Posts Tagged London
Still waiting for my lens. Some choice shots.
Well, London 2012 has begun. I met some friends I met in Madrid yesterday to watch the opening ceremony and we wandered around London beforehand. Westminster Abbey was cool, (I’d never been there before). This was outside old Liz’s place. Reminds me of this.
London is wet. That is all. Enjoy a resurgence of street photography.
A standard button that’s OK
Bear with me. There are two key points before I continue:
- I work in PR – I understand the power of the customer voice. The following tirade does not reflect my employer, clients or anyone else related to my professional career. This is an entirely personal manner.
- I am an extremely polite person. The opinions expressed in-store were articulate, understanding and patient. I am not the average rude customer.
Purchasing a Jacket
Right, to the matter at hand – Next. I’ve been shopping with the UK retailer for six years. I’ve never once had an issue with its clothes, staff or service. This is the first bad experience. It could be your sixteenth, or like me until today, your first. Regardless of how many complaints, good customer service is crucial especially in the modern marketplace.
On September 29th October I bought this navy jacket for £120 in the Oxford Street branch of Next. I gave it a quick once over (as you should with all new clothes) and walked away happy. It’s a nice jacket. It fits well and it’s smart.
Series of Events
- I wore it for the first time to work on the Wednesday, 2nd November. I put it on like any normal coat, took it off and hung it up on a community coat rack.
- At lunch I put the jacket on and a front button fell off. Not great, but these things happen. I decided to leave the jacket in the office.
- At the end of the day, I picked up the jacket and noticed that another button was already hanging loose and the build quality of several others looked poor.
Some people might be OK with this. I however am not. It’s obviously a defective jacket – buttons don’t break within an hour of wearing something, and while many would be content with sewing them back on, you don’t buy a jacket to do work on it. The price was also an issue – this is obviously a quality good, not a cheap knockoff from the market.
Unhappy, I went to my local branch (obscured unless requested by Next for obvious reasons) on Thursday 3rd November. This is what happened:
- I explained the situation, stating the build quality was not up to scratch.
- I requested a replacement – happily they ordered one for delivery in store (preventing the need to trek over to the Oxford Street branch).
- I walked away happy.
Now this is where it gets odd. The woman who served me was fairly abrupt, but I can accept it was probably just another return – protocol if you will. I left it at that.
The Next Step
Today, Tuesday 8th November 2011, I returned (following a helpful text) to the branch to collect my replacement.
Obviously I don’t want to keep returning jackets, and to make sure it’s not a flawed design, I wished to check the build quality of the replacement, especially its buttons.
This is what’s wrong with the service I received:
- When I’m looking at the jacket, please don’t hurry me to sign a receipt. Even if it means you could forget to do it before I leave, I’m looking at the product. Hassling me isn’t nice.
- I wish to inspect the jacket thoroughly. This means moving the buttons to make sure they’re securely fastened. It means checking the seams. It’s checking for marks. It’s called being a consumer, someone who’s paying money to shop in your branch.
That might not seem like much – maybe I’m old fashioned. The above isn’t really any problem, the following is the issue.
The manner of which I checked the buttons
180 Degree Turn
When I asked the same woman who originally handled the replacement how long I’d have to return it if the same issue occurred, she suddenly turned on me.
She started proclaiming that of course I’d have to return it if I “kept wiggling the buttons”.
This confused me. I was gently (and this isn’t put lightly to seem in the right, it’s the very truth) checking the buttons. That means moving them. I wasn’t tugging on them, nor was I trying to rip them to cause an issue. I was just seeing that they were all sturdily connected and wanted to know the return policy.
I expressed that I’m within my right to make sure it’s not another defective product, especially considering the cost
“We’ve never had any issues with this particular jacket, of course you’ll have problems if you’re pulling at the buttons.”
Last time I checked you have to manipulate the buttons to fasten the jacket. In the future I’d be exerting more force on the buttons to attach them to the holes.
Oddly they don’t stock that particular jacket in branch, so the chances of other people coming in would be slim anyway, especially considering the fact it’s a fairly new line.
I again said I’m within my right to be happy. Coats shouldn’t do this after an hour of use. I even laughed and asked why she was being abusive. She didn’t make the jacket, why did she seem so offended? She did make a fuss. Anyone would have thought she was the disgruntled consumer. Her colleague gave me an approving nod when I said the jacket shouldn’t need sewing just after purchase, especially with its cost
Anyway – to conclude.
- The abusive staff member means I will not return to the branch in question
- If the jacket breaks again, I’ll be returning it for a full refund – it’s obviously a less than satisfactory line.
- Please Next, be sure your staff aren’t being rude to customers
It’s up to you if you think I’m petty, wrong and whether this article was even necessary. I think it should be. Usually I’d send a letter – nowadays this is just as effective.
- Update 08.11.11: Please note: while I’m obviously unhappy with the quality of the clothes, I realise they no longer last for twenty years. This isn’t about the buttons. It’s about the poor customer service.
- Update 14.11.11 – Please see the follow up article having received correspondence from Next.
- Update 27.12.11 – Please see the final post for how this was resolved.
So. Cannes. That was fun. Guess what though – the fun doesn’t stop there. This week is the London International Technology Show and I’ve got a press pass for that. It’s a mega-convention of Mobile, Gaming, Gadgets, and everything else cool in the world.
One stall I’m particularly interested in is Bit Gamer’s. It’s going to have world exclusive playable code of Serious Sam 3: BFE. Oh yes. FPS goodness. There’s some official related information over here, but it’s more fun to look at the above screenshot.
The show (LITS for the cool kids) should be another great opportunity to talk technology with those who live and breathe it. Obviously if you’re after any coverage from the event, feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be there looking around for Bamboo PR on the Friday as well.
Say hi if you see me. Twitter for live updates.