Whilst deliberating over a new electric shower for a rental a few weeks ago, I posted a couple of tweets about the pros and cons of shopping local versus shopping online, wondering how others felt and what choice they would make, given that in this instance, shopping local was £26 more costly!
It was interesting to hear that most people said they would still shop local, giving factors such as reliability, ease of exchange, wanting to support independents and confidence in the trader. I opted to support my local builders merchants and bought it there. It’s not that I’m against online shopping per se, heaven forbid, I hadn’t even got out of bed this morning and had Ebay’d 2 metres of gorgeous fabric remnants for an upholstery project, but a shopping future without any human interaction just doesn’t appeal.
For pretty much the same reason, although I also fervently support and buy at local independents, I like to shop at John Lewis & between home & work have spent a fortune in there. Good quality items, great service, increasingly design savvy selection and reliability on guarantees. Plus I can walk in, get some advice, look at a good selection of what I want to buy and head home with my purchases.
Or at least, I used to be able to.
At the risk of sounding like a middle class Moaning Minnie, I reckon John Lewis are going down a path which will not only irritate their clients and drive their staff mad (as attested by *partners* today), but also lose them sales, which is astonishing given the state of the economy. Today I spent 40 minutes looking at food processors, wanting to make a serious purchase as I cook a lot, finally deciding on a £250 model which though expensive, would hopefully last me a very, very long time. Plus I’d set my mind on making chicken liver & Marsala parfait as SOON as I got home. How irritated was I when they said, Lovely Madam, that’s £250 Madam, it’ll be with you on Friday. Eh? But I’d like to take it now please, that’s why I’ve come into a department store, I replied, nonplussed. Oh it’s an online item, Madam, we’re really sorry but you can either come back tomorrow or have it delivered later in the week.
How. Very. Annoying. I might as well just have stayed at home and bought online, whether from John Lewis or (possibly) elsewhere and now feel that going there for smaller electrical items is a bit of a waste of time as they probably won’t stock them. Surely this is a Bad Move by the retailer?
Is the future going to be retailers turning themselves into onliners but having a facade of a shop, pulling you in under false pretences, but saving themselves money by not stock holding and thereby making you either return to store – wasted fuel – or wait in for a delivery a few days later – wasted time? Isn’t the whole reason shoppers go into shops to take their purchases away with them?
Not to mention the fact that I had my heart set on an amazing chicken liver parfait tonight!