I ordered a GPS system online (3-5 day delivery) and recieved my confirmation email. Nine days later no delivery and no contact from Blacks. I contacted them and recieved an email to say that my order had been cancelled as they no longer had this item in stock. I checked online and to my surprise it appears that the same GPS which I ordered (with the name slightly changed) is still available at a higher price! I will never shop here again.
I am a very recent convert to Blacks and have to say that now I have discovered this marvellous shop I am not sure how I ever coped beforehand! I imagine with the current vogue on camping holidays they are probably one of few retailers on the high street to be coping ok with the recession which is definitely a good thing.
My local branch of Blacks is in Telford and it is situated on the Forge Retail park which is very handy as the parking is free and plentiful right outside whereas the nearby Town Centre charges for parking.
I had always assumed for some reason that Blacks was a shop which sold tents and hiking gear and not much else. How wrong I was! I actually went in for the first time looking for a sleeping bag for a camping trip and was so bowled over by the amount of things they had on sale (and actually ON SALE) that I spent an hour and a half wandering around, trying things on and trying to talk myself out of spending a fortune.
Needless to say I go back whenever they either have a sale on or I am feeling like I need a bit of cheering up.
So what makes it so good?
Well - if, like me you are a fan of surf or boardwear, by which I mean labels like Animal, Rip Curl, Roxy and O'Neill then this place is like manna from heaven. Even more so if, also like me, you are not a stick thin size zero. If you fit into the above two categories you will be aware that it is very difficult to find clothes from these labels in anything over a size 10 and that usually they can only be found on ebay where you have no idea whether it will actually fit or not.
This is not helped by the strange sizing of some of these labels, for instance Roxy items are sized 1-5 which is meant to roughly equate to 8-16 but rarely actually seems to.
So when I wandered innocently into Blacks, expecting tents and sleeping bags and torches which can be strapped around your head and the like....I was rendered speechless to find a massive clothing section for women (and also one for men and a kidswear section) with huge stands from all my favourite labels.
They stock all the above mentioned surf labels plus the high end walking, hiking and sailing ranges such as Berghaus, The North Face and Peter Storm and have an impressive range and wide variety of sizes for each one. My local store has a very relaxed changing room policy whereby you can just take in whatever you like and dont have to wait to be checked in and out by staff, in my opinion this makes me more inclined to try stuff on and I always find the staff are incredibly laid back and friendly.
Personally I love the fact that I can always find size 14 skirts and shorts from the Rozy and Animal ranges which are hardwearing but pretty at the same time. There hardly ever seems to be occasions where I cannot find the size I want in an item I like. I could literally spend all day in here.
Not just useful for clothes either - they have a great range of footwear, from walking and hiking boots down to flip flops and sandals in all shapes, sizes and colours as well as bags, accessories and luggage from a wide variety of quality and trendy makes.
On top of all this they are great if you actually are going camping and need spare tent pegs, torches, cooking equipment or pretty much anything else you can think of camping related!
The sales here always seem pretty good with many items half price or less, its well worth checking out if you are looking for holiday clothes, especially at this time of year.
All in all this is a fantastic and I think much overlooked shop which sells a great range of clothes as well as an impressive array of camping and outdoors equipment, if you havent been in your local store yet then I highly recommend you check it out!
I am very happy to say that long gone are the days when I would be bidding against 10 other people for a decent pair of summer shorts which probably wont fit!
Recently I have been upgrading some of my hiking gear and some of the things that I needed have come from a visit to my local Blacks store which is located on a nearby retail park although they also have stores on the high street as well in some towns.
Blacks specialise in camping and hiking equipment and they have a wide range to choose from, you do have to be careful when it comes to price and they can be a bit expensive and do tend to sell some of the designer brandsso it pays to shop around however when it came to buying a new 25 litre day rucksack for single day hiking trips I found that they had a pretty good range and all of the bags were reasonably priced however their own brand items are not alwys the cheapest and I opted for a Karrimor bag in the end as it had a soft backing meaning it would fold down into a rucksack when not needed.
They havea good choice in clothing however I tend to use Cotswalds for that as they have a more speciaised selection, theye are good for accessories though and I got a great deal on a rucksack liner which is very robust and cheap.
The stores are generally well set out and not over loaded with gear, it is pretty easy to find what you want without too much difficulty however the staff do look on the young side so if you need advice I would be tempted to go to a local specialist shop for that.
Blacks are the UK's largest chain of shops that specialise in supplying equipment for the outdoor enthusiast. With 104 stores distributed throughout Britain their shops are a familiar sight on the High Streets of our cities.
There is a Black's located in the centre of Sheffield where I live and another larger store at the Meadowhall Shopping Complex. I am a frequent visitor to them both.
These days the stores are officially known as Blacks - The Outdoor Experts. They are a division of the Blacks Leisure Group. This group is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in addition to Blacks, it also includes other well known stores including Millets, O'Neill, Freespirit and Mambo.
The history of the company begins in Greenock, Scotland when Thomas Black set up a sail making company. He soon enjoyed a relatively prosperous living as shipbuilding was a prosperous business at that time but the arrival of steam ships was just around the corner.
Around 1900 Thomas's son, Thomas Junior came up with the idea of using their stockpiles of canvas to make tents. In 1905 Thomas Junior took charge of the company. This new line of business went from strength whilst the sail making side of the business depleted and by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the sail making side of the company had ceased.
During the First World War the company benefited by winning contracts to supply hospital marquees, bell tents and ambulance covers.
Today, Blacks is one of the High Street's most well known names, offering many different products for the outdoors. Their products include clothing, camping equipment and accessories. Within the clothing products there is an extensive kid's gear section. Black's also specialise in more specialised equipment including skiing and surfing products.
All of the products that are sold are of good quality. Brand names include Berghaus, The North Face, Salomon and Karrimor.
The layout of the stores depends largely on their size. The two stores that I visit most frequently are each at the opposite end of the size spectrum. The Sheffield City Centre branch is very small and compact. Whilst the Meadowhall Store is very large and spacious.
The City centre store has plenty of clothing and things like travel guides and maps but if you are wanting to buy a tent you are certainly better off going to one of the larger stores like the one at Meadowhall.
The smaller shops still sell tents but due to lack of space these are not on display so you have to look at them in a book. The staff will however be happy to get any of the larger items from out of the back for you to inspect.
On my most recent visit to Blacks I purchased an ordnance survey map which was actually 50p cheaper than those on sale in both W H Smiths and Waterstones.
On a previous visit I bought a Pedometer but when I got home it did not work. When I returned it there was no quibble regarding exchanging it and I was offered my money back, but I did choose a replacement which was checked in the shop before I bought it.
I always like the atmosphere of Blacks shops and it may sound strange but I also like the smell, which is hard to describe but reminds me of a faint odour of mothballs. All of the stores that I have been in look very modern and are carpeted throughout. I have also always found the staff to be very helpful and polite.
Blacks also supports some of the UK's most well-known outdoor organisations, including the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which Blacks are the official kit supplier, they also support the Outward Bound Trust, the Lake District National Park Authority and the Council for National Parks.
Steve Martini was recommended to me as an author who wrote legal thrillers to rival John Grisham. I love Grisham’s work so I was immediately interested and ordered “The Judge”. Martini used to be a trial attorney so he clearly knows the legal system. Similar to John Grisham and Brad Meltzer he is writing about a topic that he has a wealth of knowledge in and this comes across in the novel. As the name suggests the defendant in this case is a Judge. The man in question is Armando Acosta, a Hispanic judge who was conducting an enquiry into corruption in the Police Force. Acosta is charged with solicitation, a charge he vehemently denies, claiming that the Police have framed him to get back at him for the corruption case. Acosta is a high profile judge and the charge makes all the newspapers which brings in the possibility of disbarment. Things go from bad to worse when the prostitutes body is discovered in a trash container. Acosta is immediately under suspicion and a note on the girl’s calendar suggesting a meeting that day with the Judge does little to help his case. Martini balances the story well. He reveals the good and bad side of Acosta so there is no feeling of sympathy towards him. This means that the reader isn’t favouring one verdict or the other it is just the story that is important. I originally found the book a little difficult to get into. It is very heavy on dialogue and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere for the first 100 or so pages. I actually considered stopping reading the book at this point but I decided to give it another 50 or so pages and I am glad I did. The story really picked up and I found I had read almost all of the rest of the book in my next sitting. There is not a huge amount of characters in the book and Martini gives them all distinctive names so it is very easy to keep track of them all. The book is also full of similies which are someti
mes humorous but definitely add a lot to the story. The thing I like most about the book is that there are sufficient clues for the reader to have a good guess at the outcome, I got one tiny part of it right so there are sufficient other possibilities to keep you guessing. The main character Paul Madriani features in some of Martini’s other books so it will be interesting to see how his character develops. Unfortunately a lot of the book is a little too far-fetched in my opinion. I can’t really go into details for fear of giving away the plot. There are just too many things happening that surely wouldn’t happen in real life as opposed to being far-fetched in any other way e.g. supernatural. I always wonder when I finish a book if it would make a good film. In this case I think it probably would, as although it is dialogue intensive there are a few action scenes that would come across well; it is a film I would like to see. Whilst the inevitable comparisons with Grisham will be drawn (a legal thriller with a two word title, the first of which is The!) the writing styles are totally different. People will have there own preferences but it is still Grisham for me. “The Judge” by Steven Martini Format: Paperback (501 pages) ISBN: 0-515-11964-4 Published: Jove Fiction
Having been both a loyal customer of Blacks and a member of staff, I can confidently say that it is the best place to buy all outdoor gear. Blacks is an outdoor clothes shop selling items such as rucksacks, waterproof jackets, fleeces, boots, tents, sleeping bags, camping accessories and lightweight clothing. The stores are well presented and modern, with all stock laid out in a methodical and easy-to-find way. All of the brands sold are of the highest quality, so you know that when you shop in Blacks it will be worth every penny. The way in which Blacks stands out above other outdoor shops is the quality of service. The staff are well trained (every week we had a half hour training session on new products) and friendly, and have personal experience of outdoor activities, and will give an honest opinion. Also, if a particular item is not in stock, they will try their hardest to find it in other stores for you. All of the items that I have bought from Blacks have been excellent and suited me perfectly, making me want to return again and again. The only disadvantages are that the business of the shop tends to vary during the day, so there are times when it is empty and times when it is packed. This means that sometimes when it is busy there are not enough staff to go around and it may be necessary to wait a while for service. Also, only a minor problem, some stores do not have cheque printing facilities, so that the method for accepting cheques is rather old-fashioned. In terms of a career working in Blacks, I thoroughly enjoyed the time that I worked there, and I hope to return after I have done my A-Levels. The pay was superb, all the staff were lovely and I got 30% discount in Millets and Free Spirit as well as Blacks. Pay them a visit today!!!
When Judge Acosta is caught with a hooker, few are sympathetic. It seems to be a setup, though, and when the girl is brutally killed and Acosta charged, defence lawyer Madriani begins the most complex murder trial of his career, uncovering ugly lies, deceit and corruption.