Saturday, 28 December 2013

Christmas shopping 2013 review

Well the dust has settled from what turned out to be a wonderful Christmas and once New Year's Eve is done we're back to normal... as normal as we ever were.

As I ended up doing all the Christmas shopping and the subsequent returns and exchanges for my very large family, I thought it may be useful to share my experience.

The good guys... we'll be back next year:

Fenwick of Newcastle were really helpful when we were purchasing gifts and equally helpful and very quick (a bonus in their packed store) to sort out refunds and exchanges.
Swarovski (also the Newcastle store) have been marvellous, only one exchange with them but the staff were great in assisting the purchase of various well received gifts. Great customer service!
I did a lot of shopping from Not On The High Street, all personalised items yet they all arrived really quickly, beautifully packaged and exactly what we wanted, we'll definitely be back.
Not for Christmas shopping but Pepperberry have solved my New Year's Eve wardrobe dilemma with quick, fantastic customer service.  They didn't have my size in stock in the store yesterday so they ordered it to be delivered... it had arrived by 10am this morning, very impressed. I'm a regular customer because Pepperberry never lets you down.
Next, various stores.  Lovely staff, great service and well wrapped up breakables!
Amazon, quick, efficient, great prices.
Hugo Boss store, lovely friendly staff who are always helpful and efficient.
Marks and Spencer, various stores, well it wouldn't be Christmas without M&S Christmas pyjamas and all the goodies from the foodhall. The staff were consistently lovely in various stores at various points throughout November and December. 10/10 for good old M&S!

And now for the not so good:

John Lewis in Newcastle is hit and miss, particularly in the beauty department.  Some brands such as Clarins give great customer service, as do the beauty electricals staff. Unfortunately getting help in the perfume department is a task on par with finding a cure for cancer/ the holy grail/ a well wrapped up girl in the big market. It would appear most of the beauty counter staff find the season challenging and miserable as this was the message conveyed, a sort of 'come dancing' smile with thinly veiled pleas to buy something immediately or stop hovering around irritating them., horrendous customer service, failed on every aspect.  For the special presents I usually order from Harrods and Liberty, this year unfortunately I succumbed to the temptation of 20% off and ordered with Selfridges.  In short, the packaging consisted of a shabby carboard box with 1 sheet of transparent yellow and white tissue paper - not particularly great at protecting the contents from the elements/ our postman's shotput style of handling parcels. The wrong size had been sent for a sweater (unfortunately the one item that was needed before Christmas but hey this was the 28th November I ordered, surely they would have this sorted out well before Christmas?) so I had to pay to send it back recorded delivery then ring a number to get a refund of my postage.  Well the number was permanently engaged, so I emailed... still awaiting a reply.  Not until the 20th December did they tell me they weren't going to send out the correct item because they didn't have anymore in stock! Then they gave me a 'partial refund' so it has cost me not only the £9 postage both ways but an extra £21 in getting the sweater elsewhere as there was no 20% off.  Won't be back and will be telling all my friends and family to steer clear of this one.

So that's my round up for 2013's Christmas shopping... would love to hear your experiences of the good, the bad and the ugly!

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