like the damage was caused by a scooter" No he has never been on a scooter to my knowledge - the seams of the shoes are coming unstiched but the shoes are not scuffed so doesn;t look like scooter damage to me.

"Does he go to nursery"

Yes "Ah ha then I think he's been kicking a ball at nursery which has damaged his shoes"
DS is not the most physically co-ordinated of two year olds so I doubt very much whether he would be able to kick a ball with a) enough force or b) often enough to cuase damage to his shoes.

Even if be had been doing both of the above things surely shoes designed for a two year old should last more than 8 weeks?

She measured his feet and insisted that he was a size 6 and a half and called another battle axe over to check - telling her that he had his other shoes for "several months" by this point my blood was boiling and I pointed out that it was around two months which was not infact "several".

She said he was just into a size 6 and a half so there was no point in replaceing the shoes with another pair of size 6 as he would be out of them in a couple of weeks (so clearly not doing an incredible hulk and ripping the shoes apart with his growing feet as previously suggested)

In the end she offered my half price on another pair of shoes and I was so fed up that I accpeted. Then of course they didn't any in his size that I liked so I ended up paying £13 for a pair of shoes that I don;t even like from a company that are out to fleece their customers.

I am going to write to their HEad office again once this post stike is over as I really think that they are taking the pssss.

I;ve had five reasons that my son;s shoes are falling apart - none of which are realistic or accpet any liability at all.

I certainly won;t buy any more of DS's shoes there. If they had just agreed that his shoes shouldn;t have fallen apart in the first place I would have been happy and likely to keep shopping there, but they've just lost another customer!

Sorry very long!

OP posts:
EricL · 08/10/2007 09:53

I don't go to Clarks anymore. They charge a lot and you do get some nice shoes - but since they only seem to give you shoes that only JUST fit, you have to return again far too soon and buy new ones.

Kids shoes get wrecked and they don't wear them long enough to justify spending aa fortune on them.

I buy them myself now from other shops so we can get shoes that have a little more room for growth in and are a hell of a lot cheaper. I am very cynical about the whole fitting process and am sure they do this so they only give you shoes that just fit so that you have to return soon and buy some more.

Some shoes mine have come home in have had no room in them at all.

IdreamofClooney · 08/10/2007 10:32

The assistant said that at DS's age he may grow out of shoes in 6 weeks!

After this bad service I am very cynical about the whole operation - I won;t be going back !

OP posts:
mummyloveslucy · 08/10/2007 18:42

When I was growing up I always had Clarks and they were really good quality but I think that they have gon down hill bigtime.
I buy my daughter Start-Rite as they are fantastic quality and I believe it is so important to have childrens shoes properly fitted as there are 8 different width fittings but most shoes only come in a standard F fitting. I would rather buy cheep clothes if I had to in order to buy Start-Rites.

IdreamofClooney · 09/10/2007 10:07

I am defintely not buying clarks again as am appaled by their attitude and service.

I will try startrite (even though the local startrite stockist is a very creepy man!) for his next pair of shoes for sure.

OP posts:
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