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Life with V by Valerie Spencer Becks
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Issue 12 - Missing the experience of High St Shopping...
Life with V by Valerie Spencer Becks

‘Life with V’ – written by Valerie Spencer Becks from Belper.

Valerie or ‘V’ is well known locally for her beautiful wedding cakes but you will see that Valerie has an excellent talent for portraying her own take on everyday life in a most humorous manner...

Having just spent a morning out shopping for a few bits and pieces I have now reaffirmed my reasons why I buy nearly everything online. I know that people will say “Yes but you miss the experience of going into a shop and talking to the shop keepers” blah de blah de blah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Well if this morning is anything to go on – there is nothing to miss there at all, unless you like rude, inefficient, lacking knowledge about their own product, time wasting, unhelpful, lazy, slow, miserable people. I do apologize to all those shopkeepers who are not and there are many who are pleasant, unfortunately for me it seems they take some hunting out.

I went into a large office supply shop first, found the few things I needed and then had to go to the counter to ask after something else. The assistant was helping somebody else which is fine but would it really hurt to say “I’ll be with you in a minute” and smile – instead you are completely ignored and then he toddled off to find something without so much as a tiny acknowledgement of my presence. So I go off to the checkout thinking I’ll pay for these and get the other from the computer supplier.

Get to the checkout – no checkout person. Some very unhappy young lad is stacking boxes so I ask him if anybody is working on the checkout. He points at a girl who is clearly absorbed helping a couple pick an ink cartridge and has been for about five minutes. So I stand for another minute or two being ignored and finally ask this lad if he can find somebody to take my money. Somebody has since advised me that if this happens again to simply go to the security barrier walk through it and then go back to the checkout – good plan me thinks!! Anyway off he toddles at the rate of a very underactive sloth and a very pleasant lady (at least there was one), comes over and deals with the checkout.

Then I go off to the computer supplier to get some ink cartridges. I walk in the door and they are clearly having a staff meeting right in the front door and make no effort to get out of the way so I (and others) can actually get into the store. Eventually they spot me trying to pass (and let’s face it I’m not exactly inconspicuous) and get out of the way.

Unfortunately I’ve forgotten the second number of one of the ink cartridges so after spending ten minutes searching for a sales associate, I ask for some help only to be told in a tone of voice that almost sent me to sleep “I don’t know you’ll have to check all the boxes – that manufacturer don’t supply a list.” Now it doesn’t strike me as being to difficult – keeping in mind I am in a huge computer store – to create an Excel sheet and when a new printer comes in put the ink cartridges that are required by the name and number of the printer. Clearly that would be far too much like providing customer service and must be avoided at all costs.

Then comes the checkout again. There’s a young girl sat there looking exceedingly bored filing her nails. I toddle up and am asked “Is it for a business?” I reply “Yes”, so she rings it in, I pay and she’s just about to pop it in the bag so I can make good my escape when up pops a screen and she advises me she needs to take some details.

Name, address, date of birth, etc., etc., how many times a day do you go to the bathroom, what’s your bra size, etc., etc.!!! Why do they need this – answer is simple so they can destroy another section of the rain forest and send me yet another mountain of paper that will go straight in the bin or bombard my computer with a litany of spam that I don’t want or need.

“No” says I, “You don’t need to have all that information, just give me a receipt and I’ll be on my way.” If only it were that easy – she can’t override the computer telling her to wring all my personal details from me so she has to get a supervisor to do it. I would have just left however they still have hold of my card which I thought they were going to hold up for ransom until I gave them every detail of my life. So another five minutes wasted and the fella behind says: “Well mine’s for business but after looking at that carry on I’ll say no!” Good idea.

So finally they override their ridiculous system and I make good my escape.

I purchased five items which on the internet would probably have taken me all of about 10 minutes. As it was it took me about one hour and thirty minutes.

So next time somebody starts ranting on about the internet taking business from the shops I’m afraid that I shall suggest that some of these shops take some serious courses in customer relations, smiling, manners, pleasantness and just generally being helpful and at least have some knowledge of what it is they are trying to flog.

At least the computer has the common decency to look at you and it even makes suggestions for alternatives if it can’t find what you want. You do have to worry when a piece of machinery has better manners than your average shop assistant!!!!

Until next time

V x

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