This report is a little late, political and personal events getting in the way, but I went to two very different evening shopping events on Thursday 29th April in Leeds city centre.
The first was a Ladies’ Shopping Event at Paper Scissor Stone, as previously mentioned on this blog. Discounts on various brands, free sushi and champagne (I’m teetotal, but was thirsty so even I had some) and the private, RSVP only nature of this event appealed. The shop is attractively laid out, and so is the merchandise. Pictures tell the story far better than I ever could…
Note in the middle there those grey chinos I still <3 so much.
I took advantage of the generous discounts available to nab myself a Something Else skirt for summer.
Service came with a smile, and a fabulous Paper Scissor Stone tote bag designed by Tom Pratt.
I also enjoyed the sushi from Leeds’ very own urban farmshop-style deli, Sesame. Their vegetables come straight from RK Harris in Headingley (in my experience, always reliable, and brilliant prices) and fish from Harrogate-based seafood superstars Ramus Seafood Emporium, site of much drooling when I was a nipper and lived in the town. I have never tasted fresher or tastier tuna maki. Look out for a future feature on them, I want to go and try their entire range…
A contrasting experience came at my next stop, Urban Outfitters. They were also offering free drinks, not that I was able to obtain one, and goodie bags with every purchase. Unfortunately, they were victims of their own success. While I coveted madly a pair of brown boots and a small leather satchel, and was all set to purchase some very cute little ankle socks even on my limited budget, I arrived around halfway through the three hour event and the entire shop was essentially one giant queue. I browsed, with difficulty, then waited for 45 minutes in the ill-managed line, which spanned every department on both floors and the stairs, and then I gave up. It was sweet to see a girl reading among the chaos, and fun free manicures being provided.
Less sweet was UO’s attitude – when I logged on to the Facebook event page later that evening, some disappointed customers had made polite but upset comments on the event’s wall regarding the length of queues and running out of goodie bags. By the following morning, they had received messages from UO asking them to remove their comments (“We hope you appreciate that it was an extremely successful and busy event and in these situations it is difficult to fulfil all expectations of all customers who attend…We would ask that you remove your comments from the Facebook event site as they are detrimental to our company”) and offering little in the way of good will or incentive to shop there again. UO obviously clocked that they could remove the comments themselves, as they were gone by that evening, including those made by people who say they did not do as UO asked. Perhaps in future they should make these events invitation-only, or at least employ stewards to manage the queues and expectations, and offer some sort of discount for those who turn up and queue but ultimately miss out. At the very least, not issue “screw you” messages to customers keen enough on their shop to sign up to its fan page and queue at out of hours events, and never again attempt to control legitimate discourse about their company.