Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published November 25th 2013
Somewhere Only We Know
There are several reasons why John Lewis is one of my favourite department stores to shop at:
4. Customer Service
Seeing as it is the season to be jolly, let's start with number five first. Heart. If you have ever seen a John Lewis advert then you will know what I'm talking about. Their Christmas adverts in particular are the most heartwarming of all.
Almost as famous as meerkats.
Last year they showed us the journey of a dedicated snowman daring to leave the safety of his garden to buy a special gift for his wife. I didn't think they could top that, but John Lewis proved me wrong with their 2013 advert telling us the story about The Bear & The Hare.
Is it garishly sentimental? Yes. But that's what Christmas is all about. The characters are adorable, the music fills you with warmth, and the promotional aspect is subtle. John Lewis don't do the hard sell, they don't harp on about really low prices, and that you have to buy from them. They tell a story about giving, and suggest that their department store will make someone's Christmas special.
And they are right. Just step into John Lewis and you immediately feel inspired about how to make the perfect Christmas. White lights hang down from the ceiling like fairies, snow covered trees stand by doorways, and festive displays create kitsch Christmas scenes.
I was shopping at the Kingston branch the other day; on the ground floor, John Lewis has lots of seasonal food gifts, such as mulled wine, cakes, chocolates, and biscuits. These are available individually or as hampers. Some of the best looking treats are on display by the escalator. Gingerbread houses and giant ginger bread men will light up the faces of children and adults alike.
On the first floor you can find elegant outfits for the special day, as well as warm snuggly pyjamas and onsies. Or if you know a mad baker, then the second floor is your port of call.
Also on the second floor, you will find a whole range Christmas decorations and cards. They even have a range featuring the bear and the hair, including bear slippers, a bear onsie, milk chocolate, toys, and an alarm clock (so those who hibernate in winter don't miss Christmas day).
I was a little disappointed by their card selection, which I thought was a bit limited. There were plenty of pack cards, but when looking for an individual card for my grandpa, there were only a couple that I thought were suitable.
Everything else to do with Christmas was in abundant supply; there were crackers, stunning indoor and outdoor ornaments, and giant stockings big enough to put a baby in. Once you've bought your presents, you of course need to wrap them up. John Lewis have that covered too, with beautiful gift bags and wrapping paper.
For the rest of the year, you can still guarantee that John Lewis will provide good value for money, high quality products, and excellent customer service. Case in point: my mum and I went into John Lewis looking for light shades. We had searched online for the ones we wanted, and went up to the lighting department on the second floor.
The woman manning the area asked us if we needed any help, and we told her the name of the light shade we were looking for. Without hesitation, she took us where we needed to go. This woman really knew her stock.
John Lewis modernises the past with stylish designs. we loved their glass lanterns that were reminiscent of nineteenth century street gas lamps - perhaps even a little Narnian in nature.
Their range allows you to style your house to just about any era in history. For example, lava lamps and brightly coloured American diner tables will give your home a sixties retro look.
The large floor space is ideal for displaying furniture; they create individual scenes so you get an idea of what a suite might look like in the home.
On the first floor, men's and lady's wear is separated by a gallery of artwork. In this section you can also find sportswear and gym equipment, such as medicine balls, yoga mats, punch bags, treadmills, tennis racquets, and a whole lot more.
Mum's television isn't working so well anymore, so we went to have a look at their technology area. John Lewis sells PCs, Macs, radios, CD players, and accessories, but the real eye catchers are their television sets. With screens starting from sixteen inches to over sixty-five inches, you'll find something for the bedroom or your very own cinema room. Talking about cinema, it isn't just the size that is impressive. These slimline sets have more features than I thought possible: 3D, HD, and Smart TVs with built in wifi and iplayer. I've heard of these features, but never knew what it was all about. One of the Smart TVs had a remote that you could use to test all this stuff out, and it is truly amazing what you can do these days.
At John Lewis you can get everything you need under one roof; from a mundane dishwasher and exciting pieces of gadgetry to fashion and beauty, it is one of the best department stores out there.