Thursday, 4 February 2016

Dear WHSmith

Dear W.H.Smiths,

I hope you don't mind me writing to you like this but we need to talk. 

Now before I go any further I don't want you to panic I'm not breaking up with you! I just think it's about time you and I have a little chat about our relationship. I want to let you know where I think it is you're going wrong and where I think you could improve, because if we don't communicate how else are you going to have a chance to put it right?
You see I'm not willing to give up on you just yet I think you and I could have a long future together but you've got to listen alright? No sulking, no rolling your eyes. Don't try to distract me with the half price chocolate at the till, that's one of the reasons we got here in the first place.

I think I first knew you were always going to be a part of my life when I was about 7. I used to visit your Chester branch every Friday afternoon with my Dad and little brother. We had been to McDonalds for our tea and would come straight to you afterwards. We were allowed to pick one book or magazine each whilst Dad went off to read the Boxing News. I used to go upstairs to the section that's now a Costa and spend ages picking my book, I would spread them all over the floor and a nice lady with a perm and glasses would always come over and help me. The reality was that she was ensuring I wasn't shoving one up my jumper or wiping snot inside the covers, but whatever her actual reason was for being there she never rushed me, she knew what she was talking about, would help me chose my next book and take me back down to my Dad (Again probably ensuring there was not going to be any snot wiping or book smuggling)
She made the whole experience a pleasure and I used to enjoy seeing her each week, I forget when I stopped seeing her now and that makes me a bit sad.

After a few years my trips to come see you became less and less, but I always remained fond of you, I still believed in you and would ask for vouchers for Christmas and my Birthdays.

The changes they happened gradually didn't they? One day I came in and your logo wasn't brown and orange anymore it was blue, the tills had been moved. You never warned me. Eventually you ripped out my favourite section and put in a Costa, you did this whilst I was away at University. I like to think you did that for me, to spare my feelings.Yes it was the little things that came between us, I didn't see it coming, didn't question it until it was too late.
Yes I'm not going to lie  did meet someone else, his names Amazon. I always feel guilty after I've used him, like I've been a bit cheap, well that's because Amazon is cheap but sometimes I have no choice. Hurrah For Gin? £3.99 on Amazon. You wanted £9.99! 
You know I always come back you though don't you? You pull on my heart strings.
One of my favourite things to do is still to come in and see you. I buy a book and sit in Costa (I soon forgave them ripping out my favourite section when I found out it was one of the easiest places to go with the pram and sip an Americano) I probably do it once a month now payday it's not enough I know but it's all I can give you at present because W.H.Smith this is where your going wrong, this is where you're making our relationship difficult

Where's the staff? Where did they go? 
There is usually one member of staff manning the tills downstair's, one hovering by the self service tills and then that's pretty much it for the entire store!
I'm going to be honest the self service till panics me. I'm shouted at to use it and hurried through if I'm so much as 5ft from the thing and still deciding on my purchase. Maybe that's the cunning plan?
There are never any staff upstairs either, not even in the actual 'Book' department, No nice lady's with perms and glasses to advise on book purchases. There is someone around trying to push the old KOBO though and they steadfastly avoids eye contact with anyone who should need help, with you know, buying actual books! I admire their skills actually, they never break even if I stand really close to them. Maybe they think I'm a bit weird? 

Chocolate at the tills  Sometimes I think I've stepped into Willy Wonka's choclolate factory, not W.H.Smith!

I'm going to be honest If I've managed to avoid eye contact/pretended I've not seen/blatantly ignored requests to use the self service tills, then I'm asked a hundred and one questions at the till. And confectionary is almost always involved! Do I want stamps? A bottle of water? Half price chcocolate Oranges and mini bags of Thornton's Chocolate? Jelly Beans?  No! I can probably get them cheaper in Tesco to be honest but I inevitably end up buying them, mainly because I've spent so long in the Queue that I'm starving.

Overpriced I hate to say it but I went to but the Divergent books for my little Sister (and when I say little Sister I mean me) and they were £7.99 each. The Works had all for £10 it was a no brainer. Yes sometimes I use The Works too, I'm a bit of a tart.

Vouchers There's too many vouchers I can't be arsed with them all, it's usually 20 per cent off something I've just bought anyway. I always take them as I feel I'm being rude if I don't .A loyalty card would be better, didn't you used to have one? What happened to that?

People selling things in front of the store I physically have to dodge them sometimes to get in, A.A (not the boozy one the car one) Make up, phone providers, there is no getting away from them they pounce as soon as I approach the entrance. I can't cope with the pressure of making up a lie as to why I don't want overpriced make up I've never heard of, it's very off putting.

So now you know how I feel where do we go from here?

I want you to know I'll always be here for you, I'll continue to come in and see you, but that's just me W.H.Smth and my personal connection to you, I hate to say it but you need to consider other people as well, I'm sure other's feel the same way as I do. I don't want to lose you, or to see you disappear off the high street and leave another giant hole like Woolworth's and B.H.S and only see you when I'm googling nostalgic adverts on YouTube.

I've got faith in you W.H.Smith, don't let me down. If you don't want to change for me, then do it for yourself.

Love  Rachel x

p.s  I did once accidentally rip the back page of a Sweet Valley High book  Double Trouble, I wanted to see how it ended and our Tom jumped out and scared me so his fault really but It's always played on my mind. Sorry


  1. I hope they get to actually read it. You never know, they might actually do something about it, although I very much doubt it. Retailers nowadays are only interested in One thing, Profits and profits made with Least amount of Staff. This is most evident in the over use of automatic tills. They don't want staff talking to customers, that's just wasting time as far as they are concerned. Gone forever is that once lauded quality of Customer Relations! Customers just get in their way, don't We!