We drove over to the Currys/PCWorld branch at Elder Gate. It was around 9.15 a.m. There appeared to be very few customers in the store. We went directly to the washing machine area. We had decided when we visited a week or so ago that we'd have a Hoover model and had intended ordering it there and then, part-paying for it with the vouchers which came in the post yesterday. No staff came towards us as we browsed, as we looked at other washing machines in the display, but the price of the Hoover model suited our budget. The a male assistant appeared, but as soon as we said we were interested in buying a machine he disappeared, saying he'd get another assistant to help with our enquiries. Then a female assistant appeared. When we asked if we could buy this particular Hoover washing machine she said she would have to look at their computer to find out whether one was in stock. It soon turned out that they didn't have one in stock and they weren't expecting another delivery until Friday. It would be another two days after that before we could have it delivered and plumbed in as well as having the old washing machine removed. She made absolutely no effort to offer us an alternative model at a similar price nor did she attempt to find out stock levels. So we left somewhat annoyed. It was at this point that Carol decided we should complain. When we returned home we found Currys/PCWorld's phone number on their website and after around 10 minutes waiting in a queue I spoke to an agent and I told him the problem we had endured in their store in Milton Keynes. He was very apologetic when I explained how our enquiry had been handled. He said he would pass on our complaint to the manager of the store and we would get a response when the complaint had been dealt with. So I await some sort of feedback. We mentioned how we wanted to buy a washing machine and he said any machines which were in stock would be shown online. Carol found a suitable model which appeared to be in stock and available for delivery (something which should have been apparent to the in-store staff, but wasn't.) Carol began to order it through the website but when she came to enter the long line of digits on the vouchers she couldn't get it to work. So we decided to return to the Currys/PCWorld branch, somewhat reluctantly it has to be said since we had put in our complaint. On returning we went to the customer service desk where a lone lady was on duty. She didn't seem to know exactly how to make the transaction on her computer and needed to be shown by the manager of the store. Not exactly helping with our trust in the company. Eventually the transaction was made and we will have the new washing machine, a Kenwood, delivered and installed on Sunday. We were further annoyed when it turned out we would have to pay delivery when it had said it was free on the website but we managed to get it free. We also added extended warranty for the machine in case it breaks down. We have this for our fridge/freezer (the old one broke down and began defrosting when we were out visiting Twycross Zoo, you may recall if you read my earlier blog post.) But I'm afraid this whole incident has put us off buying anything further from this particular company.
When we walk out of the store and into the carpark, there is a lady about to get into her car, parked near us. She is carrying a pile of shoe boxes. It's evident that she's been to Brantano, the shoe store, which is a few units along from Currys/PCWorld. They have a sale on and she tells us she always buys her shoes in Brantanos sale. We discuss our recent trip to the Doc Marten factory shop in Wollaston where we have bought shoes for really low prices. She hasn't heard of this and says she will have to visit. We mention our recent experiences in Currys and she says she never shops there because of their non existent customer care. It seems the store has a really bad reputation. I don't personally blame the staff. I think the company needs to train their staff better. It seems none of them have any idea how to deal with customers. If you have a customer who is eager to buy a product you don't let them walk out of the store until they have bought something. That is surely a bad salesman or woman. If they can't get a sale then they're not doing their job properly. It seems the first assistant had no idea how to keep a customer. If they could't get the product we wanted she should have made some effort to find out and it was more than annoying that we did eventually manage to find what we wanted through their website.