Monday, 16 August 2010


Today, me and my sister decided to go through to Edinburgh.

Remember how after the blogger meet-up in May, I'd decided I liked the 'Burgh after all?

Changed my mind again.

Here are some things you need to know about me. Firstly, I do have a tendency to be extremely thin-skinned at times. Secondly, I'm a bit more vocal on my blog than I am in real life when faced with confrontation. And thirdly, I don't tend to try things on when I am in clothes shops.

The few times I DO try clothes on, I tend to be with my sister. And today, since I was with her, and since I was feeling a bit skint, when I found some dresses I wanted to try on in Top Shop, and she had some clothes SHE wanted to try on, we'd headed for the changing rooms.

I should also point out that, prior to finding these dresses, my sister had already paid for a pair of shoes in the sale in the same shop. She had been served by a girl who was rather sour-faced and let's just say her customer service skills were decidedly lacking. I remember commenting to my sister, who works in retail management, that I was sure she would not have put up with that kind of behaviour in her staff. She had agreed. Worse was to come though.

I had about 100 quid worth of dresses in the cubicle with me. Which probably only equates to three dresses in Top Shop world, but still . . . I would happily have bought them all. Because I loved them all. But I could only afford one. That being said, I was sorely tempted to buy all three.

My sister tried on her clothes and decided they weren't for her, but I was still trying things and I needed her help. On hearing the (nice) girl manning the changing rooms tell someone they were running low on cubicles, she nipped out of hers and came into mine to help me out so the cubicle was free for someone else.

I'm not really sure what the issue was on this. Me and my sister do this all the time in a lot of stores, mainly because neither of us are keen on leaving a cubicle wearing not very much to show each other our outfits in front of others - especially if they aren't particularly flattering. In fact, in the Glasgow branches of Top Shop in particular, we have done this on many occasions, and no one has said anything about it.

In addition, both of us had a tag stating how many items of clothing we had brought in with us. Neither of us were causing trouble. And both of us potentially had money to spend.

But as I decided on the dress I was going to buy and started to put my own clothes on, ANOTHER girl appeared outside my cubicle and started shouting into us to get our attention. She proceeded to then hold a conversation with me, me standing pitifully in my bra and leggings (and bear in mind that I am currently trying to lose weight, so this was not my ideal position to be arguing in), looking me up and down like I was some sort of cockroach (which made me feel even worse) about how it was against the rules for two of us to be in the cubicle together.

The implication being, I guess, that we were either trying to get it on with each other, or trying to shoplift.

I tried to explain that my sister had just came in to help me out and to free up the cubicle she was done with, but the girl continued to be argumentative and had a right attitude on her. My sister, who had just taken a phone call from her hubby at the time and was about to step out of the cubicle prior to the scene, then left the cubicle, loudly telling her husband what was going on, and the girl marched away.

But the whole thing really shook me up,

Like I said, I can be really thin skinned at times, and this is precisely the type of thing that gets to me. People not listening to me, and judging me when they don't have a clue about me.

This girl, who as far as I can tell, was not management, and probably earns less than I do, and CERTAINLY less than my sister, caused an unnecessary scene for no reason other than being, from what I can see, power crazy. In the process, she insulted two people who were patronising the store she works in, and for no other reason than because my sister had been helping me out in my cubicle trying to persuade me to buy a dress.

I was sorely tempted to actually toss the dress in her face, and tell her to shove it, that her behaviour had cost the branch my business . . . but I was actually on the verge of tears and knew I wouldn't be able to do it without crying. Which wouldn't have helped matters. And anyway, when we left the changing room, it was the nice girl who let us out, so it wouldn't have had the desired impact anyway.

I bought the dress anyway, and I love it. But the whole experience has left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I have worked in retail and customer service, and I wouldn't ever have DREAMED of treating a customer the way she did. Sometimes I wonder how certain people manage to get a job in the first place. She was certainly one of those people and I am already composing a letter of complaint in my head to the company. In fact, so incensed was I, that had I noticed anyone in management in the shop today, I would have probably complained in person. And THAT is a pretty big deal for me!

Something I learned at university was that if someone has a positive experience in a shop or business, they will tell perhaps one or two people. If they have a negative experience, they will tell far more people than that.

Top Shop in Edinburgh . . . consider this me telling a lot of people about my negative experience.

PS I won't be back. Trust me on that.

So I ask you all: Have you ever experienced bad customer service? What happened?


  1. Ick.
    I can be really over-sensitive too but to be honest, I don't think you handled this situation as badly as you think, that is no way to treat a customer, no, scratch that, a human being.

    Working with people can be hard, and she might have had a bad day, but you're supposed to leave these things at the door!

    Just stick to Glasgow, it's much nicer anyway... ;)

    About a year ago, I went to buy a laptop and an ipod. I'm semi tech savvy and I was with Gav who's pretty tech savvy too, so I wasn't too fussed about getting advice, I went in, chose my laptop, chose my ipod and wanted to leave.

    The people in there are -so pushy, it was overwhelming, trying to get me to buy packages, and accesories for my laptop, and once my "representative" had finally given in and allowed me to buy things, she tells me the only iPod in stock is the one on display so I'd have to come back to get it, which I wasn't too keen on doing, then she said I had to leave my laptop in overnight so they could install everything, and no matter how many times I tried to tell her that I could do it myself, she refused to listen.

    We got to the till and she had to leave us (AGAIN!!!!) over a game I wanted to buy, and just as the commission driven leech went away, I decided to make a run for it.

    I like to be able to shop as simply as possible and be left alone. If I want help I'll ask, y'know?

  2. This is disgusting service and she should be reprimanded for it. Even if it is store policy there is no way she should have treated you like that.

    I had dreadful customer service in the Louboutin shop in Paris. It almost ruined my birthday - I was treated like I wasn't buying - just trying on - and was told they had no shoes in my size - eh?? It was very pretty woman. It took me nearly crying for the shoes i wanted to magically appear. I should have named and shamed at the time but I was too upset by the whole thing!

  3. What a bitch! Grrr at her. You should send that letter of complaint in your head - was she wearing a name badge? If not, make sure you describe her. Someone needs to teach her that the customer (or customers as it was in the case) is (are) always right!

    On a nicer note, do you have a link for the dress? :) x

  4. UGH! THE WORST! Retail biddies are some of the most evil people out there. I've had a crying experience in a store because of shit employee and I've never walked into any of that store's chain again. This post just got me all revved up again.

    Hope you're feeling better - can't let the snots get you down!

  5. I worked in retail for more than 5 years, and I'd never have spoken to or treated a customer like that. I was more polite than that to people I knew were shoplifters. Not only is it bad customer service, it's rude. What gives her the right to treat you like and idiot and be horrible? You should complain to head office. I'd have been sacked for treating a customer like that.

  6. I've been treated poorly before. I've had storekeepers look me up and down like I meant less to them than the scum on the bottom of their shoe.

    There's one store that if I go in with my mom, we get all kinds of attention from people working there. They're all so nice and sweet. But if I go in on my own, I'm completely ignored. When I need help, they all skitter away like they can't be bothered.

    I really do hope you write that letter to management. They need to know what kind of person is working for them. And who knows, maybe no one else has advised them yet!

    That b*tch sounds a lot like the last asst. manager I had. She treated everyone that way. I still have to wonder what the manager was thinking when she hired her on as asst. manager. The girl started out as a regular processor so it's not like she didn't know what she (manager) was getting in advance. Once, when the asst. manager was screaming at me about something, I started crying. I knew I shouldn't of, I should've held it in. Well, then the asst. manager only got nastier.

    I'm thin skinned too when it comes to being insulted. I've been put down so often that you'd think I'd be a little tougher but I'm really not.

  7. Oh, my, I must have suspected something was wrong with Top Shop in Edimnburgh, for I have never shopped there! If it was me I would not leave it like that. I never let people walk all over me. I'm never shy, when I'm angry!

  8. Wow that really sucks. It's never fun to go shopping when you have some weight you want to lose, but to add a rude, power hungry idiot, I mean worker, to the mix and you have a bad experience.

    Glad you didn't toss the dress and got something you love. I hope someone who reads your blog knows someone in Top Shop management and lets them know they need better help.

  9. Grrr... can we at least see photos of the dress?

  10. Question: No picture of the dress? Howdareyou.

  11. Complain to Head Office , I did this with coast before after getting suitably pished off with them scrutinising every stich on something that i had to return even though it still had the tags on, and various other things, and i got abtou £40 worth of vouchers and an apology from head office!.
    I hate changing rooms, i just bring everything home, try it on in comfort then take it back unless its somethign expensive.

  12. Oh holy heck that child needs a good smacking and her manager needs to be told she she'll not do THAT again.

    Seriously, when I worked in public (I work from home now) the customer was always right and we never, EVER yelled at them.



  13. That's rude! I don't understand why people like that get a customer service job... you'll have to deal with people all the time, the way you do it will influence your business - and being polite is a must!

    I'm a bit more of a bitchy customer in that way I guess... I've always spoken out loud what I think. Once, when I just arrived from the airport, I went (with luggage included) to Top Shop London and bought a handbag. When I left the shop, the alarm rang and a huge security guy came to take me in again. I showed him the ticket and he told me that "the ticket didn't correspond to this bag". I told him that it wasn't my fault if the employees are so useless that they can't type in the correct serial number... and told him to come with me to the cash register. Unfortunately, the guy who had cashed in my bag was away... and that f*ckin security guy opened my luggage and search through my personal stuff for "another bag". When the guy was back, the issue was solved and he didn't even apologize. If it was in Spain, I would have been so rude... but in english its difficult to get the right words out of my mouth in the right moment. :)

  14. Arrggg this got me worked up. what a little C#nt. I worked in a clothing store myself and I know how to assess when girls are helping each other out.

  15. Hey P!

    I've had quite a few bad retail experiences. Having worked in retail and customer services myself, I find it really difficult to deal with. There is just no excuse for bad customer service. I would complain to their head office - either by letter or email. The way you were treated is shocking. I hope you get some compensation for what you had to go through. x

  16. Ha Ha I'm going to take this opportunity instead to tell you I was walking in on in a tanning salon room when I was completely naked!!!


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