It is not often that I walk out of a store for poor service. It happened this weekend though.
I have just signed up for a year (or so, thanks to current deal) alongside Lucy with DW Fitness and can use any of their gyms nationwide. Handy as there is one close to where Lucy works in Blackburn, a small gym only outlet in Burnley (where she lives during the week) as well as one near home back in Telford, which we have used extensively in the past.
I have always found the staff at the gyms to be great. Very friendly and helpful. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the the staff in the store I visited with Lucy and my daughters and the boyfriend of one of them.
Decided it was time to invest in a decent pair of trainers for running. Headed to the DW Sports shop located above the gym in Telford. Wanted to go to a proper sports shop rather than the usual discount/fashion type places (Sports Direct, King of Trainers, etc). I know nothing about trainers really and certainly no idea what would be suitable for a man of my size taking up running.
We walked in just as the store opened, plenty of staff around but no other customers at first. The staff were spread out and seemed to be working on stock check type activities.
My eldest daughter also wanted to buy some trainers (a promised Christmas present from Lucy and me from some time ago) and Lucy wanted a sports bra. Lucy found someone helpful and soon had a suitable item sat behind the till ready for us to buy alongside other products. My daughter’s boyfriend was also considering buying a pair of trainers, and I might well have treated him.
It took a few minutes to manage to get a member of staff to come over to help me as I looked at the bewildering array of trainers on show. He asked a few questions that were pretty generic sales type questions, but did not really seem to take any of the answers in or follow up on them. I made it pretty clear I knew very little, so was looking to him for guidance. Eventually he told me I needed training rather than running shoes. Did not really explain the logic of this.
He took me to one of the displays, pulled a few off he wall and asked me what I thought. With prompting, he told me some were new technology and some were old technology. It took a lot more prompting to get any more information, which was basically him bending the shoes and pointing to the cushioning but other than naming the feature, he did not really tell me why it would be good for me.
I suggested I try one of the pairs he had selected. He did not look impressed that my shoe size was 13 although some 12s might fit, and said they did not carry many in that size. I had to tell him to go and find what they did have in those sizes. Sigh!
Meanwhile, my eldest daughter and her boyfriend had been independently studying different parts of the display of trainers, and examining some of the trainers closely. No member of staff approached them.
Fortunately, one of the two pairs my man returned with were pretty comfortable. I wondered if I could try them on the treadmill they had handily set up nearby for checking gate. He wasn’t sure. I gave up after striding around a little and said I would take them. He said he would put them behind the till for me. He left, and did not return. No “anything else I can help you with?”
My daughter was frustrated as no one helped her. I had to call out for help. We asked the sales assistant who came over if a particular pair were available in her size. He returned to say, “no”. And walked off.
So did we.
No wonder stores are struggling in the face of online retail and customer reviews of products.
I do not care how the staff were remunerated. (Clearly not commission based though.) This was appalling service. They were clearly not interested in serving their customers. (Apologies to the woman that helped Lucy find a suitable sports bra, but we did not see her again either.)
I was an ideal customer prepared to buy three pairs of trainers and some other items, and keen to get the right products rather than the cheapest products.