On the whole, the retail experience here in the UK is underwhelming.
Immature staff take up floor space as short-term pocket money earners before going off backpacking, returning to university or finding a job they’d prefer. A sign I saw on the wall of a sports shop the other day is quite open about recruitment, advertising a role for someone interested in earning a bit of money to fund their travels). With notable exceptions, customer service standards aren’t up to those of other countries.
Shops aren’t designed with customers in mind. Too often, I have entered a changing room cubicle and looked in vain for a hook on which to hang the trousers I am about to try on or the garments I have taken off.
Last week I went into a Marks & Spencer (where at least the staff are mature) to check out their food offerings. Their food and clothing sections overlapped, which just seemed wrong: it was like seeing packets of mince in your bedroom. I was looking for a nut roast for non-turkey eaters on Christmas Day, but the chiller section marked ‘vegetarian’ comprised only meat dishes. A large chunk of the freezer section was totally bare, with no explanation provided.
I immediately recalled reading about M & S’s poor first quarter-of-the-year sales figures. Based on my visit, I can see why they might be struggling. As for why they have been unable to anticipate the factors that may be putting of their customers, despite the clever brains they surely have on their management board, I have no answer.