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Primark’s eagerly anticipated Click-and-Collect service launched earlier this week, and the website crashed due to the high demand.
So far, it is only operating in 25 stores in the North West of England, Yorkshire, and Wales as part of a trial.
While the budget retail giant is only selling children’s products in the trial, it did not stop thousands of people from flocking to the website to give it a whirl on Monday, November 14.
Mirror writer Danielle Kate Wroe spent two and a half hours trying to make a purchase, an ordeal she compared to the rush of trying to secure Peter Kay tickets.
More than 200,000 fans spent their Sunday trying to secure tickets for his first tour in 12 years – more than the entire population of Milton Keynes.
Danielle said: “To say it was the bane of my life for two and a half hours is an understatement.
“It felt as though I was back in the dreaded queue for Peter Kay tickets, except this time, I couldn’t physically see that there were over 200,000 people in front of me in the queue – which was possibly more irritating.
“For hours on end, I tried to add something – anything into my bag.
“The trial, which is only available in 25 Primark stores in the UK, is only selling children’s clothes and homeware – and with no kids to buy for, I just wanted to have a nosy and see how smooth the whole experience was.
Launch day wasn’t a smooth process…
“I added a £10 teddy into the cart, and then my laptop told me the website was unavailable.
“That, frustratingly, happened more times than I’d like to mention.
“I then took to Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing similar issues, or whether it was just me – turns out 90 per cent of the North were also trying to click and collect for their kids and the whole site had crashed as a result.
“I sighed but vowed to carry on like a virtual trooper.
“By the time I’d managed to add something else into the cart, approximately an hour and a half later, the original item had disappeared and my basket was worth a fiver.
“The minimum spend is £15, so I resisted the urge to scream and decided to buy an item worth over £15 on its own.
“Not my original plan, but I had to adapt, and fast.
“I found a ‘Brontosaurus Plush Toy’ for £22, and for some reason didn’t question why it was so expensive.
“I tried numerous times to add it to bag, and it was having none of it.
“I tried and tried, but the website even went as far as to tell me the click-and-collect trial wasn’t in Manchester and so I wouldn’t be able to get that item in-store.
“More than mildly irritated at this point, I thought ‘one last try’ and voila! I finally went through to checkout. Phew!
“I confirmed I’d pick it up in the Manchester Market Street store on Wednesday, which was the closest available slot.
Teething problems seem to be sorted online
“On Tuesday, I went to check to see whether the website was running more smoothly – and to Primark’s credit, it was.
“I then read the description of the item I’d bagged and was horrified when I read the dimensions – 88cm x 190cm x 64cm making the plush dinosaur over a whopping 6ft2.
“I began to get worried about how I would transport it home!
“The description reads: ‘Say hello to our cuddly Brontosaurus plush toy, an ancient dinosaur who is looking to make some not-so-ancient friends.
“‘A gentle giant, they’re a proud Brontosaurus – made clear though the very long neck and sweeping tail.
“In a light green shade this Brontosaurus dino makes a lovely toy to cuddle up to on a cosy day at home – but we think adults will appreciate their company as well!
“Product made using a minimum of 30% recycled plastic.'”
“I was excited to see what it was like!
Collecting the item
“So, on collection day, I headed to Primark (with my dad in tow, as I was expecting a gigantic parcel) and at the front of the shop, it was clear that click and collect was available in this store.
“The sign read: ‘You’re here! Let us know by clicking the link in your confirmation email.’
“It didn’t actually tell me where to go, but thankfully I’d been browsing in-store not long ago and had noticed staff working on the click-and-collect area, so just went straight to the basement.
“Once there, I was impressed with how clutter-free the area was. It looked fresh, and there wasn’t a queue! Perfect.
“It was worlds away from the hustle and bustle of upstairs where people were clambering over Christmas jumpers and cute fur coats.
“After you purchase, Primark are really communicative via email letting you know when you’ve ordered, when it should be there, when it’s been shipped and when it’s arrived in store, so I knew what I needed to do.
“I pressed the button on my email and a staff member came to help from the back instantly.
“She then joked I’d brought my dad along, referring to him as the ‘muscle’ as she handed over the parcel.
“Whilst it made me laugh, I was a little confused as the parcel looked way smaller than I expected, but another staff member said it was the biggest click-and-collect order they’d done so far.
“I guess it is early days though.
“The staff member told me that if you do a click-and-collect order in store, but still want to do some shopping whilst you’re there, you can take the rest of your basket to pay for it at the desk whilst you collect your order – which I think anyone living near a trial store will definitely want to know!
“So, I walked out of the store imagining that the 6ft2 dinosaur was weirdly contorted into the box that looked a lot smaller than I was anticipating.
“After taking it out of the box, I was shocked to see it was around half the size I thought. It’s still very cute though!
“After contacting Primark regarding the size of the plush toy, they gave the following statement: ‘It looks like our baby Brontosaurus got carried away and described himself as being bigger than he really is.
“We’re sorry for the mix-up and have fixed the description now and will be processing a refund.
“We hope you’re still able to give him a good home.’
“They also stated that a small number were sold before the error came to their attention and they’ll be more than happy to offer anyone who isn’t happy with the smaller product a full refund.
“Fair enough Primark, fair enough!
“Now people seem to be over the fact that Primark is offering click-and-collect, the website should run much more smoothly, and I can imagine it being a really successful service.
“It definitely reduced my time spent in-store, so when they branch out further it’ll be great.
“Of course, there were going to be teething problems – I’d expect that with anything.”
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