When the c'lonials take over this island, one of the first things to go will be Mothercare. For those who don't know, Mothercare is a chain store here in Britain that sells everything you need from pregancy through to toddler years. Sounds fantastic to have everything under one roof, but sounding fantastic and being fantastic are two different things.
There is a large Mothercare store in Slough, where we have been several times and have found the staff to be pretty useless. We went there at the beginning of December, looking for a stroller/pram/thingy. We walked around the display of 25 or so strollers, a bit overwhelmed by what we were looking at and not being sure where to start. Since noone offered to help us, after about 5-10 minutes of looking, we grabbed a member of staff and asked her which ones had car seats that integrated into the strollers. She said she wasn't familiar with the car seats, so she would find a colleague to help us. Another 5 minutes pass. Finally the car-seat expert showed up. He pointed the strollers that have car seat attachment capability out and said, "If you have any questions, just ask," and then walked away. Well, we had a lot of questions, but didn't know where to start. We didn't see him again in the shop, so we left.
Contrast that to when we went to Bear Essentials (another baby equipment shop) in Maidenhead. When we asked them in general about the strollers, the 2 girls working basically said, "Right, this is our best selling model and here's why", explaining all the features, which car seat fit with it, why they recommended it above the other strollers, but also pointing out the features of the others. They gave us information about it and then answered all our questions, rather than just pointing them out and walking away.
We bought the car seat from Bear Essentials, but still haven't bought a stroller. As we were driving past the Slough Mothercare yesterday, we thought we'd take another look in, since we now have a slightly better idea of what we are now looking for. Again, in a near empty shop, I walked around the strollers for a good while without anyone offering to help me. I asked one of the girls about them again, and she pointed them out, nothing more really. When I saw a model that fits the car seat we already have, I asked if she could show me how the car seat fits into the stroller. She had to go off and get her colleague to do it, as she didn't know how. So the assistant manager came over to show us how to remove the stroller seat to attach the car seat. He struggled with the seat material for a long time, several minutes at least, having been pushing where he should have been pulling. Then, when he finally got it the back cover off, the stroller had two left adapters instead of a right and a left, so we couldn't try it out anyways. What a pain.
I've also been to the Mothercare in Maidenhead and wasn't overly impressed with it either. Nothing particularly wrong with it, other than when I went in there, I was the only shopper and the 3 members of staff didn't stop for half a second from their gabbing with each other to greet me or ask if I was looking for anything specific. No, sorry, that's wrong, they did, once I had been in the shop for about 20 minutes.
Amazing that I could post about the great shopping service at one place less than a week ago and now complain about the total lack of service at another. But that's the way it is in life. To use the British expression, "It's swings and roundabouts". My final comment is basically, if you live near Maidenhead, Windsor or Slough, I would recommend you go to Bear Essentials if you need baby equipment. Friendly and competent staff, a big contrast from Mothercare.