This morning I got up at a ridiculous hour. RIDICULOUS. And why? Because I have a stupid job that requires me to wear “business dress”. I have always worked in creative companies where business dress was not on the agenda so up to now my work wardrobe has largely consisted of leggings (when fat), jeans (when thin, well, when not so fat) and slutty little dresses (always). But now I have to look smart and corporate and, of course, my wardrobe can’t handle it. So this morning I headed for Bluewater to brave the horrors of the Next sale. Whatever you think of Next, the store does very good, reasonably priced and not too hideous “business dress”. And in the sale it is stupidly priced – in a good way.
TV ads told us to check the Next website for opening hours. Bluewater opened at 4am. That meant leaving home at 3.30am. Was it really worth going to bed? Probably not as I kept waking up to check how much longer I had to sleep. But at 5 to 4 I was at Bluewater, in the queue and ready. By quarter past 4 I was still in the queue. The sale at Bluewater is usually pretty well managed – store staff police the queues, stopping people pushing in and handing out the big plastic carrier bags to use inside and mints to keep us going. There was none of that this time. Just a growing queue and a suspiciously closed store. At half past four a young lad shuffled past giving out the plastic bags. “Why aren’t you open?” I asked. “We don’t open til 5,” he replied “the website got it wrong”. Off he shuffled. Updating a website is not difficult – and at this sort of ungodly hour an extra hour in bed makes a huge difference. It also makes a difference to the queue. By the time 5 o’clock came the queue was out of control – having been joined by those people who didn’t check online and assumed it was the usual 5am opening.
Another big issue at Bluewater is the number of people who just turn up at 5 to 5 and push into the queue -either joining their advance party or ignoring all the people shouting at them. Every single queue jumper could not speak English. Convenient that.
At opening time the “security guard” did a fantastic job … of standing by the door staring blankly past the queue jumping, pushing, shoving and general unpleasantness. My plastic bag was snatched out of my hand so I was limited in the crap I could buy. Once in the store people were throwing goods all over the floor, pushing, shoving, grabbing things from other shoppers. And yes, the worst offenders were the ones who’d jumped the queue. The “home ” department looked like a bomb had hit it with people chucking stuff on the floor and then trampling all over it. After 20 minutes I’d had enough – and went to pay for my rather unsatisfactory purchases – as always more suitable for the weekend than for the corporate environment.
The final blow came when I got home and found that I’d bought the wrong size for all of the corporate stuff as the store staff had put them on the wrong hangers. So now I’ve got to go back again to return it all.
Hideous experience. Terrible customer service. Note to self: save up and buy stuff out of the sales. It’s better for my rage.