The horror of the Hobbs clothes shopping effect – review

Is it just me? Or has clothes shopping become a traumatic, uncomfortable and stressful experience and not just because of the appalling lack of choice.

Today I was in town and thought I should make a head start on the annual hunt for the Christmas outfit.  I looked around various clothes shops, but wasnt encouraged or inspired.  Then I made the huge mistake of crossing the line … the Hobbs clothes store line.

As soon as my right foot crossed the threshold, I was greeted by a shop assistant with all the insincerity of a patient greeting their dentist prior to root canal surgery.  I started browsing, … actually I think I should list the following for ease. Grab a drink and sit back, this is going to be epic …

1) 1.32pm. I am greeted by shop assistant (SA) #1, with the fore mentioned insincerity.

2) 1.33pm. I start browsing and within 20 seconds, SA #2 approaches me and asked if I needed any help. I declined, stating I was merely browsing.

3) 1.34pm. After about 1 minute SA #3 approaches and asks me the same question as SA #2. Note that all 3 SAs were working on the same floor and within arms length of each other, so it wasnt a case of them not realising that I had been approached by 3 different SAs within 3 minutes of entering the store.

4) 1.35pm. I descend the stairs to the basement level, promptly followed by SA #4, in such as way as to make me feel very uncomfortable.  I suggest that if I can feel the draught from your skirt on the back of my legs, you are perhaps too close.

5) 1.35pm. I arrive at the basement level where SA #5 asks if I require any assistance. By now I’m getting rather tired of the Spanish inquisition treatment.

6) 1.39pm. Nothing of interest on the basement floor, so I climb the stairs to level 1. SA #6 welcomes me like an old friend.  Pity I have never met her before in my entire life.

7) 1.40pm. SA #7 approaches me asking if I have ever visited the store before.  I replied that I hadn’t visited this particular branch before, to which her response was, “Ah you look like a person who has visited here before”.  What on earth does that mean? Of course I look like a person who shops, just like the other 7 billion people on the planet. I smile at her, and proceed to browse level 1.

8) 1.40pm. SA #8 approaches a few seconds later, I have still to recover from the odd phrase uttered by SA #7,  and compliments my bag. “I so adore your bag, it’s lovely”, she says.  I say to myself that the reason why it is such a lovely bag is because I didn’t purchase it from Hobbs.

9) 1.41pm. SA #7 approaches me again and asks if I need any help. I decline, again.

10) 1.43pm. SA #9 approaches and asks if I’m looking for anything in particular.  I want to say “the exit”, but instead politely decline her offer of assistance.

11) 1.46pm. I climb back up the stairs again onto the entrance floor and I’m greeted with host of fake smiles and over bleached teeth.  I move towards a mannequin wearing an interesting looking sequined jumper.

12) 1.49pm. I look for the jumper on the shelves, but can’t find it. I turn around to ask for an assistant, and nearly jump out of my skin, as I didn’t realise that SA #2 had creeped up behind me. Honestly, she could work for the SAS.  I ask if she could point me in the right direction.  I was then escorted literally 2 steps to where the garment was situated.

13) 1.51pm. SA #2 asks if I need anything else, and I reply, again, that I am just browsing.  I take a closer look at the jumper, reel at the cost, but somehow manage to convince myself that it was within budget. It wasnt, but heck, it’s nearly Christmas.

14) 1.52pm. I turn around, and again nearly jump out of my skin as I discover that SA #2 has again crept up behind me, ready to snatch the jumper and take it and me to the changing rooms to try it on. This woman is seriously wasted here, MI5 should consider giving her a call.

15) 1.53pm. The words, “Can I try this jumper on in the changing rooms?”, finally escape my lips, but it’s redundant as I have already been dragged there. MI6 should give this woman a call too.

16) 1.53pm. I enter the changing cubicle, and start to undress.  20 seconds later, SA #2 asks if I like the jumper. I explain that I haven’t put it on yet.  Her reply, “I would love to see it on you”.  As much as I would like to pretend I’m a fashion model, in cruel reality I am not. The thought of being judged by a size zero SA was not appealing, so I politely declined.  I was already having enough issues with the mirror image reflecting back to me, which to my horror was not cat woman, but Bagpuss.

17) 1.54pm. The jumper is pulled over my head and about to be arranged around my torso when SA #2 says, “I have brought you a skirt which would go great with that top”.  I’m getting rather cross at this stage. I didn’t ask for a skirt, so why bring me one? But I manage to keep my temper and I said that I already have a suitable skirt at home.  I think I own about 12, none of which I wear, so I think I’m good. However SA #2 suddenly becomes deaf (I now see why SAS, MI5 and MI6 didn’t make that call) and partly opened the curtains, (which I consider as a serious breach of privacy may I add) stating that she couldn’t hear what I had said.  Or was that she didn’t want to hear what I said. I stated again, in my clearest voice that I didn’t require a skirt.

18) 1.56pm.The curtains are drawn closed and I continue, now half-heartedly, trying on the jumper.  A jumper that retails at £100, with 3 holes on it’s sleeve.  Thankfully the damaged sleeve provides me all the excuse I need to remove the jumper and change back into my own clothes.

19) 1.57pm. I gather my things and open the curtains, SA #2 smiles broadly and asks if everything is alright. I replied, that the jumper wasn’t for me.  SA #2 gave such a disappointed look, you would be mistaken for thinking that she had just received news that her puppy had been hurt in a car accident. I imagined that the puppy would make a rapid and full recovery, very unlike SA #2’s facial expression.

20) 1.58pm. I return the jumper and high tail it out of the shop, vowing never to return again.  I thought shopping was supposed to be fun! I should have realised if there are more SAs than customers, it either means the shop is very high end or is simply rubbish. I have still to work out in Hobbs case which category it falls into.

I wish I could say this was an isolated story, but having spoken to friends and family who have visited other branches of Hobbs, they have offered similar horror stories.  So my tip is, if you want to avoid the above, shop on the internet. You will save money too!

Rating: 0 out of 5

Not a shopping experience I would like to repeat, the clothes are not that interesting, and the prices do not match the quality of the goods sold. I like a little help and attention, but the shop assistants were over zealous and just after a quick sale.


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