Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Back to school panic

I don’t do panic.

Even when my wife lay struggling for life panic was not a state of emotion I moved into.

I don’t like it.

It leads to rash and incorrect decisions.

I really don’t see the benefit of panic.

Then again – as well as irritating - it does amuse me when parents panic over things. Tiny things. Things that really don’t matter.

Like school uniform.

I knew I needed to supplement my child’s school wardrobe before he returns there this week. But it was never near the top of my priorities, as I knew we’d survive if I didn’t, that the uniform shop would be like a cold war Russian not-so supermarket bakery aisle, and that it's a mundane interruption to our summer fun.

Plus, I am spawny. To such an extent I rock up to the uniform shop yesterday, block the masses in with my car, wander over to our school’s particular section, a part of the shop that looked like it had been very recently ram-raided, but yet I find exactly the number of items and in the right size that I wanted.

Some of the parents were properly vexed. Shouting at under pressure staff that had inevitably got orders wrong, or supplied faulty uniform.

My smug smirking probably didn’t help. I'm not sure it ever does.

Well not them anyway.

Then earlier today we were treated by the kind folks at Clarks to some new school shoes.

Instead of their reliable – but sometimes lengthy – take-a-number-and-wait-your-turn service, a timed appointment was booked with a fitting expert.

And they are experts, because however many times I’ve been shown to measure where my child’s toes are in his shoes, and how much room he has left in them, I can’t.

Okay, maybe I’m an idiot and they are simply proficient at shoe fitting, but I’m sticking with ‘they iz experts’.

This service is something they have trialled this summer after trying to come up with ways of improving customer experience, and thus reducing the stress levels of parents buying shoes for a new school term.

The manager I spoke with, as well as being a nice and well-informed individual, said he expects the success of the pilot scheme to lead to it being rolled out further across all the Clarks stores eventually. Look out for it, and save yourselves some time. Time better spent mucking about with your kids.

I know Clarks paid for my boy’s school shoes (as they’ve done in the past too), but I’d recommend them, and their genuine service, over anyone else anyway. Perhaps there are independent shoe retailers that provide equally good service and range, but I haven’t found anyone else to rival them in the mainstream.

Plus they look like they shall be doing their bit to reducing back to school panic in the future.