What is wrong with John Lewis?

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I have been aware of the growing disaffection with John Lewis in Nottingham by my colleague Tim Garratt, and that John Lyle has recently beaten them easily on price with his new favorite Dixons. Up until today however I have not suffered at their hands, in fact our experience of their staff has been nothing but excellent.

Today however it all went horribly wrong for their relationship with the Dare family! The wife and I were in town doing Christmas shopping – a hateful task at the best of times, but we were well organised and had a ‘hit list’ of shops and items. Top of the list was an Xbox 360 for Sam, we had researched on-line and were aware of the best price on a 4GB unit. A quick visit to Game and HMV confirmed the prices, we then decided to go to John Lewis and, if they had one, to get it.

The assistant was as usual very helpful (no problem there) – but it appears the system was not on his side – the conversation went something like this;

  • Do you have an Xbox 360 4GB in stock please?
  • I will check – no sorry, would you like us to take your name?
  • Yes please, does that secure one for us?
  • No, but it tells us you want one.
  • So we can give you our name and you will tell us when it comes in, but if someone else comes in they can buy it?
  • Yes, but that doesn’t happen often.

So the bottom line is we couldn’t order one and pay and be guaranteed it – John Lewis didn’t want my money obviously!

In the end I went to Game – it was £5 more but was in stock and they were very helpful and knowledgeable.

Sorry John Lewis, you went way down in my list of favoured shops today.


4 thoughts on “What is wrong with John Lewis?

    Customer Service, John Lewis said:
    December 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Mr Dare

    I do apologise that your enquiries with regards to the Xbox 360 were handled in an unsatisfactory way. With popular Christmas gift items, such as the Xbox 360, we can not guarantee supply volumes will meet customer demand before Christmas. By taking a concrete order from you we would be at risk of letting you down should our stock levels not be sufficient to meet a list of customer orders. An alternative option would have been to check other branches within the Partnership for stock, or JL.com. I’m disappointed neither of these avenues were explored, and so have passed on your comments to the manager of the Audio department at Nottingham so that lessons can be learned.
    I realise you have now purchased the item elsewhere, which I regret. Although I appreciate my reply may not allay your concerns, I hope I’ve been able to offer you an explanation.
    Jaime at the Customer Service team, Head Office

    Simon Dare responded:
    December 8, 2010 at 12:13 pm


    Thank you for your swift response to my comments. As I said in my blog this is the first time I have felt ‘let down’ by your organisation. However, I still believe your approach over high demand Xmas items is somewhat flawed, surely the risk of not getting the item before Xmas is mine to take – I should still be able to place an order – there were 3 weeks left until Xmas.


    […] It will also be interesting to see if your customer service is as good as John Lewis – when I blogged about an issue with them I was contacted the same day by their customer services department – […]

    […] have had my issues with John Lewis in the past – the ‘X-box ordering’ debacle being the most recent. They are in my opinion losing their way and do not live up to their […]

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