The John Lewis story – it’s not all that good

I’m old enough to still call John Lewis in Nottingham “Jessops“. Jessops always was the store you went to if you wanted decent quality stuff. Never knowingly undersold meant that you were fairly sure that the prices were going to be competitive.

But something has changed in my view. It’s not for the better.

I have been in the store a couple of times in the last few weeks and I can’t help but notice a subtle erosion of quality. Some of the staff now have ‘attitude’, forgetting to greet. Then a lady at the weekend scraped over the helpful threshold, but only just. The restaurant wasn’t busy but many of the tables were full of dirty trays.

I’m frequently accused of being grumpy here and I promise you I’m not trying to be. But Jessops enjoys an enviable position in the market. It is a destination place. Nottingham is not awash with quality stores – in fact I guess that I buy 75% of things I need or want in there. So they have a (sort of) monopoly. It’s a nice place to be – if you are them. But the flip side is that I think they have become complacent about this lofty position – and think that I have no choice. Which is, sort of, true.

But things change and when I get the chance to shop elsewhere I will do so. My good friend John Lyle always says that the opposite of love isn’t hate – it’s apathy. And I’m beginning to feel apathy for John Lewis….

One comment on “The John Lewis story – it’s not all that good

  1. I have certainly wondered over the last few years whether losing the “Jessops” identity has made the staff feel like they are just “another” John Lewis. That simple name changes feels, at least to me, like it wiped away years of history and a sense of belonging.


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