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New "doos" for Darrell
Member Name: upsykimsy
Date: 24/04/09, updated on 24/04/09 (80 review reads)
Advantages: Friendly, polite, not too pushy
Disadvantages: Can be daunting for people who can't say no to up-sales. Enter with iron will
I was brought up in Clarks shoes, so when the time came for my sons first proper shoes, I decided to head to Clarks.
The first store we used was the one in Merry Hill. The store in question was aimed solely at children, and was very spacious, and set out with children in mind. After taking a ticket, we waited about two minutes before an employee headed over with the measuring equipment. The member of staff was very engaging, and chatted to my son as she measured his feet. Normally, my son hates being measured for anything, so she definitely helped as he seemed very relaxed.
After having his feet measured, and discussing whether he was crawling, cruising or walking, she brought out three pairs of "cruising" shoes. Unfortunately, the range for little boys doesn't seem as varied or attractive as that for little girls, but we managed to agree on a nice suede-looking pair. The employee took a photo for his "first shoes" album, and took us over to the till.
At the till, we were given a first shoes information pack, explaining why regular checks were needed, the photo, and a record card. The shoes we bought were £20, and we were offered the chance to buy some suede cleaner. We passed on this opportunity as we already had some at home. Altogether we spent about 15 minutes in the shop.
We took another trip back to Clarks (this time in the Bullring) last week. As we were in a different shop, I was worried that the staff may not be as friendly as the other store. Unfortunately, the children's department was based upstairs and the lift was very small. Upstairs, the department was spacious, and easy to navigate with a pushchair. Almost as soon as I collected a ticket, a friendly store assistant greeted us. Again, he was very friendly, and seemed interested in making my son feel at ease. He held a conversation with my son (to the extent you can with a 15 month old), and asked me general question about foot health, how his current shoes were fitting, what stage of development he was at. He then measured my sons feet and brought out three pairs of shoes suitable for my son. It seemed to be my son who decided this time, heading straight for a navy pair in one of the boxes, and duly handing it to me. After trying them on, my son seemed to be impressed pointing at his "doos" (as he calls them). At the till, we were offered a navy shoe cleaner, and informed that bags were currently half price with any shoe purchase. I decided to steer clear of the bags for the time being, but this time took the cleaner. The sale came to just over £25 altogether, and the trip took about 10 minutes this time.
All in all, I've found Clarks to be great value, and the staff to be both friendly and helpful. Some shops seem pushy when it comes to buying extras, but Clarks seem to have it just right, by informing you of extra products, but not pushing the up-sells onto you. The shoes may seem pricey compared to other shops, but I feel that something as important as your child's feet is well worth paying the extra for.
The shoes seem to last well, although as with most toddlers, my sons feet grow very quickly. So at the moment, he's going about eight weeks in a pair. The suede ones seemed to get slightly discoloured if Darrell was wearing them with dark jeans, although this could be more to do with the dye from the jeans than the shoes themselves. They've managed to withstand a toddler's clumsy cruising steps, and my son tripping over his own feet when he thinks he can walk faster than he actually can.
Summary: A lovely traditional shoe shop. The way shoes should be sold.