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Admirable Argos is Skanky No More

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24.11.2002 Diamond review

Advantages:
Too many to mention (see review)

Disadvantages:
None to speak of

Recommendable Yes:

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As some of you may already know, I have recently (almost!) moved home! I say ‘almost’ as the actual move date has been deferred until tomorrow – however, I did get the keys to the property almost a fortnight ago; and have since been frantically decorating and organising stuff in a vain attempt to have it ready for when I move in (no chance!). During this time, I have had a number of disappointments with regard to deliveries and other mundane things – this is why I feel I should write something about Argos; not because they were disappointing in any way, but because they excelled and for that I am truly grateful!

It all started when I wanted to quickly fill my newly decorated bedroom with furniture… I’d just been let down by a bed delivery and wanted to cheer myself up! Having an Argos Superstore only minutes away, I went on a bit of a mission – I have that child-like mentality you see; if I decide that I want something, then I have to have it that instant! Out came the trusty Argos catalogue…

Now, I remember the days when Argos was seen to be a bit of a bargain shop… a bit cheap and cheerful, if you know what I mean. Well, let me assure you that those days are well and truly gone! With the new adverts starring Richard E. Grant, some new technology, and a number of new services – you’re local Argos store may not be quite as you once remembered it to be!

Before I did anything else, I measured my room and then proceeded to flick through the catalogue in search of something suitable… I found a number of different options to suit my needs – amazing really, as I’m not so easily pleased! So, on to the first of their wonderful services…

RING & RESERVE:

If you turn to the back of the catalogue, there is a list of all the Argos stores throughout the country – each with it’s own three digit code. Basically, you can phone a local rate number and use an automated service to see if your chosen branch has the items you want in stock. You can also reserve these items until you are able to collect them or want them delivering – however, as the store is only across the road from me, I saw no need to continue the call. so I hopped in the car and drove to the store itself…

GREAT ANCOATS STREET – MANCHESTER

This is one of several branches of Argos based in Manchester, and the most convenient for me. It is big and bright and has examples of furniture and other items displayed throughout the store. Now the last time I used an Argos store, I remembered it to have been cramped and claustrophobic; full of scallies; and poorly staffed – however, this store couldn’t have been better. Although the place was busy, there didn’t appear to be the usual frustrating, tightly wound queues – and then I spotted it…

THE QUICK-PAY MACHINE:

Now these are simply brilliant – and I love technology when it’s simple enough for my small brain to cope with; which this was! It is a touch screen service, where you can type in the catalogue number of the item that you are interested in – a picture is displayed on the screen; it tells you how many are left in stock; and you have the option to get further details on the item in question. If you are happy with the product, you can choose to go ahead and order it – I ordered all four of my desired items (well there was one other; but that was only in stock at the ‘Central Retail Park’ branch). After you have opted to purchase all of your items, the machine asks you to insert your credit/debit card (and it takes them all – as far as I know!) – so in went my card and out popped a receipt telling me to go to my collection point.

THE COLLECTION AREA:

Well, I must say, this has changed a bit since I last went to Argos! Instead of the usual gangs of people pressed up against a flimsy counter, being glared at by harassed members of staff; I was surprised to see a seated waiting area and an electronic screen showing which orders had been processed and who was due to collect their item. I grabbed myself a trolley (yes, a trolley in Argos… unheard of!) and took a seat. Within minutes, a friendly female member of staff called me over (she knew who I was as I had paid by machine – how clever!), and gave me a hand loading my trolley with flat-pack furniture. She even expressed concern over whether I would be able to steer the trolley now that it carried weight in excess of 60kg – how sweet!

Anyway, I raced home with my newly purchased furniture and then dashed straight back out to get the remaining item from…

CENTRAL RETAIL PARK BRANCH – MANCHESTER

Okay, so not quite as big – but still brightly lit and filled with helpful, polite staff (a rare thing these days!). By this time, it was quite late in the day (Both stores open until eight o’clock every night except Sundays!) so there were very few people shopping in the store – and therefore, no queues! I jotted my catalogue number on one of those handy little slips and took it straight to the pay-desk – here I was greeted by a very helpful (if not slightly over-friendly!) young man who proceeded to offer me…

ARGOS STORE CARD:

Now, I actually have far too many store cards and credit cards already; so I told him that I would think about it and took a leaflet (which I’ve lost!) instead. However, as far as I’m aware, it’s store card which you can use to purchase goods and spread the cost over a period of time at a fixed interest rate of 25.9%. Other details, which I have sneakily found in the back of the catalogue, are bulleted as follows…

 Interest ‘opt-out’ plan when you spend over £195 in one transaction
 Five ‘Premier Points’ for every £1.00 spent
 Choice of three different card designs

Call 0870 010 2103 for more information!

Okay, back to my Argos experience! Well, I paid for my item and wandered over to the collection point as instructed. My item had arrived before me – I couldn’t believe it! However, this piece of furniture came in two large (and very heavy) boxes – and there wasn’t a trolley in sight! As I started to dread the embarrassing struggle that I was to face, stumbling across to my car with a load that could kill a donkey – the gentleman behind the counter asked me if I would like somebody to help me with my purchase. Before I could answer, he had summoned another guy from out of sight and instructed him to take my boxes to my car for me. This was much appreciated and I proceeded to strut out of the store like royalty – having some young servant follow me with my shopping!

*****

NOTE FOR DISABLED CUSTOMERS:

Whenever I write about stores and mention their layouts, I always like to comment upon the extent to which they are ‘disabled friendly’ (I’m actually not too keen on the term disabled as I hate labels of any kind – however, for ease of use and for the readers understanding; that is what I have chosen to use!)… in the case of the two Argos stores that I visited, both shops were flat levelled with no steps inside or outside of the store; disabled parking was available at both sites; and all areas that a customer may desire to access were of a suitable width to accommodate the use of wheelchairs.

*****

I have since taken all of my items home, and although I haven’t yet constructed all of the furniture – the pieces that I have put together were of excellent quality, and with no bits missing (such a novelty for flat-pack stuff!). Also, in case you’re still hungry for more information – here’s a few details about some of the services offered by Argos that I didn’t actually use…

 Free delivery on orders over £100.00
 Delivery charges of £3.95 for orders of a lesser value
 Argos Corporate Link – a business account that saves time and money (apparently!)
 Argos loans (that is, they loan you money – not your own branch of Argos!!!)
 Replacement product cover (i.e. domestic appliance insurance!)
 Jewellery insurance
 And a 16 day money back guarantee!

There are also three ways to order your goods from Argos…

 In store (like I did!)
 Over the phone (details in catalogue)
 Or on-line (www.argos.co.uk)

For the record, I have not mentioned the whole ‘Argos Additions’ thing as I see this as something separate from the regular ‘Argos’ thing – although you may se it as an enhanced version of the whole experience? (Basically, it’s more of a home-shopping thing; not unlike Kays / Gratton / Littlewoods / etc. – but, I don’t know enough about it to comment!).

Well, I hope this has been useful to people – and if you would like to repay me, you could always come and finish off constructing my flat-pack furniture for me. Thanks for the read – and as always, comments (of any nature) are more than welcome and a pleasure to receive!

Cheers, Drew -x-


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Comments about this review »

pridham123 08.03.2005 19:10

brilliant op. ill be posting one about argos soon.

Gill_J 12.06.2003 17:35

Great review of a great store and thanks for the information for disabled customers, its appreciated and so often not thought of.

pleaseratemyreview 10.06.2003 20:53

Oh, i don't know. I find Argos a bit naff, and the prices are incredibly high. I felt so strongly about it i wrote an op! anyway, a valid opinion, i fear written better than mine was! Well done, ¬¬¬JiM¬¬¬

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This review of Argos (Shop) has been rated:

"very helpful" by (100%):

  1. mightymuffin
  2. pridham123
  3. flickpugh

and 56 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.



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