This Is London, We Don’t Do Service


Go to New York, buy an expensive present and ask to get it gift-wrapped. It will be returned moments later in immaculate folds of paper and bows with a card attached.

Ask for gift-wrapping in a London department store and the shop assistant will look at you as if you have delivered a cheque to her painted on the side of a cow.

After her initial amazement at such a bizarrely odd request, you then get ten minutes of struggling with bits of paper advertising the product you just bought while you resist the desire to ask ‘Do you want me to give you a hand with that?’ The result is this. Bless.

9 comments on “This Is London, We Don’t Do Service”

  1. Rachel Green says:

    Aww. Sweet. At least she’ll think you wrapped it yourself.

  2. Alan Morgan says:

    ‘Can you wrap that for me?’

    ‘Yes – can you?’

  3. Steve says:

    And this shop assistant was – what? Ten years old?

  4. Sisi says:

    I had the same experience at a London department store which shall remain nameless. I ended up giving the shop assistant an impromptu lesson in the art of wrapping. She was so amazed at my superpowers (and I didn’t even address ribbon work) that I felt obliged to mention apologetically that in Japan they teach it in school, which is broadly true (or was 50 years ago).

  5. Alan says:

    Sorry – but they may be able to afford it in USA – but why should my struggling little shop provide what is, after all, a rather specialised service?

    It isn’t bad practice – it’s just that we don’t do it in England. And the people who ask me to do it are taken aback when I politely mention that I charge an extra £5.00. (wrapping paper ain’t cheap.)

    Pay experts for their expertise. I take the time and trouble to train my staff – and it should be free?

  6. admin says:

    Who says it has to be free? Nobody even offers it as a pay service here. In times of a credit crunch, wouldn’t that be a good idea?

  7. I.A.M. says:

    I don’t think anyone would demand wrapping be free, but competent would be a basic assumption, especially from some flash high street shop in London. Following on from Steve’s comment, it would be likely that most ten-year olds would be able to do a better job of it than the proffered example.

  8. Helen Martin says:

    Either charge for the service (fair enough) or don’t provide it, but don’t allow such incompetence as the one above. Mind you, it doesn’t take long to learn how to do a neat job and there are lots of nice paper designs readily available so the purchaser should be able to do it. Pharmacy employees all used to learn how to make neatly wrapped packages.

  9. Ian Payn says:

    Fortnums gift wrap on request, free. And do a good job of it, to boot.

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