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A BIG DOSE OF RETAIL THERAPY UNDER ONE ROOF
W is for WILKINSON and WOOLWORTHS
I miss Woolworths! I, like many of my generation, grew up with many trips to Woolworths. I wouldn't say it was the perfect store but I have handed over many pounds in the now demised store over the years as both a child and as a parent. When my children were young Woolworths was the ideal place to purchase pocket money toys, pick and mix sweets, presents for friends' birthday parties and a last minute gift for anyone of any age, really. I also made some large purchases here in the way of outdoor toys. The reason I'm speaking of Woolworths? Well, people seem to forever be comparing Wilkinson with Woolworths, and this set me thinking which do I prefer and why? I thought about the differences of both stores and although I can see the similarities, and, in fact, my nearest Wilkinson store is housed in the building which used to belong to Woolworth (nad before that C & A- what does this say about the British high street?) and so it is natural, I suppose, that a comparison is made. But, I feel that in terms of a store on the high street, Woolworths, for my shopping needs was better than Wilkinson, and I still miss seeing good old Woolies on the high street. Woolworths now only trades online and in terms of toys I think both in store and online, Woolies did offer much more than Wilko but, when it comes to household then for me Wilko comes up trumps.
I don't think Wilkinsons does fill the gap in my high street although I do find it is a benefit that it's there.
I'm also pretty certain that most children preferred being dragged around Woolworths to Wilkinson's any day. But, saying this, I do love a wander around a Wilkinson store and admit to spending a good few bob in there.
It seems to me that there are many Wilkinson stores located around the United Kingdom.
I shop mostly in the Romford (Essex) store rather than the Ilford (Essex) store as I find the Romford shop is on one level making it easier to shop without having to use an escalator or lift, and the car park access is very easy. I also, although, this could just be me, but I find the staff to be just that extra bit more helpful and knowledgeable about their stock than
Pictures of Wilkinson (Shop)
in Ilford. However, for some, they may prefer Ilford owing to it having a small cafeteria and toilets (unfair though, I think that this is only for customers of the cafeteria and not the store as a whole. The toilets are locked when the cafeteria is closed. This annoys me as if they have the facility then it should be available to all customers. If I had young children with me whilst shopping here then I would ask to use thee toilets and certainly make a fuss if they were refused. I will say though that the last time I sneaked into the ladies toilet it wasn't as clean as it should have been, in my opinion. I have also shopped in Wilkinsons store in Canterbury, Kent as my son was a student there for three years and during our jaunts around the shops we would often pop into Wilko with him for his and his girlfriend's student buys. Much stationery and household equipment was bought in here.
The Wilkinson website has a store locatoer which shows opening times of their stores. This is useful as opening times vary with different stores. For instance the Ilford branch is open from eleven a.m. until five p.m. on Sundays compared with Romford which is open from ten a.m. until four p.m. on Sunday. The Ilford branch also stays open until seven at night with two late night shopping days (Wednesday and Friday ) when the store is open from 8.30 until 8.00 p.m.)
By telephone: Tel: 08456 08 08 07
I can only really speak of the Ilford and Romford branches, being a frequent shopper at these stores, and I would say that they are accessible, especially the Romford store, being on one level. Both stores are part of an indoor shopping mall and are served by escalators and lifts. I would think that the layout of the Romford store is the better choice in the case of manoeuvring a wheelchair around in terms of a fairly spacious layout and also the checkout system is of an easier and more reachable design.
I may just be fortunate with my two nearest stores in that I haven't had to wait long to be served. Sometimes in the Ilford store, one long queue can be seen and can look daunting but customers are quickly 'channelled' and 'buzzed' and sent to the next available till point as it becomes available. Although the queue can be long it usually moves quickly.
In the Romford store there are individual queues for till points as is usual in food supermarkets and, again, I haven't been kept waiting for very long. If the queues did take a long time to go down then I would't shop here often as I do because I avoid queues wherever possible.
There are various options, one being standard delivery to your home which, according to the website, takes three days and costs £4.95.
Large items can be delivered within seven days at a cost of £9.95.
Saturday delivery is available. Home delivery only items may take longer to be delivered (three to twenty-eight days).
It's a long time since I have ordered anything form Wilkinson that required using their delivery service so I can't honestly comment as to whether this is a good service or not and so can only give details as to what seems to be a food service.
WHAT'S ON THE SHELF?
Wilkinson's sell a good range of house and furniture such as: beds, some items of furniture, kitchenware and dining, party ware, bathroom including cabinets, toilet brushes and towels and bath mats, toy although more as a seasonal item in store, stationery, electrical items such as wiring, sockets, switches, lighting, paint and many DIY items, soft furnishings, several food items (although I don't often shop for this type of thing in Wilko for some reason, probably because I don't like food shopping much and would rather buy for the home), garden including outdoor furniture as well as plants, tubs and a whole lot more, small household appliances such as kettles, toasters, irons and online larger appliances such as washing machines can be found, pet items such as hutches, cages, dog and cat beds to collars, leads and pet food can all be purchased here (I don't purchase dog food from here as I choose good quality dog food such as James Wellbeloved which I haven't seen in Wilkinson's. I have bought dog shampoo and treats in here though).
EXAMPLES OF MY PURCHASES
If I look around my home I realise just how much I have purchased from Wilkinson. I probably spend a few hours per month in here and, although I only usually go in for one or two specific buys, it isn't often that I leave without at least one basketful of goodies. Thinking about my purchases has made me realise that I have bought lots of bathroom items from here but then I am always looking for bathroom solutions in a room with too much condensation.
Recent purchases I have made have been:
Red glass vase priced at £7.50
Double fitted box pleat valance sheet in a teal colour for £12. I was pleased with this as for the price I think the quality was good and better than similar priced items from other cheap/bargain type stores.
Bathroom cabinet (two door white) at £16.00
Corner bathroom shelf unit (white 3 Tier ) for 7.20
Toothbrush cup/tumbler for fifty pence.
Artificial flowers. I mainly buy these to arrange in baskets which are placed on my parent's grave so that it always looks tended. As artificial flowers facing the elements don't look their best for very long I am often buying these. I usually pay around two to three pounds for a bunch or posy. I feel these are of a better quality than most stocked in pound stores.
Smoke Detector Alarm (Ei Electronics Smoke Alarm) at £4.38
I have also purchased numerous toiletries and household products such as bleach, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and the list goes on...but I only buy if there's a good offer or I go to a Pound type shop instead. There are usually good offers in Wilkinson but I am careful not to overspend on both toiletries and household cleaners.
The more I think about past purchases from Wilkinson, the more that come to mind so I think suffice to say I have bought items from here for every room in the house, as well as several for the garden.
I think with Wilkinsons it really is a case of you get what you pay for. I think most items are reasonably priced and are adequate for that price. I always have a good look at items before I buy and really have been happy with most items that I've bought and at worst, content. I would honestly say that I believe most items stocked are of the quality I expect. If I want a garden chair that will last for years then I would probably purchase elsewhere but, if I'm happy to pay less whilst knowing that the item probably won't last so long yet will provide a cheap and decent garden improvement then, as often happens, I will choose to but from Wilko.
As I have said, I still miss Woolworths but do appreciate having Wilkinson stores to shop in. I mainly like Wilkinson stores because of the variety of items stored under its roofs. I find the quality is reasonable, the choice good and the stores make a pleasant and interesting hour or two of shopping.
Summary: I particularly enjoy shopping for the home in this store