Sunday, 21 June 2015

Why independent shops are usually cheaper and best.

This post is inspired by my love of independent shops although I must confess to having a little bit of bias being the owner of an independent retail business myself!  This is a bit of a long winded explanation as to why I consider independent shops are better but this is just one of many experiences I've had or heard of from friends.

I have a 6 year old sport mad son, I must admit I had been sucked in by retail giant Sports Direct as my little one is growing fast and I don't think it's worth spending too much for so few wears. 

I've had a couple of good purchases, some shin pads, goalie gloves, socks but he was picked to take part in a school football competition and I needed some proper football boots 3 days later!

Off I toddle to Sports Direct knowing nothing about football boots and I leave with a pair with screw in studs 10 minutes later with zero (useful) help from the staff.  

Come the day of the competition the boots went on and 30 minutes later the first stud fell out. Then another. I had the forethought to bring the replacements and the little tool with me so one was replaced and the rest tightened back in.

The following weekend I took the boots back to Sports Direct and were told there was no fault with them and also no way of buying replacement studs. I contacted SD customer service (and I use the term loosely) who told me there were no issues with these boots. I looked on Amazon and there were tons of 1 star reviews with exactly the same issue. I told SD customer services this and within days the reviews disappear and they never replied to my emails again. 

After a Twitter barrage my end, I was asked to send them back at my own cost and they have returned them to me that despite all the now missing reviews on Amazon having the same problem, they stated that there was no fault and blaming me for not tightening them (first wear!) long story short I will never go into SD ever again.

Well, as the boots I'd brought from SD were rubbish and we needed another pair we decided to try independent sports retailer Pilch in Norwich City Centre.

The whole experience couldn't have been more different! They were so helpful, the little one couldn't come to choose so a pair were purchased for a very reasonable £20 a puma pair in the usual size 1 but they ended up being a little small so back they went. The staff couldn't be more helpful for a second time and they found a pair in a half size bigger in the sale for £10 and refunded the other £10. These boots weren't a no brand pair but a decent looking Nike pair that certainly look well made. 

I think this little story says it all about independent retailers. I'm a little ashamed for using Sports Direct in the first place, rather than supporting my independent.  For some reason I had presumed that as he is growing so quick a cheaper pair from SD would be a good option. I was wrong, the quality was so poor the boots didn't last one game, they were more expensive and SD customer service refuse to accept there is a faulty.  I think I know what Pilch would do in this circumstance.

The moral of this story is, use your independents, or you will loose them eventually and this is not a great thing for customer service and to keep the multiples on their toes.   They often save you money too!

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