Blog: Running Through My Mind
An open letter from an Amazon shopper to the High Street

Dear High Street

An open letter from an Amazon Shopper to the High Street:

Dear High Street,

I understand that times are hard and local retailers are struggling to make ends meet.

I know you are being crippled by high business rates and extortionate shop rents.

I am aware that the 2 hour parking limits mean shoppers don’t have time for coffee or lunch and people meeting for lunch don’t have time to shop, which impacts on your trade.

I appreciate that shopping locally is better for the environment and that when you buy local, a local shopkeeper ‘does a little happy dance’.

So I have tried to support you. I have tried not to use your stores as a showroom to test the product for finish quality, size or feel before ordering online .... but ... why do you make it so hard!

When my EE phone contract ended, I didn’t want a new phone so tried to sign up for a SIM only contract in store with Carphone Warehouse. You told me you couldn’t do it because it was a ‘downgrade’. So I went to the EE store. You didn’t have any deals anywhere near as competitive as on your own website (and actually had to look it up online because you didn’t know about it). I ordered the SIM online walking back to my car.

I went to Sports Direct to get some running shoes, even though I could get them cheaper online. There was only one shoe in the box, it was the last pair and you couldn’t find the other shoe! I ordered the shoes online walking back to my car.

I went to a department store to choose a black coat. Most of the lights upstairs were not switched on and I couldn’t see black coats very well in the gloom. I gave up (the store also went through a phase of not turning on the heating and even closed a floor completely - it has since closed down. I wonder why?).

I went to another department store to do some clothes shopping and it looked like it was closing down, even though it wasn’t. Hardly any stock out, big empty spaces, hardly any staff around.

I rushed back from work to get to town by 6pm for late night Christmas shopping. Half the shops were shut at their normal time, of those that were open, many were only open until 7pm. The sign on the door at M&S said it was only open until 6pm. I could see staff in there, but it looked a bit dark, so I wasn’t sure whether they were just there for a stock take. I tried the door, which was open, and asked a member of staff if they were open and he said, “oh yes, we are open until 8pm tonight for late night shopping”! Maybe it would be more successful if you put that on the sign on the door, rather than saying you were closing at 6pm.

I wanted a fine nib fountain pen for general use. I could get one online easily, but went into town to support my local retailers. After visiting every stationery shop in town in my 2 hour parking window of opportunity and finding only thick nib calligraphy fountain pens, I ordered one from Amazon whilst walking back to the car.

I wanted to buy some more of the daily vitamins I give to my dog for his joints. I buy them online for £17 for a two month supply including delivery .... £30 in Pets at Home for the same size container. No thank you. I ordered them online on my way back to the car.

I needed a new kitchen bin and wanted one to fit in a small space in the kitchen. I found the ideal bin on Amazon, but checked local stockists and Dunelm came up. Of course, when I got there they didn’t stock them in my local store. I ordered one online from Amazon on my way back to the car.

My fiancé took out a SIM only pay as you go data contract with Three in store to use for 4G internet at home using a hotspot router instead of broadband. Unfortunately, there was no 4G signal whatsoever at his house on Three. Despite being less than 14 days from purchase, the Three store would not cancel the contract because the 14 day cooling off period only applies to contracts purchased online or over the telephone, so the lesson here is never sign up for any contracts of this kind in store. (If you are wondering, my fiancé did get out of the contract without penalty, as I contacted Three Complaints using webchat and quoted his statutory rights, as they were not providing the advertised service, and breach of contract, specifically a breach of implied trust).

And if you don’t have the item in store when I come in, offering to order the item into the store for me to collect another day just doesn’t work for me. Why would I order it in store, to come back into town another day, find and pay for parking and collect it, when Amazon will deliver it straight to my door for free? Particularly if you (and I’m looking at you Sports Direct and Debenhams here) are going to charge me for delivery to your own store. Surely that’s just charging me for your own poor stock management?!

So before you blame me for your demise, dear High Street, and judge me for my Amazon order history, please know that I tried.

I nearly drove myself crazy trying, but I did try ....

Yours sincerely,
An Amazon Shopper