I live very close to a Screwfix, which is handy when I decide to work on my car or in the house, and find I am missing some important tool or other for the job.
Being close, it means that if I turn up and there is a long queue (usually around lunch time), I can go home and head back later.
Doing so means I walk in, browse their catalogue (which is very clearly laid out, I've never had difficulty finding what I need), place my order, and within 5 minutes I'm walking out of there with what I wanted.
The selection of items is good. Most tools have premium and cheapy versions available, depending what you need from them. The guys in the store are generally nice too, with a friendly and professional service provided.
We have Virgin Media for our phone (never used) TV (never had a problem) an Broadband (50Mbps, almost perfect connection).
As I said, we've never used the phone (we just have it because we have to) so can't comment on that. The TV (most basic non-free selection) has worked flawlessly since installation a year ago, although it is frustrating that we miss out on some channels that are available for free on Freeview.
The Broadband is mostly very good, with only a few minor disconnections that have been resolved within an hour. Twice we have had longer disconnections, which have resulted in contacting customer services - and herein lies the problem.
Talking to VM's customer services is very difficult on every occasion. The stereotype of reading from a script has never seemed truer. Trying to explain the problem, and the steps I've taken to prove it's not my equipment failure falls on deaf ears, and I'm led through the usual dance of turning the router on and off, rebooting my pc, waiting while they diagnose the line and tell me it's fine, then looking out the window to see a Virgin van and some guys working on the local junction box, then being told "oh yes there's a general fault in your area, engineers are there, it will take 3 days to fix". To be fair, we've never been offline for more than a few hours, but it always seems to happen when there's a Steam sale and I'm gonna miss a bargain!
So all in all, the service we receive is very good, with limited downtime. The customer service provided on the phone however is not very good at all.
We've used Just-eat many times in the past when we lived in Watford. They had a great selection of various types of restaurant, and bar a couple of occasions the food turned up quickly and correctly.
A couple of times however, the food didn't turn up, and we were told on the phone "just wait, give it a bit longer" etc. After an hour we phoned, a bit more willing to complain, and were informed that our order hadn't been processed at all!! I think we received a £5 voucher as compensation for our empty tums.
The restaurants involved in the scheme don't seem to have much incentive to stay in it, as we were twice offered a percentage discount on our next order, if we made it direct to the restaurant.
Now that we live in Hemel Hempstead we haven't used Just-Eat, as the selection of restaurants on offer is quite poor - just 5 restaurants to choose from, 3 of those pizza places.
Dominos website is perfectly functional, easy to navigate, and well laid-out. From entering your postcode to find the closest store, to paying by credit card, we've never had any difficulty with the site.
The food is very good, but you can't escape that it is basically mass-produced fast food - the McDonald's of pizza if you will. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but there are independent pizza parlours (and a couple of branded ones) who make tastier pizza.
Still, you can't go wrong with a Dominos!
I've used Moonpig about 6 times in the past 3-4 years. Each time has been an emergency of sorts, such as a missed birthday or late purchase of a card.
The prices are high for a card compared to the already high prices on the high street, although the opportunity to customise the wording and names on the card is a nice touch.
I find the size and quality of their selection to be disappointing - the focus seems to be on lowest-common-denominator tat that people get excited by for a few seconds, and I've found it difficult to find anything a bit more interesting, or even truly funny and original.
Cards received from Moonpig have always been of a very high print quality, which is a definite plus.
I have used play.com for over 10 years (it was play247.com back then) and used to find them fantastic for finding rare or hard-to-find albums.
Their prices were also very good - CDs, DVDs and video games were all cheaper by at least 10% (often more) over high street prices.
For the last couple of years though I've seen a trend for their prices being the same as the high street, but you still have to wait 5 days for the items instead of grabbing them there and then. You can have next day delivery, but that's at a cost of another £5. What's worse is they advertise RRPs higher than the price they're selling at, making out you save 20% or whatever, when in reality they're selling at the standard price, same as everyone else.
They have added various departments lately, including clothing and sporting equipment. On the surface this is nice for anyone looking for that stuff, but in reality I believe they have lost their focus on what they were good at.
I found CultPens when searching specifically for Copic markers, to bulk up my admittedly thin collection. They were top (or close to top) of the search results, and having clicked through a view options their website appeared the most professional and well-laid-out.
My first order arrived the very next day, so I made another order over the Christmas weekend - which arrived on the second business day, so effectively also next day.
I'm very impressed with this company based on these two orders - their prices are fair and compare well to store prices, and their same-say dispatch and first class post add up to items arriving next day, making me a very happy artist.
I'll definitely be using CP again when I raise the funds for my next set of markers!
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