If you want camping equipment around where I live most people will instantly say “Norwich Camping & Leisure” and since I live a few short miles from their main site I thought I would go and check it out to buy some stuff for our new motor home.
First on the list of items to buy was a drive away awning, and having done my homework, I knew exactly what I wanted and it just so happened that Norwich Camping & Leisure had it in stock. I could get the awning for less money from other places but Norwich Camping & Leisure wasn’t that much more expensive. Besides, buying from Norwich Camping & Leisure meant no postage costs, and if there are any problems I could easily take it back and resolve the issue.
When me and the better half went to buy the drive away awning the shop was busy so we thought we would hunt around the awning/tent shelves ourselves to find the awning. After a frantic ten minutes or so reached the conclusion we needed some help so grabbed the attention of the first available person, which was a mistake.
My better half approached the guy and asked if the awning we wanted was in stock, and the reply was a “yes” followed by an awkward silence for a minute or so. It was my better half who broke the deadlock with a “Can we have on please?” which was followed by a “yes” and then another awkward silence/deadlock situation. This bloke was being awkward and I hadn’t warmed to him so it was my turn with “Can you go get it then?” to get things rolling.
As the bloke wandered off to get the awning I was close to saying sod it, walking and getting the awning elsewhere. The bloke was being a total a*** h*** and I was not impressed, and my better half knew it. At that moment in time I would have been more than happy to run the risk and buy the awning online save giving my hard earned cash to this bunch of idiots. My wife persuaded me otherwise, and when the bloke returned with the awning we went to the counter to pay for it.
Whilst paying for theawning the bloke came over and continued to make nasty and sarcastic comments to the young lady serving us, which I thought was bang out of order. You should NEVER be nasty to or discipline a member of staff in front of the customer, and that’s what this chump decided to do. I was not impressed and left Norwich Camping & Leisure in disgust.
That was episode one that put me off Norwich Camping & Leisure however I was willing to give it another try, which was buying a wheel clamp for our new motor home. Internet research showed we need the M15 model so we checked Norwich Camping & Leisure’s website which showed they had a few in stock.
On entering the shop, which was again was very busy, we found the wheel clamps but couldn’t see the M15 model however there were some C15’s on the shelf. The only thing we could do was seek the assistance of a member of staff, so we flagged down a guy and he came over to help. We explained what we wanted and what it was for, and he assured us the C15 model was the one to buy. We initially queried the bloke and said the internet suggested the M15 model was the clamp we needed but he poo poo’d us and said that is what he had on his motor home. With that recommendation we bought the clamp.
Later on that day we picked up the motor home from Brownhills and drove the 130 odd miles home, arriving late in the evening. With the motor home on the drive way we thought we would get the new wheel clamp and secure it to our new purchase.
Removing the instructions from the box the first thing that smacked us in the face was that the clamp was for a caravan and not a motor home. Hmmmmm….. so C15 is for a caravan and M15 for a motor home – it made sense but we didn’t pick up on this in the shop (we are total newbies) and neither did the “knowledgeable” member of staff. Knowledgeable my a**e! The bloke assured us the clamp would fit so we tried to get it on the motor home and guess what? Yep, it didn’t fit. To say I was a little bit miffed is an understatement.
I returned the clamp the following day (more time out of my day, more diesel cost and more wear and tear on my car) and went to get a refund. The young lady on the till was more than helpful and after checking the receipt, the box contents etc. said she had to get authorization from a manager, which was fine with me.
The manager turned up and I explained what we had, that the bloke said a C15 would fit and that it wouldn’t. The manager told me, and very abruptly, that the C15 and the M15 are the same and that the C15 fits motor homes as well. I told the manager it didn’t (I had tried on my motor home the night before and the arms just aren’t wide enough) and he basically called me a liar. Yep another Norwich Camping & Leisure a*** h*** effectively calling me an idiot!!
I don’t know how I managed it but I kept my cool and said I would have another look on the shelves for an M15 and that I would quite happily accept one of those in exchange. On the way to the shelves I was walking behind a member of staff and on his walkie talkie I heard the manager talking/whinging to a work colleague that there was “a young bloke heading to security looking for an M15 when the C15 clamp he bought fits a motor home. Just re-confirm this will you”. Hmmmm…… the manager was telling a work colleague to lie to me?!?
On reaching the wheel clamps I was instantly asked if I was looking for something in particular. This is something that NEVER happens in Norwich Camping & Leisure. If you want something you have to go and find a sales assistant – they never come to you. After wasting five minutes or so with the sales assistant asking for a recommendation and what else I could do (and getting nowhere) I decided enough was enough and went back to the sales counter to get a refund.
Fortunately, the manager wasn’t there and it was only the friendly sales counter women (I am not being sexist here – they are all women and there are never blokes on the sales counter) and spoke to the young lady who sold me the wheel clamp the day before. She said she remembered selling the wheel clamp to me (the receipt was in her hand writing so she would have recognized that and not me) and issued the refund with no further questions.
I have now decided that I am never going to use Norwich Camping & Leisure again and will go elsewhere for any of the camping stuff I need. I refuse to spend my hard earned money in places where there are awkward members of staff, staff who haven’t got a clue what they are selling and managers branding me a liar when his incompetent staff sold me a piece of equipment specifically made for caravans when I have a motor home, who then continue to say that they have that piece of equipment on their own motor home. Norwich Camping & Leisure is full of idiots and nasty people, but the sales counter women are awesome.
About the author
A total motor home newbie with a six year camping background in a folding camper. A keen blogger sharing my experience of researching, choosing, buying and owning a motor home. and every thing that goes with it.
The Motor home