This review is of Curry's Electrical Store, Unit 3, Harlech Retail Park, Cardiff Road, Newport. (Branch Number 2230)
About Curry's --------------------- Curry's is a large retailer, which offers a good selection of electrical and household appliances to the public. They regularly have discount and sales in store. They also offer and online shopping facility, plus the option to check stock and reserve items for in store collection. The online shopping facility does offer a deliver service however; there is a charge for this service.
As I relaxed down in the evening to watch my regular instalments of the soaps a week before Christmas, I had no idea what was coming soon. A Friday evening all to myself with partner out on his Christmas meal and children fast asleep, I relaxed back and began my regular evening entertainment. As it approached half way through Eastenders though things started to look bad as the colour on my TV suddenly went dark. At first, I hoped it was the channel and not the TV, but this hope was short lived as I grabbed the remote. The sound was not affected so I did manage to listen to the end of my soaps, but soon after that, there was a large popping sound and the TV went rapidly into retirement.
Time to do an online search for a suitable replacement, which led me to the Curry's website. I noticed there was about three different TV's I liked, but decided it would be quicker to go to the store and buy one to take home rather than order online and await delivery. The next morning, off we set to our local Curry's store to buy a new TV, although I was totally dreading the experience, as it was so close to Christmas.
My local Curry's store is situated in the same retail park in Newport as Hobbycraft and Tesco Extra and shares the same car parking facilities, so as you can imagine, one week before Christmas and parking the car was a nightmare. Finally, after driving around aimlessly for ten minutes, we found a space and pulled in immediately. Having to share a car parking facility with Tesco make it very hard to know who is responsible for the quality control of the car park, but in favour of Curry's I will say that there were no trolleys left sprawled everywhere from there store, only from Tesco's and Hobbycraft. Little did I know though that the reason for this was that the store no longer has any trolleys for customers? According to the staff on the helpdesk, they were all taken away and never returned.
This Curry's store does offer three spaces outside the shop for disabled parking; however, one week before Christmas and Tesco customers parking everywhere makes it impossible to use the facilities. This Curry's store also offers late night shopping facilities should you require it.
The Store. ------------------- When you enter the store, aisles of large shelving displays of small electrical appliances greet you. At the front of the store, to your left are the only two store checkouts, although there was not a member of staff on the checkouts when we arrived. Again at the front of the store, but this time to your right was the customer service desk, which was staffed by two members of staff when we arrived. Although the store has narrow walkways between the shelving displays to allow the customers to browse the appliances, they also had a large walkway, which went in a circle all around the store allowing you easy access to the PC department, Sound and Vision section and the large kitchen appliances section. The PC section is situated on the right hand side of the store just past the customer services department and then to the rear of the store was the sound and vision department.
Off we went to the Vision centre, and on arrival, we noticed that the only staff member in this section was busy with a customer. We decided to browse through the numerous TV displays whilst we waited for the staff member to become available. In addition, whilst we were waiting I did notice that the large Kitchen appliance section was also at the rear of the store but on the left hand side as you enter. Browsing through the many TV's on display can take quite a while, as there are so many, but eventually we narrowed down our selection to three and just in time as we noticed that the staff member had now become free.
Great we thought so off we trotted to ask for assistance, only to be greeted by the member of staff announcing he was going on his break and there would be somebody here to help us in a minute. Fair enough all staff are entitled to a break, this I have no disagreement with, but I do have a disagreement with the approach of this staff member. Patiently we waited and waited, but still no member of staff. After about ten minutes, my partner decided to ask a member of staff not to far away for assistance and he called for somebody to assist us in the Vision department over the store microphone. During the waiting, we did notice another five members of staff scattered through the store looking at shelves, but not actually assisting customers. Another five minutes went passed and several more members of staff came passed us and went to aid the other staff looking at the shelves. Still nobody came to the sound and vision department.
We were starting to get a little impatient by this point as there was now ten members of staff scattered through the store and yet no one of them with a customer. I am not an impatient person normally and could understand if the staff were busy, but there was only two other customers in the whole store and they were only looking around, not requiring assistance. Eventually my partner went to ask for help again and yet again, a call came over the microphone for help in the sound and vision section.
By now, my back was in agony and I was getting very annoyed when eventually who should appear but the staff member from the sound and vision department returning from his break. At last, some help with our purchase arrived and we showed the staff which TV we wanted to purchase. He disappeared to check if it was in stock and would you believe it, it was out of stock. We showed him our second choice and surprise, surprise, out of stock as well. Unable to believe our luck we showed him the last selection and guess what? Out of stock. I gave up at this point and decided to go and see what was available in Tesco next door.
I would like to say on a positive of this store though, that it was extremely well lit with spacious aisles, it was clean and tidy in appearance, the store shelves were full, even if the stock room was not, so full marks to Curry's for that.
I did buy a TV that day from Tesco with no messing and no fuss, but I wont be shopping at Curry's again as I don't think they actually have any stock available for sale that day in there stores.
All in all I do feel that Curry's do need to take a good look at there staffing issues as well as there stock issues as I would say this was a very stressful and uneventful shopping experience I had at there store. Thumbs down from welshwickedone to Curry's on there customer friendliness.
After leaving the store, we worked out that there were 13 staff members throughout the store, three customers that included us, no staff on the checkouts and limited stock available. Hardly good for a high street electrical retail that is supposed to pride itself in price, quality and availability.
Having done some time in an other electrical retailers beginning with 'C' at the end of 2005 as I switched jobs I must admit that the customer service doesn't surprise me. At Christmas they get a lot of staff in purely for the festive period and these staff usually end up being thrown in at the deep end with no idea what to expect, with very minimal training. Also, just because a staffer is on their own doesn't always mean that they're not serving someone. If they're looking at shelves, 9/10 times they're looking for the product code so they can check the stock level for a customer. Finally some staff are only 'allowed' to patrol certain aisles (for instance someone who's strength is washing machines can be next to useless with PCs - this is usually the temps over xmas). However, a staffer saying they were off on a break when you asked to be served is out of order and shouldn't have happened.