As many folks know, there is no love lost between me and DSG (“Dixons Store Group”). The inefficient stores, the 16 year-old school-leavers and disinterested sales assistants, the “Mastercare” warranty debacle, the staff who aren’t particularly knowledgeable and the poor stock control all contribute to horrendous experiences in Currys and PC World (I won’t touch Leeds Headrow PC World with a bargepole – but that’s another story). Jessops seems to stand out in competence though. At least, they do now.
I’ve had good experiences from Jessops branches over the past year: I bought the Canon G9 in Marlow’s branch and they were helpful and considerate. I chinwagged for an hour with the manager in the Wakefield store where I’ve not bought anything major for a year or two but he didn’t seem to mind. Then this past fortnight I have had exceptional service from the Headrow Leeds store.
So what happened in Leeds to warrant this outpouring of joyfulness? The EOS 5D Mk II I bought was faulty. Nothing major but definitely an annoyance – a hair looked to be trapped between the focusing grid and the lightbox: when I took the camera bodies to be cleaned the bloke at Calumet said he’d have to have most of the unit apart to remove it so I went for a replacement. The nice lady in Jessops got me a 5D shipped in from the only store in the UK which had one left, I kept the first body while the second arrived, and then was in the store for about 10 minutes today doing the switchover. During the process I had phonecalls advising me of progress which I really appreciated.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had good times with Leeds Jessops either – the Merrion Centre store (now closed) were equally helpful when I bought my 30D. I didn’t have time to get it cleaned before I went on holiday so needed one with a CCD as clean as possible: we had almost every 30D body out of the box doing a dust-check (f/22, point at sky, take photo, look for dust). Seems to be something they’re used to, and experience speaks volumes.
Let’s backtrack slightly here for some background: DSG tend to get “lowest common denominator” staff in – at least that’s how it appears. I’m sure the folks in charge of the stores are great but that’s not how it comes across. For instance, I can walk into Currys in Wakefield and there’s shop-floor staff staring into the middle distance in a sort of “sales droid standby mode”, who seem to bluescreen when you ask them anything past “how much does it cost”. That’s always seemed to be the norm for DSG-owned stores, but they’ve pulled a blinder with Jessops. Indeed, staff seem to know what they’re on about (for instance being able to discuss photographic techniques and scenarios rather than them reading from a sales document stored in their heads – almost like I’ve gone to an independent shop).
It’s not always been this way: when Jessops aggressively expanded (and bought up Wakefield’s own local camera shop, Richards Cameras) the shops were largely staffed by salesmonkeys and the aforementioned pubescent YTS staff. I think it all changed about 2 years ago when they decided to get some folks in who knew what they were on about.
I heartily recommend them – and coming from someone who passionately hates DSG, that’s a recommendation to take note of.
Edit: Jessops it turns out aren’t DSG – see my followup post here.