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Bit Embarrassing .....

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I'm not often dumbfounded by a situation, but I was today.  :rolleyes:


I decided to return some shoes I'd bought from Schuh. They were sold as a UK8, but me and at least one other reviewer, believed them to come up a size small. eg. their EU41 was a UK7.


No problem, as Schuh offer a 365 day return policy. Today I visited Bluewater, with Mrs Freddy. Not wanting to carry the shoes around, Schuh was the first shop at the mall we went to.


The girl on the till, asked if she could help, and I said I wanted to return some shoes. She checked the shoes, then rang (a bell) for a supervisor to authorise the refund. He showed up, looked at the shoes too (then the receipt), and asked if there was anything wrong with them. I said no, they came up a bit on the small size. I am standing on the other side of the counter to him, wearing heels under jeans, that he can't see and hadn't noticed when I walked into the shop.


So when I say the shoes come up a bit small, his reply is; "They weren't for you were they, something-for-the-weekend?" My immediate response is; 'mind your own', but I don't feel the need to embarrass someone who is plainly an idiot. I remain silent, wondering if I should blab the truth. Eventually he moves on and says it's okay to refund. :rolleyes: 


The till girl actions the refund, and asks me to put the card in I paid with. I tell her it was a cash sale ..... and remind her the penny on the counter was to round up the refund to make it a paper money refund only. "Oh yes" she says. Then calls another supervisor to authorise the refund? And she tells the girl (like we are not there) "Ask them for a penny" etc etc.  :rolleyes:


We get the refund, and leave.



I may well be adding Schuh to the small number of "do not visit" shops to my list. Barratts, and Faith were also on that list. How well are they doing these days?



(For our international friends, Barratts has I think gone bust twice in the last 5 years, or is it 3 times? A tiny fraction of their shops remain. Faith went bust 3 or 4 years ago. The brand name lives on, but it isn't Faith as we knew it. It's now a name on a range of not-very-attractive shoes found in some Debenhams stores.) 















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I once bought some stiletto knee boots from a branch of Freeman, Hardy & Willis (surprised to find them in there to be honest since FHW tended to carry fairly mostly conservative, school-marm type styles & shoes for school kids).

On taking them to the counter, the male assistant smirked & asked if I wanted to try them on.

Had this not been in my home town, I probably would have done just to wipe the smirk off his face.

That's probably the only negative comment I've received from sales staff.

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That's probably the only negative comment I've received from sales staff.


To be honest, I wasn't that bothered at the time, but have since decided it might be worth complaining about. I go to Bluewater several times a year, and if I wanted to try on some womens shoes, I don't want to be confronted by this sort of attitude. 


FHW. Another 'dead' name in shoe retailing ..... 




It's a fact of life, people will return to places where they have pleasant experiences. A good example are the ones I'm having with Halfords (bike store/equipment and car maintenance retailer).  Returning to cycling I recently bought what was for me, an expensive couple of pairs of cycling shorts at £20 and £25 respectively. (If it matters, one uncomfortable £20 male pair, one comfortable £25 female pair). The chap in the store said Halfords had recently implemented the 'happy customer' attitude employed by John Lewis. [Who I returned shoes to, 4 years after purchase!]


I forgot to take a pair back (I don't need two) but left me with a pair I would never wear, the fellas pair actually. I took them back and asked if I could change the second pair (now in my possession for 6 weeks), and the answer was an emphatic "yes".


Yesterday I was back in another Halfords store. I wanted something they had (some bike axle nuts) but didn't retail. These are spares they use on customers bikes. I was offered 5 of them (free) and took 2. I'm loving Halfords because they are looking after me. In the last 2 months I have visited Halfords more times than I had in the previous 5 years. I never went to them for bike stuff in the past, so their customer service is winning me over. For the same reason, I'm always happy to recommend John Lewis. They price match anything they sell in store, provided you compare the price with the same retail method. [They won't and can't match people who sell 'on-line' only.] Not only do they price match, but there isn't another store group in the UK that can match their pre and post sales customer service.  B)

Edited by FastFreddy2

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Got around to using Schuh's feedback link on their web site.


Left this:


Was subjected to what I would describe as sexual harassment in one of your stores last week. I thought sexual harassment was now illegal?
Returned some ladies shoes a size 8 that came up more like a size 7. [This was also commented on, in the style reviews.]
Firstly we went to the sales counter for a refund. Think we'd had the shoes for 4-8 weeks so well within the 365 days allowed. Firstly we have to explain everything to the sale assistant, which is okay. She then has to call over a supervisor, who we then explain the same thing to. He then looks at me and says; "Are these for you?" smiling as he asks. This is an embarrassing question, given he's asked me in front of his colleague, and my wife. And embarrassing because it's a question that can only cause embarrassment. Seeing me flustered he then says; "Maybe something for the weekend?" Which only makes the situation worse!
How is this sexual harassment?
Option 1.
If they aren't for me, he's pretty much accused me of being a transvestite, with me dressing up at the weekend? In a private circle (of friends) something like that could be taken as a joke. Not so in a retail shop where I'm spending money. I don't expect to go shopping and have staff 'banter' about my dressing tastes. It was a completely unnecessary question with no-where for it to go. 
Option 2.
If they are for me, I don't want to be humiliated when shopping in your store. Not least because I would consider my personal dress sense my business, not that of your staff. After all, how would I be treated if I asked any of your staff if they wore underwear at work? 
Why was I asked that question? If the answer was "Yes", would that have made the shoes any larger? The style feedback [3 or 4 reviewers] had at least two mentioning the sizing issue. "Had to get a size up." Being one of them. If the answer was "No", what was going to happen that was going to be any different? It was no different to; "Are you wearing underwear?" It was an unpleasant intrusion on my dress sense.
Following that extremely embarrassing segment, the chap (we thought) having checked the shoes, authorised a refund and walked off. The assistant asked for our card, even though it had been a cash purchase ..... After some action on the till, a SECOND supervisor was called for some reason, and then we finally got our refund.
If this passes for good customer service, I can tell you, we won't be going back to sample it again.
With so many dedicated shoe stores failing, I'm surprised at the performance of Schuh.
Read this:
And don't forget to check the readers comments. [Very amusing.]
Regards, F.




It won't change a thing, but at least I've blown off some steam.  :D

Edited by FastFreddy2

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Hopefully they do an "Evans" and send you some shoes as compensation lol. 


I will need some ice-skates too, as hell will have frozen over.......  ;)   :P   :D

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Received a pleasant and unexpected response from Schuh:




Hi Freddy

Thanks for your recent feedback.

We have investigated your recent feedback and we're extremely sorry you are unhappy with the service you received in our Bluewater store. Please be aware that we take all complaints very seriously and we escalated your complaint to the Store Manager and Regional Manager to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. The Store Manager who dealt with your return in store explained that he did not try to offend or upset you in anyway. The Store Manager has taken this feedback on board and realises that the sense of humour used is not always the best way to build rapport with customers.

We cannot apologise enough as we strive to provide the highest level of customer service and we want all customers to leave our stores feeling happy with their shopping experience and we understand that on this occasion, this was not the case. 

We hope this helps. Please contact us if you have any further queries. 

Kind regards




To add some balance to this, Mrs Freddy (who always sees the best in everyone) says that he was only making a joke, and wasn't trying to be unpleasant at all. 


I accept this, and the response from Schuh. However, I stand by my original response to his remarks; There are no suitable jokes or attempts at humour to be found at the possible expense of a customer. If he had said; "Bringing them back, can't you afford them? chuckle chuckle .... Would that have been funny? "Too small? Not surprised given your size fatty." Again, humour - where?


In an environment where people have choice, self-deprecating humour is safest. Both for tenure of employment, and the continued interest in shopping at the store by the customer. For example, if the fella had said; "They came up a bit small on me too." That should bring a disarming smile to anyones face. Next time -which won't be with me- hopefully, he'll keep his thoughts to himself and just do a refund, being older and wiser.


I will respond with a 'thank you', but I can't pretend it's not taken the shine off shopping at Schuh. 

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Good for you Freddy!

Cheeky so an so and best of all he was the store manager, which basically means for complaint got filed in department B1n!! Though he would have had to explain to his area boss the reasons!

And euchrid I would have tried those shoes on hometown or not, just to see his face, I have recently noticed a downturn in the level of discretion shown when browsing for heels.

Hopefully stores will realise that if they don't want to follow Barratts and others into closure they need to up their game significantly. I would imagine there is a sizeable portion of the market (Sizes 8+ ) being purchased by men now, indeed why are we seeing Primark selling size 9 wide fit if there wasn't a market to sell them in.

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