Today I visited one of your stores. Ive not shopped at Iceland for about 9 years or so and my situation from then to now is very different.
Today I visited as a mother of an 11 month old.
We drove into your car park. A car park with a tired road surface. A car park with one single disabled space, in poor condition. A car park with not a single parent and child space. There were some very worn and faded white lines to suggest there may have been one in the past, but not today.
I looked around said car park for a trolley bay. I spotted it opposite where we had parked.. but empty. No trolleys. Next to the trolley bay, (between that and the disabled space) there was one trolley that was unusable due to having its wheel lock on.
I asked my husband to get our son out of the car while I went into the store to get a trolley…. Except I couldn’t do that. So, out of the store again to tell him he would have to carry our him in… Because the trolleys aren’t allowed out of the store. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we could have parked closer. But as I mentioned, there are no baby bays in your car park.
As it happens, it was school kick out time so most mums would’ve been on school runs, therefore making the shops relatively quiet. Otherwise we would’ve had to’ve parked even further away and as a result, had further to carry him.
So we loaded Dexter into a trolley and I realised that our experience so far had not been great. Then I noticed on the handle of the trolley it said “So thats why mums go to Iceland” Hmmmmm, I’m thinking not so much.
Once we had Dexter sat in the trolley (which had no safety straps I hasten to add!) I realised that had I been on my own, I would’ve been expected to carry him in on my own but then to also carry him, and all of my shopping back to the car by hand. Just out of curiosity, how many bags of shopping can you carry, whilst also carrying a toddler? And what if I’d had more than one child with me? Or was pregnant?
I asked a member of staff if there was a suggestion box to which I was told “no, but there are details on the back of your receipt, should you wish to contact head office/customer care.” Don’t get me wrong, he was friendly and answered my question but I felt slightly fobbed off. He didn’t ask what my suggestion was but I told him anyway. He said If I need help carrying anything, to just ask. Thats fine….but I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to ask someone to carry my shopping to my car because the trolleys have stupid bars on them. And what about the health and safety aspects of it? I know the words health and safety are some of the most annoying words in todays society, but are these shelf filling staff trained in manual handling to efficiently and safely carry my shopping across the car park? Are they provided with hi-vis jackets for such occasions? I’m guessing not, but please tell me if I’m wrong.
On this occasion, I was lucky to be shopping with my husband and we didn’t buy anything that wouldn’t fit into one carrier bag but does it not seem a bit ‘backwards’ to you, for a store that prides itself on being somewhere that mums shop, (to the point where that is its motto/tagline) to not be very mum friendly at all?
If I had been on my own, I would’ve got frustrated and left the trolley load and walked out. I would not have shopped somewhere that I had to struggle, especially as the store is sandwiched between a Sainsbury’s and an Aldi.
My suggestion to you is this – if mums are you main demographic, make them feel welcome. Make it easy for them to shop. Give them somewhere to park. Give them trolleys that are safe for their children. Give them trolleys that they can take to their cars, and if its your policy to help them carry stuff, make it known with sign of some kind. I for one will not be returning to this store. Especially if I have to do so on my own.
Thank you for you time.
EDIT: I would like to add, after writing this blog post, I went to the web address on the back of my receipt, as the member of staff I spoke to suggested.. This is the screen that came up… Thanks for your concern Iceland.
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