I was in Wales last week visiting the family and making the most having a car and the sun (I forgot it was Wales and it POURED down the whole time).
One of my favourite places to visit is McArthur Glen in Bridgend, which has loads of outlet stores. Outlet stores typically sell stuff that hasn’t sold in the normal stores, samples and even some items are made at a poorer quality and at a cheaper price just for the outlet store (ahem, looking at you Ralph Lauren).
Watch Station discounts
When I find a properly good bargain, I go into an excited panic mode. I tend to get a bit overexcited. There’s a new store in McArthur Glen, The Watch Station and it had some next level sales on and got carried away.
I had never seen Watch Station in the UK before but noticed the store in outlets in Florida when I went there on holiday. I went in and had a look at the Kate Spade watches and saw an offer so good sounding, I assumed they had written it incorrectly. 60% off the already reduced price, PLUS an extra 25% off. I had to get the sales assistant to confirm the deal was what I thought it was.
Boys and girls, that’s the exact kind of deal I get excited about. They had BEAUTIFUL watches which were coming out to around £50 after the discounts. And before I get an ‘even £50 is too much for a watch’ blah blah blah – I like them. I enjoy having nice watches, so that’s it really.
I was there with my sister and I think we tried half of the shop on before she decided on a cute little Michael Kors number with different straps, while I got a classy Marc Jacobs one and a fun Kate Spade watch with loads of sparkle.
These watches are £300+ each on the high street, yet I nabbed them for between £40 – £50. I was OVER the moon.
Buying at the outlet went wrong
Got back to London, then Monday morning went to put on my new Marc Jacobs watch and couldn’t get it to start. It’s just a standard wind up one, so it’s not confusing or anything. I looked it up on the internet just in case there was some special way to get it ticking – but nope. You can’t even open the back to try out a new battery. I was stuck with a broken watch.
No biggie right? These things happen. Went onto the internet to find my nearest Watch Station store to get it exchanged/returned and they seem to only be in McArthur Glen outlets across the country (which aren’t anywhere near where I live). I wasn’t going to Bridgend again any time soon, so when I noticed it had a flagship store in Stratford, I just thought I’d go there on my day off.
Watch Station washed its hands of me
I know this is first world problems and all, but it’s currently a million degrees, and I don’t think you know how little I wanted to travel 1hr 10m on the tube to a shopping centre the other side of London to return a watch, but needs must.
I get to the store and the sales assistant took a look at my receipt and explained that there was nothing she could do, because I bought it at an outlet and this was a flagship store. She was really nice, but said Watch Station could do nothing for me – in fact, the flagship store and the outlet store had different tills. She literally couldn’t exchange or return the watch.
I don’t know if it’s just me – but I can’t find a UK version of the website to contact a customer services. I’ve tweeted a few times asking the Watch Station what to do, and nobody has got back to me. I’m at a loss.
I didn’t use my credit card, so there’s no help there – so just going to have to contact Marc Jacobs and try to use the warranty. I do think it’s completely mad that Watch Station can’t help me even though I bought the watch less than a week ago from them!
I know I only spent £50 on the watch (only!), and I’m lucky that I didn’t pay a lot more because that would have been really upsetting. I could go to my nearest outlet store which seems to be in Ashford Kent, which is bloody miles away and would cost me around £20 (quick Trainline price search), which doesn’t seem worth it for a £50 watch.
It should be easier!
I suppose if you’re shopping in an outlet in the UK and you don’t live close to it – have a think about what you’ll do about returns (though most stores, such as Joules, will let you return in a standard store) and/or make sure you know it works before you leave.
If you have any suggestions about what I should do – I’d love to hear them!