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AIBU to think the High Street deserves what is coming to it.

(46 Posts)
PernillaVanilla Thu 08-Aug-19 14:02:33

I had a work meeting in our county town this morning and used my lunchbreak that followed to try to do a bit of shopping. The town is already looking very depressed, with a huge gap where BHS was and many more empty shops.

M&S- one pair of knickers in a size 16 on display to match 30+ bras in the same pattern, various sizes. I asked if they had any size 12 knickers and the assistant responded "No, but you can buy them on line. I am seldom able to bnuy an M&S bra in a shop as they hardly ever have any of the matching knickers in medium sizes.
Debenhams 1 - wanted some Clinique make up , stood around for 10 minutes no one came to serve me.
Debenhams 2 - asked where the ladies sports wear was, I was told they didn't stock it any more but I could buy it on line.
If you turn up at the shops keenly intent on buying 3 items and either get told to buy on line or just get ignored i can't help but think that when Debenhams and M&S close ( one of them will) It really will be their own fault.

gillybob Thu 08-Aug-19 14:09:45

Reluctantly, I think I have to agree with you Pernillavanilla. I had a similar experience in Debenhams recently standing at one of the makeup counters for ages and then being told by someone from another counter that "she'll be back on Monday" . I explained that I knew exactly what I wanted but no chance of her getting it for me. Needless to say I didn't go back on Monday.

It also amazes me how they can get stock of sizes so wrong in the likes of M&S, NEXT etc. loads of huge or tiny sizes but never any in the most common ones.

Lessismore Thu 08-Aug-19 14:21:34

Yes, nobody available to help. I have several times recently considered saying something about hopeless staff in well known stores.

Marks and Spencer is so awful, terrible cheap fabric, nasty styles and totally fed up staff.

BlueBelle Thu 08-Aug-19 14:24:13

I think the high street as we know it is almost dead unfortunately I don’t know if it happens in your town but people here seem to think we are the only place in UK it’s happening to and constantly bad mouth our town on social media calling it everything under the sun, which makes the whole situation even worse

gillybob Thu 08-Aug-19 14:28:14

It's the same in my town BlueBelle. In fact recently my DD sent me a copy of a FB page that says "The Town (name) is now closed" . I think this was a dig at the amount of roadworks we currently have, loads of new traffic lights, bus lanes , closed station etc.

fizzers Thu 08-Aug-19 14:34:05

Same in my hometown, bad mouthed on social media, if a new store opens, that gets bad mouthed also. There's no winning!

BlueBelle Thu 08-Aug-19 14:39:40

fizzers what is it all about we ve recently had a new store open and there were streams and streams of moaning on social media about the traffic flow and how it was badly planned
I am glad it not just my little town it used to be a proud little place with a great history but it’s bad mouthed at every opportunity by ( maybe young people) and it makes me incredibly sad

georgia101 Thu 08-Aug-19 14:41:00

I went into my local bank for the first time in a few weeks today to see they'd changed the counters to hole in the wall machines, with just one member of staff sitting near the window looking bored. She was very helpful to me in finding out how to use the machine, but why couldn't that have been done the old way, it's just as labour intensive as she had to do everything for me just as she would have before, and no doubt will next time too as I'm not likely to remember what to do. More jobs lost too no doubt. Sad.

gillybob Thu 08-Aug-19 14:44:38

Mind you the new "improved" road lay out in my town is nothing short of diabolical. With loads of little short stretches of bus lane which stop the normal traffic flow. Heaps of new sets of traffic lights (I think Siemens must have a BOGOFF scheme). Half the shops are closed and the few remaining are £1 shops, B&M bargains and the likes. Not pleasant at all. Good job we have a lovely sea front.

maddyone Thu 08-Aug-19 14:53:05

The small town I live in used to have a vibrant high street, not M+S or Debenhams of course, it’s a small town, but butchers, bakers, banks, travel agents, two jewellers, several shoe shops including a Clarks shop, a very small Tesco and a small Boots etc. Now it’s mainly second hand shops, cafes, hairdressers and nail bars. The small Boots is still there and a small Superdrug. The shoe shops are gone, forcing parents of young children to go much further for their children’s shoes.
The nearest city to where I live no longer has an M+S and Debenhams is threatened.
I buy a lot online, but with clothes and shoes I prefer to try them on first.

Squiffy Thu 08-Aug-19 15:30:11

Why have M & S and Wilko got rid of their dedicated Customer Service section? You now have to go to any till. Great for all the customers queuing behind you, especially if your issue is not straightforward!

SirChenjin Thu 08-Aug-19 16:00:07

Our M&S and Wilko still have a dedicated Customer Service section smile

RosieLeah Thu 08-Aug-19 16:16:44

These big stores complain about people not using shops in the high street, but encourage us to buy on-line. I have several times gone into my local Yorkshire Linen shop to buy something , and every time they say, 'you can get it on-line'. I would much prefer to see what I'm buying first and then take it home there and then. Having to wait in for delivery is not always convenient.

Daisymae Thu 08-Aug-19 16:25:15

Our local town has night mare roadworks going on for 2 years! Plus the cost of parking - if you go over 2 hours in the most convenient one it's £11! The council does nothing to encourage people to visit. I used to go weekly but I have only been a couple of times this year. The demise of the high street is at least partially self inflicted.

52bright Thu 08-Aug-19 16:31:04

The high street is definitely going down hill but I will miss it when it's gone. There are some items you just have to try on to make sure they fit. Bras and shoes come to mind. Clothes can also be a problem. One retailer's size 16 is another's size 14 or 18 which results in having to get two sizes and sending one back. I have experienced this recently when buying clothes in Next for my granddaughter. They have things she really likes but is very tall for her age of 11 so is in a bigger size than her age. The shop only sells up to age 12 but you can get the same clothes on line up to age 16. This results in me showing her what's available in the shop then sending for her size on line, inevitably having to buy 2 sizes to be sure of fit. What's that about?! If the sell the sizes in an item why can't they sell them in the shop! It takes all the pleasure out of a little shopping outing. Not the same waiting for things to arrive by carrier.

Hetty58 Thu 08-Aug-19 16:40:20

The high streets just can't compete with online shops and the banks seem to be going online too. The remaining ones cut staff to the minimum so customer service suffers. It's happening everywhere but I've heard that something will survive as people like to go out and about shopping.

Our local small shops included two bakers, greengrocers, butchers, bank, hardware and post office along with a small supermarket. Everything you would normally need (along with some treats) was available there.

Now, the supermarket is a 'convenience store' (with corresponding high prices), the useful shops are gone, but there's three (yes, 3) barbers, a tattoo palour, nail salon, high-end home design/interiors shop, vape shop, tanning shop and European food store. None of them are of any use to me!

Squiffy Thu 08-Aug-19 16:40:21

SirC That's interesting! I wonder if it's up to the individual store to decide?

SirChenjin Thu 08-Aug-19 16:50:48

I think it must be! Here's hoping our store stays that way

eazybee Thu 08-Aug-19 17:01:06

I haven't shopped in my local town since before Christmas, when I visited the make-up department to buy the expensive mascara I have used for years; the assistant wasn't available except on Saturdays, the assistant I prised away from her counter made a desultory search, said it wasn't available and shrugged her shoulders when I said I had made a special trip to buy it. She should have tried to sell me one of her products but couldn't be bothered.
By contrast, the large department stores in Southampton and Chichester are well-stocked and anxious to help.

I do most of my shopping in nearby small county town, where there is no M & S, Boots or department store, but there is a Waitrose, a Co-op, W.H. Smiths Moshulu, Crew, Seasalt, Phase Eight, and butchers, bakers, green-grocers, a wonderful book shop and a cookshop, plus other shoe and dress shops and numerous gift shops, newsagents, post office and banks. It lacks a good chemist; surely one will open soon.
And you can park for three hours for 80p!

sodapop Thu 08-Aug-19 17:18:14

That sounds like a good town for shopping eazybee.
I don't think there is any one thing that caused the demise of High Streets across the country but all the factors mentioned here, expensive parking, extortionate rents, shops not catering for their core customers, online shopping. So many things. It's such a shame to see empty shops in once thriving town centres. It's much the same here in France in small towns. City centre shopping seems to thrive though.

leyla Thu 08-Aug-19 17:22:55

It's the cost of the car parking that puts me off going into town! Also, as a plus size, I rarely find much selection in the shops. Far better on line.

M0nica Thu 08-Aug-19 17:58:49

The problem is that the UK High Street is dominated by chain stores. Every branch selling the same things with the same or very similar window dressing. This is compounded by indifferent staff with no understanding of what customer service is. Shopping in the UK is terminally boring.

We recently spent a morning in Caen, the main city in Normandy - and it was so different. The town centre was buzzing with lots of shoppers. There are plenty of small chain stores, but mainly independent shops and cafes. There was a real variety of shops selling an enormous range of goods with really good and interested customer service.

There wer other events going on, a second-hand book fair and an art exhibition with all the pictures done by local artists. We had a really enjoyable time.

I prefer shopping for everyday items like clothes and food. I try to keep internet shopping for things I cannot buy locally. It is slow, time consuming and returning goods is a chore, but in the UK, it is less dispiriting than going to the shops.

The main difference is that most shop keepers own the property their shop is in. Unlike Britain where almost all
retail property is owned by property companies who demand higher and higher rents. Property prices are lower, which does help.

seacliff Thu 08-Aug-19 18:09:56

I think the High Street as we knew it, is possibly never going to be the same. Last week I went to Lowestoft, which has sadly been going downhill for some years, and it is quite a poor area now. The High Street is mainly charity shops, and cheapie shops. There is still a M & S but it's not a great store.

A new complex has now partly opened on the edge of town, with free parking. It has The Range, card shops, Costa, Aldi, Greggs and more to come. It was so busy.

Today I went to Woodbridge, a busy small market town but no big shops like M & S. It is a more prosperous area, it was thriving. Lovely individual green grocers, butchers etc and nice cafes, a M & Co, a great shoes shop, and a home store, not chains.

I am not sure why one works and another doesn't. The price of parking was a bit cheaper in Woodbridge.

ninathenana Thu 08-Aug-19 18:31:03

The only large store we've ever had in my hometown was Woolies. We've never had any other department stores. Nearest M&S 30 mls away, nearest Debenhams even further. We have no big name stores in the High St. apart from Bon Marche. There are some shops in out of town retail estate.
It's no wonder Hermes and Amazon are so busy here.

lilypollen Thu 08-Aug-19 19:02:26

Lunch in a big home counties town today. Former colleague and I called into M&S and fell about laughing at the clothes at the front of the store. New season's are drab and then you find big posters of Holly Willoughby (no can't stand her) and don't see any of her age or fashion sense in the store. Boots item I wanted "you need to order online, can be in your chosen store tomorrow". Lovely helpful assistant in Hotel Chocolat though.