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HalfFull

How Do You Find 21St Century Shopping?

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HalfFull

I don’t know what this is like outside the UK, but what are your thoughts on shop experiences these days compared with the days when you went in, went to the shelf, took your item to the till, paid for it, got your change, said thank you and then left. I’m starting to notice that its almost impossible to experience this nowadays other than in your corner shop and even they can have their moments.

 

In Supermarkets and City Centre shops and certainly in chain stores its almost impossible to have a ‘straight-down-the-middle’ shopping experience. For a start almost all chains try to pedal their loyalty card, including the restaurant I was in last night. Then they sound hurt when you refuse it. I was even offered a loyalty card in Ireland for a chain I’ve never been to before so I guess its uniquely Irish.

 

Special offers drive me round the bend. Well actually they don’t because I never have the patience to try to find the money off coupon from last week, but I get a headace just thinking about it. I find it embarrassing when you roll up at the counter to be told that you can get a third one for the same price as the two you have presented and then you have to push to the front of the Queue to continue the transaction, it’s a really silly and impractical practice.

 

I hate the practice of being ‘encouraged’ to use the self-service tills. In one place I nearly always use them as the queues are long at the manned tills, but I’ve had to always mess about with the plastic bags before telling the machine I’m there, because otherwise I’m already being told to “Wait for Assistance”. Sometimes that message comes up mid-transaction when I thought I was doing everything right. Sometimes they don’t have big enough bags. About the first 50 times I used those things, I had to get help 50% of the time. Its only now after about 2 to 3 years that I’m finally getting it right most times. It’s a nightmare to use the ones at my supermarket, but sometimes they try to encourage you to. One time that happened and the lady made out that she would help me, but after a few items she left me to it and I had to call her back. Pointless !

 

Another time I tried doing it there and forgot if I had scanned my cereal and got somewhat confused but because I paused, an interfering customer came out of nowhere and told me in a bossy tone that I can scan it now. I wasn’t expecting a customer to watch me shopping, but I think she had learning difficulties and was stood next to her dad whilst he did the shopping and didn’t know not to do that, but I almost scanned something twice.

Also yesterday, I bought someone a card and got asked if I wanted to buy a pen to help Cancer Research. I said no, and as usual the sales assistants tone of voice sounded a bit disappointed when telling me the price. One of the big bookstore chains often offer a fancy bar of chocolate when you go in, unless you use their self-service till which is almost forced on you.

Then theres the place where you look in a catalogue, pay for your items, go to a waiting area and then go elsewhere to receive your goods when your number comes up. They also insist you use their self-service payment point. The first time that happened to me, a message came up telling me to go to the till as it was apparently something called an ‘age-restricted product’ and had to go to the till anyway. To save the embarrassment of this happening again, the next time I went there, I swerved past the person who would make me go to the self-service thing, only for the person on the till to tell me that I was actually required to do so, unless paying by cash and I think I was about £1 cash short. Thus these things are not straight forward until you are used to them.

Then there are the complicated systems that some chain restaurants use now. It never ends, so I could probably stay up all night thinking of others.

In many shops it feels as if you are not a valued customer if you just buy something at cost and only give what the item you went in for costs and come out with the item. There always seems to have to be something else

It never used to do like this, so why does it have to be now. It drives me round the bend. I want to be left alone in shops and don’t want to have to fish out loyalty cards and asked if I want to collect vouchers to buy computers for schools. Don’t even get me started on mobile phone shops. How do you all feel about it?

Edited by HalfFull

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Xmas

Yay! I am not alone, this also drives me mad. I have noticed this every time I go into Holland and Barratt, I go in and get what I need and when I eventually get to the front of the queue the cashier asks me if I have a loyalty card. I say no I haven't. Then they ask if I want one. I say no thank-you. Then they say but you can save money. Again I say no thank-you, I only want this bag of nuts please. Then they say, but you can get a second one for a penny. So I go back and get another bag of nuts.

 

But if the customer in front of me does not have a loyalty card and is persuaded to have one, I then have a long, long wait while they give all their personal details to the cashier, and the cashier enters them into the hopefully functioning computer.

 

Another time I was in a hurry going to visit my mother, but popped into the Co-op first to buy a yogurt which I was going to eat after my lunch. I only wanted one but they only had a four-pack so decided I would buy that anyway. When I got to the front of the queue, after admitting I did not have a loyalty card nor did I want one, the cashier said that there was a special offer on an eight pack in which the price was the same as the four pack. They were situated at a different part of the store. I said no thanks I need to pay straightaway otherwise I will miss my bus. All that palaver when all I wanted was a single yogurt.

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Sofi

I don't like dealing with shop workers. The first problem is I'm unlikely speak to them because I don't know them, so it's difficult if they ask me a question. I wish I could just pay for something without the pressure to talk. The other problem with me is actually using money if I am using actual money rather than my card, paying for things in shops is always an issue for me :( I usually don't do it myself, sometimes I've managed okay but other times I've panicked badly about it. 
It just makes it worse when they ask about the loyalty cards. i don't like paying for things in Boots because of it - they indefinitely ask about their card and I do have one of them so I have to find it under pressure in front of them, so it's just prolonging the experience! I don't even care about the points! Maybe I shouldn't bother, but I'd still have to respond to the question if I have a card or not. 

I hate these self service tills too, no matter what you(pl.) do, you still require help. It's a miracle if you actually manage to complete the process without requiring help! I sometimes risk it, to avoid the speaking to workers, but they are so frustrating. Also, so loud!!

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Andy

Less in the shops than I remember there was, a dearth of specialist emporiums and everything costs too much, we have gone backwards.

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HalfFull

Sofi, I refused the Boots Advantage Card for a year as I usually went before a train that I didn't want to miss. Then when I had one I kept being asked if I wanted to use my points. This annoyed me as I was aiming for £50 to buy something of around that value with it. What I don't know. At one point my card didn't work but I was reluctant which made it awkward when asked if I had a card. If I said Yes, they validated it (like I'm going to remember!). If I said No, they asked if I wanted one, so I had to admit that I had one but it didn't work, so they still validated the card. Not once have I ever presented a validation receipt. I have enough things to think about in life to remember something as mundane as that. The reason I was reluctant to ask for a new one was that I was always in a hurry and thought that I wouldn't have time if there was a process. When I finally asked how to go about it, I was told that I have to ring the Advantage Card phoneline. When I enquired how I was supposed to know the number, I was told that its on the receipts. If I had actually known I could have sorted it all out sooner. Anyway I finally got a new card after a year of not having one.

 

Oddly enough after years of saving, I actually ended up using the points for a standard purchases of food supplements and the like on a week when my finances were low, but there never seemed to be anything else I could have used the points for. Mind you, if I had the card on me at the right time I could have bought the glasses I bought there using the points, although I would have been confused by possible conflicts with the fact that it was 2 pairs of glasses for the price of one, and the statement 'Not to be used in conjuction with any other offer'. However, the lady still asked if I wanted to use my Advantage points. Oh, so are Advantage Points, not another offer? I wish I had a photo of me looking puzzled in this type of situation for Willows project, if Puzzled was among them :mellow:

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Nesf

Ugh, supermarkets and shopping, don't get me started! I want to be left alone when I shop. I hate things pushed upon me or being too in-your- face, and this behaviour will have the opposite effect to that intended and make me not want to buy the product. When I was in the UK, I didn't use the automatic tills personally, but my mum did. I hated them. They didn't work, said "assistance required" at the slightest mistake, and made an awful beeping noise that drove me mad. I don't know why my mum was using them, there's no way i would have used them. Special offers, bright labels with reductions, etc, and all designed to distract you, and it's important for me to try to remain focused on what I'm doing and what I want. But that's the problem with supermarkets, there are so many distractions, choices which i have to weigh up and decide, and it can take me so long, my mind gets blocked and i remain in front of the shelf motionless and looking completely gaumless... I am easily distracted from my original purpose, and sometimes go around in circles until I can focus again and get what I want.

 

I also don't like it if I'm in a smaller boutique and they come up to you and want to help you, or follow you around. I just want to browse, and be left alone. I'm reluctant to go into smaller shops for this reason.

 

In Romania I had a different problem... I was once in a shop where i was having trouble deciding what I want to buy, and spent some time hovering around some products. The shop assistant called to me and pointed to where the till was, and that I should pay. It made me throw down the item I was holding and rush out the shop.

 

Another time I went into a supermarket with a rucksack. A security guard stopped me and insisted that i put the rucksack into a locker. In both cases I felt that I was being treated like a thief, it was insulting. I never went back to those places. I just want go, select something, pay and leave without any complications.

 

Here in Greece they don't yet have automatic tills, thank God. I wouldn't use them no matter what kind of persuading they used. It's a move to cut down on paid staff, and means that more staff will be made redundant. Not a good thing. It's only a matter of time before it becomes common practice here, too.

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HalfFull

In France, its common practice to not let customers walk round big stores carrying bags. On my year abroad in Le Havre, there were 7 of us from England and Ireland and some of us went together to check out the place and the same security guard appeared at the end of each aisle. We only stood out as we were young, English, in a group and not regular customers. One time I was there on my own and the same security guard clocked me when I was half way down the first aisle and I thought something like "What is this place, they are so super suspicious", but it turned out that he only collared me because I had a bag and wasn't allowed to carry it around. I had to leave the bag behind the Jewellery counter and then queue up there to get it back and had to wait almost 10 minutes looking like a spare part. The only way to avoid a repeat of this was to go back to my Halls to drop my bag off on the way there and my room was on the 4th floor. It was just lucky that going to the Halls didn't add too much on to my journey. There were 2 supermarkets on my direct route who did allow bags but I don't do Aldi and Lidl as I can't understand how those places operate.

 

 I went on holiday to Paris years later with some friends and we got caught with the bag thing. 2 of us had to leave our bags on a desk near reception but the other 2 were given some sort of seal and had to hold it in a particular way. I couldn't relax whilst browsing that shop because of it.

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Toran

Shopping drives me mad too the fact that you cant go in chose your product without being hassled into something is very annoying.

Its the same as everyone has said its not a pleasure anymore because there is always somebody trying to get you to go that little bit further to get you to spend that extra few pounds.

I find it quite off putting and have started to do a bit of my shopping on the internet as its a lot easier.

In regards to loyalty cards they are using them in courts now to prove you are living beyond your means in benefit cases and tax evasion among other things.

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Nesf

In France, its common practice to not let customers walk round big stores carrying bags. On my year abroad in Le Havre, there were 7 of us from England and Ireland and some of us went together to check out the place and the same security guard appeared at the end of each aisle. We only stood out as we were young, English, in a group and not regular customers. One time I was there on my own and the same security guard clocked me when I was half way down the first aisle and I thought something like "What is this place, they are so super suspicious", but it turned out that he only collared me because I had a bag and wasn't allowed to carry it around. I had to leave the bag behind the Jewellery counter and then queue up there to get it back and had to wait almost 10 minutes looking like a spare part. The only way to avoid a repeat of this was to go back to my Halls to drop my bag off on the way there and my room was on the 4th floor. It was just lucky that going to the Halls didn't add too much on to my journey. There were 2 supermarkets on my direct route who did allow bags but I don't do Aldi and Lidl as I can't understand how those places operate.

 

 I went on holiday to Paris years later with some friends and we got caught with the bag thing. 2 of us had to leave our bags on a desk near reception but the other 2 were given some sort of seal and had to hold it in a particular way. I couldn't relax whilst browsing that shop because of it.

It makes shopping feel more like going through airport security! I can understand that they have a problem with theft and need to reduce this, but sure surely having a magnetic detector at the door would be better than that? They must spend a lot of money on the security guards, too.

 

Shopping drives me mad too the fact that you cant go in chose your product without being hassled into something is very annoying.

Its the same as everyone has said its not a pleasure anymore because there is always somebody trying to get you to go that little bit further to get you to spend that extra few pounds.

I find it quite off putting and have started to do a bit of my shopping on the internet as its a lot easier.

In regards to loyalty cards they are using them in courts now to prove you are living beyond your means in benefit cases and tax evasion among other things.

I do a lot of my Christmas shopping online because it's a good way to avoid the crowds at Christmas, but sometimes the cost of postage and packaging can be quite high, and I would never shop for clothes, footwear or groceries on the internet, there are some things I really need to see and touch (and perhaps smell) before buying! Things i buy online are things like books, CDs or DVDs.

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HalfFull

One of my undiagnosed Aspie friends has always done his Christmas shopping in December, although I would never like to keep a secret for that long and it seems to take organisation to extremes but doing it online nearer the time seems worth it if the recipients don't live in the same house.

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