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Shopping at Primark is an experience. Whether it's a good or bad experience I'll leave it up to you to decide for yourselves, because some people may enjoy it, some may hate it. At my local Primark, in Birmingham City Centre, it's more like a jumble sale than a clothes store. At the weekend it's always packed with mums and screaming kids; the clothes are normally dumped on the floor, or at least hung up on racks but in no particular order; they have items on hangers stating the wrong size, and you have to queue for ages to get to the tills. However, despite how awful this sounds, I can't stop myself coming back.
You see, I'm willing to put up with all this, simply because it's so amazingly cheap! It's a dream come true for anyone who wants average, decent clothes and doesn't have a lot of money. What's the point of paying £50 for a pair of designer jeans when you can get some form Primark for £6? Yes, that's right, six pounds! Other similarly cheap items available are T-shirts for about £3, shirts for £4.50, ties for £2, coats for about £10 and suit jackets for £25. They also sell shoes, trainers and sports clothing, but I have never really looked closely at these. I don't really know too much about the women's and children's departments either, but I'm sure they are all equally good value.
However, if you don't like the sound of this, and you prefer your clothes to be better quality, then there's still a great reason to shop at Primark: underwear! I know loads of people who would never be caught buying proper clothes from Primark, but get all their underwear from here. Surely nobody buys designer pants, and there is nowhere that can rival Primark in this department. For men, you can buy boxers for about £2 each, packs of five pairs of socks for about £3 or something stupid like that, and pyjamas for about £8. In this section they also have well-priced slippers if that's your sort of thing.
This, sadly, is where the good points stop, and to make this a balanced review, I have to mention the faults with this store. Firstly, like I have already mentioned, the atmosphere in-store is dreadful. It's always too busy and too hot, messy, and understaffed. Probably all the staff work at the tills, because when I go there are normally about 8 tills open at a time, although this still doesn't remove the queues, which stretch around metal poles like at a theme park. There is practically nobody around the store, so if you want to be served while you shop, you may be disappointed. Also, in my local Primark, several cubicles in the fitting rooms often have no curtains across, so you have to wait for a while until one empties, since it is so busy.
Secondly, the style and quality of the clothes is not really that special. I know you wouldn't expect it to be as high standard considering the low prices, but I have to say that it has been known for my recently bought items to fade, or for me to find holes that I didn't notice in the store. The majority of the clothes in Primark is made by CS Active and Cedarwood State. They aren't very well known, and you can see why. Most things are pretty dull, and I hardly ever buy T-shirts from Primark since none ever catch my eye. The jeans and shirts are pretty good, and coats are fine, but T-shirts aren't. Also, some of the materials used are a bit naff, particularly in smart trousers, which are 100% polyester and feel completely horrible.
Finally, I have to mention that the sizing of clothing is quite amazingly bad. I'm a teenager, and when I was looking for shirts for school last week, I could find absolutely nothing that was remotely my size. I ended up buying shirts with a 16" collar, when I'm about 14", just because that was the smallest they do. It also didn't help that the sizes on the hanger were not the sizes of the clothes. This fooled me no end, and you have to search for the label on every garment just to find the size. Come to think about it, probably everything I have ever bought form Primark has been too big for me! Except the underwear, which like I keep saying, is excellent.
Despite the evident popularity of the shop, it feels like you're letting out a big secret when you tell someone you shop at Primark. I have lied to my friends on so many occasions lest they discover that a top was not designer branded. I think it's because Primark has this reputation of being a bit common, the sort of place where Vicky Pollard from Little Britain would buy her outfits. But if people think Primark must be common because it's cheap, that's usually a sign that they've never been in. All the people that have actually shopped there know differently.
If Primark want to get the cash from the trendy teenage consumers, they need to spend some money on advertising to re-invent the image of this unfashionable store, and disperse the bad reputation that comes hand in hand with the word Primark. They could also do with getting some better, more interesting designers than CS Active and Cedarwood State. But, to be honest, if they did that, it wouldn't feel like Primark any more would it?
love Primark - in fact that's where I'm off to this afternoon with my mum - she's looking for cushions and I know they sell some great value ones in there. Kitted out my kids from here in the summer for next to nothing. Belinda
gummybear2810 24.09.2005 14:41
Great review! I always try to go in late on a friday or first thing on a Sunday morning. Usually buy my holiday tops from there I mean for £2 it doesnt matter if you ruin them with sun lotion n stuff does it???
MissTopaz 19.09.2005 17:21
great review, I don't think there's one in my area! x