Friday, 25 May 2007

Rant, rant and more rant ...

If there's one thing guaranteed to shoot my blood pressure into orbit mode (and not in a good way) it's shopping.

Today I venture out into the High Street for some goodie fun. In the first shop, a popular chemist, I spend about £35. The assistant hands me my goods with a receipt. "Can I have a bag, please?" I ask pleasantly. "Yeah... if you really want one," she snarls, and shoves a bag at my chest.

Further along I hit a health food shop and spend in the region of £30 on about eight items. "Do you want a bag?" asks the assistant, who obviously can't be arsed if I want one or not, or indeed if I plan on balancing said items on my head as I go about my business.

Then I treat myself to a pair of earrings for the grand sum of £4. Well, okay, the shop's not exactly going to see a surge in their profit with that little sale, but anyway. The earrings are secured on a little piece of card and the assistant hands them to me with the receipt. "You don't want a bag for those, do you?" she asks. In such a way that I daren't disagree for fear of tuts of disapproval, and perhaps being marched from the shop in disgrace.

Why all this angst about bags, you may ask. Well, because it irks the life out of me, that's why. The shops would probably say they're trying to cut down on waste, yeah right. They get away with that excuse, of course, because in the UK we have recycling shoved down our throats every which way. Now I recycle as well as the next person and I understand how important it is to cut down on waste (despite the constant reminders from the powers that be who treat us all like idiots who can't be trusted to think for ourselves). But the bag thing has nothing to do with recycling ... it's about service, or the lack of it.

In France I frequent a lovely cosmetic chainstore where I buy little gifts to take home for friends. Often I'll buy one or two tiny items costing about £3/£5, but no matter how much I spend I get a bag! Even without asking! Shock. Horror. I'm even asked if it's a gift, and if so the pressie gets wrapped in tissue paper with a little bit of matching ribbon ... and then put into a bag! The result? I feel like a valued customer and am inclined to make a return visit. Frankly, I'd never set foot again in any of the shops I visited today if I didn't have to.

So come on Britain's shops, get your act together. Make us feel like valued customers ... and give us a bloody bag!!


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