/ Cotswold Outdoor
Cotswold are also one of the better places for offering BMC or club discounts. I think BMC get 10% and most clubs get 15%. They also give this discount on DVDs and books, unlike any other gear shop I'm aware of.
I guess they get knocked a bit because not all of their staff are fully clued up on the products (particularly weekend staff), and the climbing product range isn't as extensive as some of the independents. But Cotswold is often a cheaper option.
Another 'yes' for Cotswold. Had some Monta Rosa's off them at the start of last year and the front cradle snapped in Dec. Took them back and they were exchanged for a new pair of Airtechs without any hassle. I know there's a bit of stigma with the non independents but I can't fault them. 15% discount for the club is a real bonus.
This is where a lot of other similar shops fail. the amount of times we had people come to our store after being in Ellis Brighams or Blacks and then commented on the shocking customer service was indicative of the problem with those stores.
If anyone ever experiences poor service from a cotswold store i would endevour to take it further as they will generally give you the benefit of the doubt!
I must comment on the apparent lack of 'qualified' staff at weekends - the reasons for this perception is because the ones who work full time mostly like to get weekends off! I can vouch for the training of cotswold staff having worked for them for 2 years - its quite comprehensive though you do get the odd person who is absolutely clueless!!
I like Cotswolds and have bought a lot there over the years, but I get the impression they carry a much, much narrower range than they did 5+ years ago.
Perhaps this is due negotiating better margins with suppliers in return for buying higher levels of stock. Also I find it frustrating that some of the brands have sizes (like XS) which they never carry.
BMC, NHS, armed forces, police and fire brigade get 10% off.
Assuming the staff member with whom you deal is sufficiently informed to give you the correct discount.
Cotswold do do excellent training! As has already been said full timers like to get out on their weekends!!!
Also weekenders are quite often students who are not in enough to know where everything is (Cotswold change the location of products within store regularly/daily). They are also often unaware of new products.
The ones who are very helpfull are usually the ones who own half or the Cotswold stock themselves (even before they started working there) and still look at other products on offer from manufacturers that aren't stocked - because they want more/different gear!
I used to get told off for talking too much! (appologies to those who chatted too long to me) I worked at Cotswold Outdoor Liverpool for a year (Start of Jan 2010 to end of Dec 2010) - I feel I have done my time, although it's a great company. I met some very interesting people and developed very good contacts. However, I also learnt alot from customers. Customer service is a top priority at Cotswold and I certainly notice when I go to some other outdoor shops - the lack of people to ask and lack of knowledge!
The fixation with TNF is because that is what the demand is for - that is where the money is - in fashion.
The worst thing about working at Cotswold was my bank statement used to say:
Cotswold Outdoor Ltd In £xxx
Cotswold Outdoor Ltd Out £xxx
I had a similar situation with a Rab vapour rise jacket. After wearing it for about a week the stitching between the sleeve and main body on the inside came apart. Took it back to the shop and they instantly took it off me apologised and gave me a new one :)
Also my new Rab vr has seen heavy use for around a year now and is perfectly fine.
I use the local Cotswold quite a bit. The staff are very helpful and I get 15% off all non-sale items because of an arrangement with the local climbing club. The 15% off even applies to books and DVDs which some other climbing shops exclude. The staff have sourced me items from other Cotswold stores several times when they haven't had something in stock. Yes, the range can be limited (I think it is decided centrally rather than on a store by store basis), but the convenience of having a local outdoor shop is something that I value.
I used to work at the Reading shop - in fact, I still get asked about things by customers that think I still work there! I don't mind answering questions in general, although I'm no longer up to speed on the current product range - I practically sold a rucksack last time I was there!
I currently work at the Rock Bottom Store in Grasmere and have worked for Cotswold for the last 4 years in Harrogate, Grasmere and Keswick.
As previously mentioned customer service is the top priority in the company. There is well structured staff training in expedition skills, mountain skills, winter skills all run by PYB and weekly training sessions with reps from companies visiting the shops.
Check out our page at Grasmere, where we are trying to expand our profile within the company, as a 'Rock Bottom' we always have offers on and is always worth popping in for a look.
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