Shopping with experts: how not to treasure your customers


I have fallen in love. With a pair of boots. You know how it is.

Said pair were brought to my notice by Grazia magazine some weeks ago, they were on the shopping page, beautifully photographed, so promptly sold out. I phoned the store (Russell & Bromley) and begged to be put on the list for when the next delivery came in. The nice person I spoke to said ‘no problem. We’ll phone you the minute they’re in’.

Three weeks later I walk past a Russell & Bromley in Bond Street and there they were, calling to me from the window. It was love at first (real) sight. With no time to stop, I felt smugly confident that my previous phone call would secure me a pair in the branch I called. The days ticked by, no phone call.

The week finished and I had time to shop, I phoned the branch and ask if they in. “Oh yes, they’ve been in all week”. I ask if they were planning to phone me, “Were you on the list?” Yes. “Well we haven’t quite got round to phoning the list yet”.

It’s been 6 days since the boots arrived in store, I have inside knowledge of the current state of the shoe market and know that sales are rubbish. Yet despite the Grazia plug, my desperate attempts to buy the boots (which are stonkingly expensive at £275) and the fact that each store must be under terrific pressure to sell stock, I had to do all the running.

Just as well for Russell & Bromley that I love the boots, because at this point my head is telling me to walk away and spend my money where someone will make me feel that I’m important to them. I'm wondering if all stores have quite got the message that there's a recession on and that every sale (and therefore customer) counts.

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