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Bluenose Girl

Shopping the London Way - How I Survive Shopping in London

Pedestrian day on Oxford StreetToo many people!

I am so thankful for internet shopping here in England.  Living in London can be exhasting, it’s busy, fast paced and there’s lots to do and see.  Shopping is just tiring on a whole other level, so totally draining and soul destroying (sorry if I’m a being a little dramatic).  The way I shop has changed a lot since I’ve been living in London.

Where I come from shopping is relatively painless, I used to even enjoy it! You hope in your car, you arrive at the store you want in 10 / 15 minutes, you get in find what you want, try it on, pay and get out.  Here in London, the shop is probably going to be crowded, there will be a line to try anything on, you will work up a sweat worthy of a spinning class  at the gym (I will never again complain about over air-conditioned shops in North American), and then there will be another longer line to pay for the items you want. After all of that you will have to fight your way out of the shop and back down the street to get home or to the next shop.

Oh and should you need help, good luck, customer service is near nonexistant in most shops here in London.  I can’t blame those working in the shops for not being more happy to help, if shopping in them is such a miserable experience I can’t imagine what working in one must be like.  It makes me shudder, and brings me back to my old days working at the Disney Store in charge of the “Plush Mountain” area on a Saturday. Which involved trying to keep the little 100 and 1 dalmatians (and I can tell you there were more like 1001 of them) and Lion Kings stuffed animals all lined up while little kids wanted to climb over it and play with them.  There was usually a point at about midway through I gave up and left it to be sorted out at closing time and concentrated on keeping the little ones from breaking any bones while trying to climb to the top to get to the daddy of all stuffed animals the hug stuffed Simba.

So I now do most of my shopping online.  It helps that I know what size I am in most of my favorite shops here now (though when in doubt I order 2 sizes), and which shops have free returns, or allow returns in shop.  Clothes are harder to shop online for than books, groceries and other household items because I’m a person who really likes to touch things and feel the fabric or the texture of something.

When stuff arrives that isn’t what I expected or doesn’t look as good on me as the models in the photos, a lot ends up getting returned. All in all I am happier to shop online when I can and avoid the crowds. I just know to expect a lot of it won’t be kept. This however can lead to trouble when it all looks great, it means I’ve spent twice as much as I probably expected!

The fact that the mail is so much faster in England also makes shopping online more fun, you order something and it arrives in about 3 days, 4 max.  Nothing like ordering something and having to wait 2 weeks for the joy of using or wearing what you covet. I am from the generation that likes instant gratification now.

If anyone has some online gems they would like to share let me know in the comments.

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