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  1. As reported elsewhere (New Heels thread) I had discovered some wedge heels had been available at Zara for £40 during November/December 2018, but I had only found out about them, mid way through January 2019. These: The pair I'd found were at Brent Cross, and reduced to £30 in their sale. The pair I saw were an EU40/UK7. During the same visit I bought some flat calf length boots that looked they might be useful in the impending wet/snowy weather we are promised during the next 4 weeks. The boots were reduced to £20 (from probably £30). Both styles were from their TRF range. (TRF = cheaper/budget.) The flat boots fitted okay, but the stretch shafts were loose - as usual, although they looked like they might be slim enough. I had decided to visit a couple more Zara stores, before giving up on the wedge boots, as the boots looked really attractive. A local store (Home Counties) was tried last Wednesday, with no luck. They had the wedges, but only in a UK5 and UK6. On Friday I went to Westfield London (aka White City), to look, and to return the £20 boots. No luck with the wedges, only one pair UK7 found. Close, but no prize! While there, I decided to return the £20 boots. There was a queue for returns, but at the time I didn't want to carry the boots with me to Primarni as it's quite a trek from Zara. Well, it took 30 minutes to get my money back. The 'shower of shyte' that passes for a returns system, has the counter staff checking and re-hanging every returned item, before a refund was made. It took very nearly 25 minutes to get to the front of a 10 person queue. One person (we'll call her 'princess') has two full bags of returns. Even with the discounts from the sale items she had bought, the two receipts that were refunded ran to £175 and £60. How could someone make that many mistakes when selecting clothing? Two FULL bags of returns. Incredible. Another one of the 10, one full bag. Not that this would be a problem at Marks or J.L. but Zara staff have to re-hang and tag where necessary every single item...... So nearly 25 minutes to get to the front of the queue .... And then, and then ..... The assistant had to call the floor manager to authorise the £20 cash refund. If that didn't add to the delay enough, their internal communication system wasn't working. The assistant called for a manager several times, without getting a reply, which should have told the assistant the manager wasn't receiving the call and she should have tried the store public announcement system - the manager told her in front of us. It took over 5 minutes for someone to appear, which of course blocked the assistant from doing any more returns. You would be forgiven for thinking Zara would now be at the top of my 'avoid at all costs' list? Having made the time to go to the West End proper, I decided to go to the Marble Arch (end) branch of Zara in Oxford Street, not least because I planned to go to Primarni which is quite close to it. Nothing on the ground floor, but UNBELIEVABLY, I found an EU41/UK8 (fits like a UK7.5 but fits me) on the first floor, which I then took to the ground floor to buy. Some 8 minutes into queuing, I put the boots on a low counter, and walked out - leaving the boots behind. I wasn't prepared to spend a further 10 minutes queuing to get to the front of another queue to buy something, having already spent 30+ minutes getting my £20 back earlier in the evening. Okay, so they will sell, so no loss to Zara, but at my time of life, I have more import things to do than waste time queuing to buy shoes (of questionable quality). It's not like I'm going to lose much putting Zara on my banned list, and neither is Zara. But I was one of many people who had a bad time in two of their stores, and it won't only be me who decides they are not worth visiting again. Other stores I have complained about in the past, have gone bust (House of Fraser, and New Look being two notable ones). While Zara is (I believe) a privately owned company with a (now) mega-rich owner, a bad shopping experience can lead to a bad shopping business. 2019 is going to be another tough year for high street retailers, and given my recent shopping experience, I won't be surprised if Zara begins to close stores.
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