Lifestyle

Everything I love around the home, garden & even the odd beauty products that tickles my fancy.

Ikea | Worst Customer Service?

My house is furnished by so much lovely Ikea furniture, our styles and budgets seem to match up, so it should be win/win right? Well frankly, no.

Their furniture is lovely, their store and customer service is not. Let’s talk about the store for a minute. My closest one is Ikea Warrington, iconic for a while as is was the only one in the North West. It’s on the Gemini Retail Park alongside a huge M&S and adjacent to your more standard Next, Boots & McDonalds.

It’s essentially a warehouse which makes for a VERY large, windowless shop. It’s on two levels starting with the showroom, leading eventually to the marketplace and till point. The store’s main issue for me is that once you are in, you can’t get out. No matter how hard you try, you have to walk through every single section to get to the till and exit. On Summer days they will prop open some doors which means you can bypass the odd section, but otherwise, every single time, you have to walk through everything. πŸ™ˆ

Now for those familiar with the Warrington store, yes, I know you can go straight to the marketplace bit but often I am not sure where things are OR I want to look at the furniture to make sure it’s ok. So I invariably HAVE TO GO ROUND THE WHOLE BLOODY THING.

Over the last few years I have had consistently poor customer service from Ikea and I wanted to share with you why my relationship with Ikea is firmly in the category: “It’s complicated“.

Incident Number 1

A few years ago, my parents bought a bed from Ikea, which included bed frame, headboard and mattress. It was all supposed to be delivered together, but sadly it was not. In fact there were 3 attempted deliveries, some that included the bed frame, but no slats, one that included just the mattress, and one that had other bits missing. My parents refused the three deliveries as they didn’t want to have to store odd bits of bed without having everything. After the 3rd failed delivery, my parents had had enough and decided to cancel the order. But Ikea refused to give them a refund over the phone and we decided to go into the store to complain.

Ikea said they couldn’t give my parents a refund until their 3rd party delivery partner confirmed they had the bed back at their warehouse. They said this might take 2 weeks. They wouldn’t even try to sort it out sooner, refuding to make a simple call which would have done just that. I have to admit I got frustrated, might have raised my voice and was more or less asked to leave. I’m not proud of that, but I honestly felt, then and now, that they were wrong. My dad hadn’t paid the 3rd party delivery company for the bed, he had paid Ikea who had failed to deliver a bed. Why should he have had to wait so long for his money back?

I wrote to complain about their service, but they rebuked my complaint as I had raised my voice to their staff. I am by nature, a very calm person and not a person that ever really shouts, so you can only imagine how frustrated I was!

Incident Number 2

In 2017 we bought some PAX wardrobes from Ikea and as they do many different designs and configurations, we visited the store several times to make sure we were happy. As always, we had to trail around the whole store each and every time. Yawn. We did eventually make our decision and almost skipped to Ikea one last time,Β  excited to make our purchase, I should have known better.

We schlepped around to the Wardrobey section and waited near the design area where there were usually Wardrobey peeps ready with their lukewarm advice. There was no-one there. So we waited for 5 minutes. Still no-one. I got fed up and M went to search. He couldn’t find anyone but eventually a young girl ambled towards me and proceeded to “assist” us in spending Β£1,200 on Ikea wardrobes. Her attitude and general manner was indifferent and if anything, irritated at our presence. We then asked about the fitting service, which was advertised on the Ikea website as 20% of the purchase price. Now this annoyed me, If I’m honest as I think this policy is very unfair. Why should how much I’ve paid for something impact on what it costs to fit? Anyway…as neither M or I can fit a thing, we had decided that we would just swallow the daft cost and get them to sort.

Turns out though, that Ikea DON’T fit, they employ a local company that we had to pay in cash on the day, which would be anything up to a week AFTER the wardrobe parts were delivered. The thing is, we had got gift cards to pay for our wardrobes and didn’t really WANT to pay CASH to a 3rd party company we didn’t know or have any choice of.

This whole transaction ended with the irritated Ikea peep asking, “So no fitting then?” with cocked head. “Noooo” I sighed. Awful.

Incident 3

Last WEEK, I went to Ikea with my best friend Karen to purchase a new Kitchen cabinet. I chose it before we went using the Ikea website and was expecting a short transaction. We arrived, found the kitcheny bit, checked out the cabinet, chose a colour, found an Ikea person to order from. So far so good. Cabinet ordering going well, until we reached the supplementary questions. “Do you need some feet?”, Me: “No I don’t think so”, Her: “Well you won’t be able to open the cupboard doors”.Β  I gave Karen a look which I think accurately expressed “Well why did you fecking ask me then?”

So I agreed to feet, which she told us were around the corner, against the back wall in a variety of colours. Ok ace, we found the feet, picked a white pair, paid, picked the cupboard up from the off-site warehouse, loaded the car came home. Happy days…. I should have known better.

When we got home, M spent a fair old while putting the cupboard together, only to find I had the wrong feet and they didn’t fit. It was Sunday evening, so the next afternoon I went back to Ikea, found the Kitcheny bit and approached the Ikea Kitcheny peeps. I started to explain about the feet mis-match when she interrupted me

“Did you want Capita feet?”
Me: “No, I just wanted feet to go with the Matcha cupboard that I bought.”
Her: ” Well we have to order them.” Silence……
Me: “What does that mean?”
Her: “We have to order them and you have to pick them up from the off-site warehouse. I visibly sighed.
Me: “That’s really frustrating as I came yesterday and she told me that the feet were on the back wall — she told me that several times”.
Her: “No we have to order them,Β  Would you like me to?”.
Me: “Yes”.
Her: “Ok that’s done for you, do you know where the offsite Warehouse is?”
Me (very pink in the face by this time) “YES BECAUSE I WENT THERE YESTERDAY!!”.

No apology, it was clearly their mistake, but she just didn’t seem that bothered.

So Ikea, I challenge you to do better. Things go wrong from time to time with customer based transactions, but good customer service is about how you deal with them that makes the real difference. How do you train your staff? What makes them so indifferent to customers and providing a good service? Maybe windows would help in your store? Who knows?

I have experienced all kinds of service from many many retailers in my life and Ikea ranks pretty low on the scale. So come on Ikea – do better, it’s not enough to make every home in the UK have a MALM set of drawers or aΒ  Billy bookcase, you need to make your customers feel valued. Because I certainly don’t.

Gill x

 

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Windermere Boutique Hotel | Review

I am a very lucky girl. I have a very lovely husband. The two things mixed together with my birthday saw us having a 2 night stay at the Windermere Boutique Hotel as a SURPRISE birthday present from M. I knew we were going away, but I didn’t know where and I was NOT disappointed.

The WBH is situated on a hill about half way between the small Lake District towns of Windermere and Bowness*, it’s a larger corner house converted into a hotel. We arrived on one of the hottest days of the year (so far) and we were even more pleased to receive an equally warm welcome. We we offered a glass of complimentary Prosecco (which, as non drinkers, we politely declined) but were then thrilled to be offered a selection of soft drinks and/or fruit juices, lovely. This is the kind of the thing I love about good hotels, you immediately feel “looked after” and you can almost just breathe that sigh of relaxation.

After a few minutes, we were taking up to our room and accompanied by a rather large fan, as without asking, they knew the room on a very hot day, would be very hot. Again, lovely. We stayed in Room 1 which is also known as the “Love Snug” and my first impression was definitely “Luxe”.

The room had a luxury feel as the bed was velvet, it has lots of tactile rugs and fabrics, along with a dressing table, separate eating area, SAUNA and of course a Spa Bath with TV. I mean – what more could we ask?

We couldn’t of course use the Sauna as it was just too hot, but we would love to go back in the Winter as this would be heaven. We did however, give the Spa bath a go (lush) and watching the TV in the bath was nothing short of frivolous. I LOVED it.

Throughout our 2 night stay, the staff were friendly, courteous, helpful and I really did feel like nothing was too much trouble. I even saw one of them take theΒ  breakfast order of other guests :

  • “Orange Juice – LOADS”
  • “3 x poached eggs on a single slice of brown bread” (very specific that one)

And then my favourite “I don’t want a full breakfast, just..” then he named each individual cooked breakfast item they offered, except toast” but added “but with fried bread”. The lady taking the order politelyΒ and didn’t even flinch at the fact that Fried Bread wasn’t actually on the menu.

Overall, we loved our stay, our room, the staff and the food. What more could a boutique hotel offer – oh yes – πŸ†“πŸ«βœ… DONE!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Windermere Boutique Hotel – DEFINITELY coming back

G x

*about a 10 minute walk to Bowness downhill and about 15 minute walk to Windermere uphill

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Frazzled by Ruby Wax | Review

On a warm Thursday night, M and I went to see the famed American comedian, loved by many, especially people my own age who first remember her in Girls on Top! (Go on, google it, I’ll wait).

ANYWAY, Ruby is the self-proclaimed poster girl for Mental Health, after Comic Relief asked to use a photo of her that subsequently ended up all over the Tube!

We booked to go and see her as due to me working for a Youth Charity, I have an interest in mental health and also I have always thought Ruby was an enigma. Tickets booked, off we go.

The event was at Pyramid & Parr Hall in Warrington and we parked on Golden Square Car Park. (Top Tip, GSCP is open nightly till midnight and is free from 4pm onwards on a Thursday!). We had fairly good seats near the front in the stalls.

The first half of Ruby’s show was her basically interviewing herself and talking to us a little about her own depression and then some thought about mindfulness. It was all very interesting and in case you are wondering if Ruby has ANY clue what she is talking about, she got a Masters not too long ago from Oxford in CBT and Mindfulness.

I found Ruby’s delivery a little chaotic and I sometimes wondered if she had just lost her “place” in the show sometimes. However, this got better as time went on and it has to be set, the whole thing was funny from start to finish. I won’t spoil it for you, but she tells a joke about Melania Trump that is the funniest thing I’ve heard this year!

via GIPHY

The second half is Q&A, which I have to be honest, isn’t my thing. When we went to Ant Middleton, people had filled in questions on cards on their way in and Ant (or Ant’s team) had chosen some for him to answer in the Q&A section. This made it entertaining and Ant could answer questions that had a theme. Ruby just took questions cold from the audience, it didn’t go well.

I felt that a couple of people who asked the questions just wanted to let Ruby know that they knew about mental health too. The people at Parr Hall weren’t very organised with the microphones, so every time a person was selected, it took a little too long to get the actual question. But the thing that made is awkward in the extreme was that one poor man stood up to share his own mental health struggles and without breaking the confidence of the room, they were pretty traumatic. Ruby tried to re-assure him, effectively asking him not to share more, but rather go and see her backstage after the show. However, the man was overwhelmed and it took Ruby several attempts to stop him further sharing some inappropriate and personal details with a few hundred audience members.

Then finally, the last “question” was someone who just wanted to ask Ruby to visit a local charity. 😳

But I did actually really enjoy Ruby’s show, a unique touch were the scented cards on everyone’s seat which we used in a section of practicing mindfulness. So glad we went, 7/10.

G x

 

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My No Faff PPI Pay out (Not click bait)

Occasionally Social Media can be used for good and occasionally social media does good. I think I might have found a little bit of good fortune, this time in Instagram. In the last 6 months or so I started to follow beauty blogger Caroline HironsΒ onΒ Instagram, mainly because her little rants are very funny and she is the first beauty blogger I have come across that is vaguely my age. Joy.

Anyway, around Christmas time, Caroline put a thing on her Insta Stories telling her followers that she had seen a way to claim for PPI which was not only reputable, but with minimal faff. She wasn’t paid to mention anything on her social media, she was just pleased that both her and her husband had received some compensation.

Now the whole PPI claim thing has been going on for years and I have avoided it like the plague, mainly because of the incessant phone calls and the fact that I could never find all the documentation you seemed to need to provide. I could never quite be bothered. So when Caroline said you only had to provide some basic details and everything would be done for you, I thought, well why not. EspeciallyΒ  as the link Caroline shared was for consumer experts WHICH.

The link took me to a form to fill in, which I did, one for each separate claim and each one needing my basic demographics, the type of account/loan and why I thought I had a PPI claim. That was it! My reason for each claim was that I didn’t understand the PPI (true story) and that I didn’t have more specific details. I filled in one for every lender or bank I had had dealings with as far as I could remember and left it at that. No account numbers (long forgotten), no exact details, no dates even. Sorted.

So if you were ever thinking of giving it a go, here is the link I used:

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-reclaim-mis-sold-ppi

If you can’t remember which companies you have had accounts with, then you can check your credit file free of charge easily too. Full disclosure, a couple of the companies, I filed complaints against said they couldn’t find anything and asked for more details, and I just didn’t send any. But one of the companies I claimed against, without any more information than I filled in with Which, have just sent me a substantial cheque for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance. A substantial amount that made me very glad I filled the form in and enough to make me want to share this simple tip with anyone that comes across my blog.

So good luck with your claim. This isn’t an affiliate link, but if you decide to give it a go, all I ask as a thank you, is that you follow me on Instagram. After all, this is where it all started.

G x

p.s. do let me know how you get on. x

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This is not a affiliate or sponsored post.

πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ these pancake recipes

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An 80th Celebration & A Musical Surprise

So on Saturday we travelled to a little town just outside Wrexham in North Wales to celebrate the 80th birthday of on of our lovely family friends. She’s had a tough couple of years with one thing and another and so to turn up to find her enjoying a lovely party with an Afternoon Tea theme was a joy.

What was most unexpected was the surprise performance that her daughters had booked for her and I have to say I was blown away! They were called A Handbag of Harmonies:

They were led by the wonderful Matt Baker and after their heart exploding rendition of Shine by Take That (Swipe left on the above Insta to hear)… I was just blown away. They were incredible and if you are looking for something different for your next event, and you just want to smile for 20 minutes… then look no further. Loved every single minute!

G x

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Do you Qualify as an Adult?

For 20 odd years my mum worked as a Home Help/Carer, which meant she spent a lot of time with older ladies. These women had lived through World War II and were as resourceful as you were ever would be likely to meet. I once went to a “do” at my local workingmens club with them all, (which isn’t as sexist as it sounds, it’s basically just a social club) and my skirt seam split. I stood up in a panic, asking my friends what I should do, but I needn’t have worried. No less than 3 of the ladies approached me with safety pins they had salvaged from their Mary Poppins-esk handbags.

I was astonished that on a Saturday night in 1992, women were randomly carrying around with them a gamut of things to remedy seemingly ANY situation. After a quick survey, I found that the 5 things that qualified adults had about their persons were:

  1. Paracetamol
  2. A Safety Pin(s)
  3. Tissues
  4. A pen
  5. Mints

So I was having a think about this today and it’s been 26 years since my skirt split and so I reckon in 2018, things have massively changed – or have they? I reckon first of all that there are WELL more than 5 things that are bag essentials now and I thought I would share with you my list:

Paracetamol
Phone (obviously)
Tissues
A pen
Headphones
Lip balm
A drink
Sweetener
Lactose free milk
IBS Medication

OK so clearly some of these are very specific to me like the milk and the IBS meds, but honestly I have carried around the rest of the things in my bag as total standard for YEARS! I mean look:

How times have changed. So my question is this, does my bag look like yours? What do you carry day-to-day? Leave me a comment, I’d be dead interested if you think I have left anything out?

G x

 

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Ok, last week, back to London

This week is going to be a big final week for me, as I go tripped the light fandango, back to London. Since October last year I have been working on a special project at work, a promotion actually with lots of responsibility and, if I am being honest, more money. However, the whole thing is coming to and end on Friday as my part in the project draws to a close.

So this week I am spending the day in Liverpool on Monday, then getting the train from Lime Street Station down to London, but I am actually, in the middle of everything, volunteering at another Prince’s Trust event called The Prince’s Trust Awards.


The awards have been running for a few years and was previously called Celebrate Success. It’s an awards ceremony that this year is being held at The London Palladium. It’s real fancy event, which is hosted by Ant & Dec, yes really, and it’s attended by The Prince’s Trust president, HRH The Prince of Wales. Like I said fancy.

This year though, I am doing something SOO exciting. as I am actually volunteering for The Prince’s Trust digital team and working the event. I have been a few times before as a guest, but I am really looking forward to being involved in the behind the scenes aspect. I have to say a huge sparkly thank you to lovely Jess A for the opportunity – what a cool thing to be offered.

I won’t be able to vlog on the day, but I am expecting it to be a fab day which really celebrates the amazing work the trust does and of course our amazing young people.

Speaking of which,Β  I am extra pleased as in my substantive role I looked after the Team Programme run in Chorley and I mentored the Team Leader to nominate a young man called Jack for our Breakthrough Award. He won the regional final in November in Liverpool and, would you believe it, he has only gone and own the national award. I am so pleased for him and I can’t wait to see him pick his award up and meet HRH!

So even after all that, I ‘ve a little more time in London then, by the end of the week, I will be done! How time flies. I’ve loved every minute of this secondment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been hard being away from homeΒ  at times, but it’s been so interesting and I am now a fully fledged Travelodge/Premier Inn connoisseur.

I wonder what on earth will come next? I guess you will just have to watch this space. How exciting.

G x

 

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