The curse of high street shopping; why we shop mainly on line

Our high streets are packed with large shops, many of them retailing stuff for kids. Most of them claim to have environmental policies, blah, blah. St Albans High Street has most of the major retailers, with the noticeable exception of Next which moved to a retail park and Gap (no idea why we don’t have one).

Until recently the only shop left on the actual  High Street (and not in one of the yards) which did not require me to get into the lift with the buggy in order to buy a kids T-shirt was Millets. I quite like the kids stuff in there as it’s so practical, hard-wearing and cheap and so I bought a fair amount. However, today I went there and was told that its all been moved upstairs because the range has expanded. Now, this would be fine I suppose, if they had a lift or an escalator. But they don’t. How on earth do they expect people with two children and a pushchair full of shopping to actually go up some stairs in order to buy anything from their kids range?

Let me clarify things a  little, I have a pushchair full of shopping, literally laden down because I try very hard not to drive if I don’t really need to. I do not wish to leave my shopping at the bottom of some stairs, I want to keep my stuff with me. Is this too much to ask?

Marks and Spencer have a strong environmental policy, they keep charging me 5p per bag when I don’t have enough of my own because they actually do have some rather good offers in the food section. So, answer me this M & S executives, why does your high street branch in St Albans, at least, keep its small kids range upstairs requiring the use of a lift? The lift is always busy and presumably requires a fair amount of energy to work. There is room on the ground shop floor, it would be simple enough to move something else up there which might sell well next to the mens clothes.

Boots, you are another company with the kids range upstairs, admittedly there is a large section. However, on going to the lift I pass a very large section of the store which appears to be full of toilet rolls and random gift packs. This section is nearly always empty. The lift is always full.

I can go on, there’s The White Company and  BHS. Both of which appear to have random stuff downstairs in place of the kids range. The only shop which has thought things through properly is H & M who keep all the kids stuff downstairs and everything else upstairs. Hats off to them, I presume they sell more kids clothing than anywhere else in St Albans due to sheer ease of access.

My limited understanding of retailing is that it is best to make finding items easy and tempting. I can tell any retail executive that with a pushchair and children I do not want to be made to stand and wait for a lift, in both directions. Whilst the kids scream. Oh, and whilst I am at it, Boots St Albans; shame on you for not having a toilet a three year old is allowed to use once they get all the way upstairs to the kids section. I mean, a three year old can hold on whilst they wait for a lift, then walk the five minutes to the nearest public loo, cant they.

High Street retailing is suffering in the recession. But they don’t make it easy for you to spend money, do they?


5 Responses

  1. Alex 15th April 2011 / 8:22 am

    Charging for and making you reuse plastic bags is a marketing ruse- it puts the environmental emphasis on the end user and shifts the focus away from excessive food miles that have a much greater environmental impact that a few poxy plastic bags.

  2. More than Just a Mother 15th April 2011 / 8:28 am

    This drives me nuts. I once had an embarrassing post-natal breakdown in a Clarks shoe shop. I needed to buy my son's second pair of shoes (15 months) and I had a triple buggy with him and newborn (sleeping) twins in it. The children's shoes were upstairs and there was no lift. I ranted and railed and finally burst into tears shouting "can't you see my life's hard enough?&

  3. Erin 15th April 2011 / 8:41 am

    I completely agree – upstairs without a lift? What are they thinking? I only have one little guy with me and I still can't be bothered. My pet peeve is when they actually have a lift, but the route to get there is almost completely blocked by clothes rails, so it's a maze trying to find the route where your pushchair fits through. Arrrrrgh.

  4. Muddling Along 15th April 2011 / 10:36 am

    This is one of the reasons I barely ever venture onto the High Street – I want to go out and buy things but the reality is that its just a nightmare and so I tend not to bother<br /><br />Fortunately there&#39;s internet shopping but why do they make it so hard for us to spend our cash?

  5. cartside 16th April 2011 / 8:39 pm

    M&amp;S has uses a lot of plastic packaging for food, and chills almost everything, so definitely not environmentally friendly. I&#39;m in Germany at the moment, and same story – kids section always on the upmost floor. I&#39;ve walked out of shops because of this, can&#39;t be bothered.

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