Boots - A Christmas Tale (Featuring Lies, Incompetence And Fury)

Boots. A curious sort of company. Some would say they’re like Woolworths but with a wider range of arse cream. Others would describe them as an amateurish, backwards-looking hotch-potch of a business model, selling loads of stuff under one roof that you can get cheaper elsewhere. So, like Woolworths but with a wider range of arse cream then.

Like Woolies, for a supposedly massive company, Boots have spectacularly failed to get to grips with e-commerce. Their website is littered with glitches and if you’re looking to take advantage of a particularly hot deal, you can face a trying ordeal of error messages and on-screen gobbledegook.

My partner and I went through that very experience on December 19th as we attempted to snap up three No.7 ‘Ultimate Skincare’ sets as Christmas gifts for three lovely lady relatives. After much web-snarlage, the order was accepted and the confirmation email arrived.

Thanking us for our order, and quoting a delivery date of 23rd December (close, but just the right side of Christmas), the email warned that, “We are now unable to change or cancel this order for you.” Good. Very reassuring. Thanks.

On the 22nd December, another email arrived from Boots. Not good. Very unreassuring (maybe not a real word). Shite. It breezily said, “As requested, we have cancelled your order.” Eh? C-c-c-cancelled??

“This order has been cancelled and you will not be charged.” Woah, hang on a fucking minute. We didn’t cancel the order. We really, REALLY wanted the order. As well as the Christmas gifts for our lovely lady relatives, it also included a stair gate that would help stop our increasingly-adventurous one-year old from treating the stairs like a baby version of Ben Nevis. All cancelled. But definitely not by us.

Some would say, “Oh well, unlucky, still time to go out and buy an alternative gift from the shops, eh?” They should try saying that to my beetroot-toned rage-face. I don’t want to be anywhere near a fucking shop with 48 hours left before Christmas. THAT’S WHY I ORDERED THE FRIGGING STUFF ON THE INTERNET.

It seems likely that the No. 7 gift sets had sold out by the time they got round to sending us ours. Never mind. But hang on a tick – what about, “We are now unable to change or cancel this order for you”?  If that was indeed the case, then where does “As requested, we have cancelled your order” come from? It’s a non-cancellable order – your bloody email told us. All evidently utter bullshit.

So screw you Boots and the horse you rode in on. For your information, the last-minute, home-made replacement gifts were a disaster. Our highly-strung Auntie Violet was irate when we gave her a coat hanger with some tinsel on it. So much so that I’m now off to Superdrug to top up on arse cream.


  • andy y.
    Boots was bought out in 2007 by Private Equit fools for a staggering £12bn. These debts WILL sink the owners ,it MAY sink Boots
  • Zain
    I downright agree with the above article. Their website is a total mess. Its a shame because they have some good deals and they aren't getting my business anymore nor are other people in the boat as me. I use various browsers; Firefox and Safari - there website is horribly slow at points and their checkout system is a joke - they got it wrong, they obviously didn't look at it from a customers perspective. Their previous website was somewhat better, although the navigation sucked balls. Shame.
  • ODB
    Boots are a joke...sooner they go the better IMHO
  • Squirrel
    Yup, we had a similar experience with ASDA and our christmas food..... who said internet shopping was supposed to be easy, eh?
  • Pokey
    Yes Boots' website is awful. But so is this one. Andy Dawson, s that it? Have I just spent two minutes of my lif reading your badly written pissing and whining session in the belief that maybe you had some sort of unique experiece, purpose and knowledge to share? What's the point of writing anything like this unless you have some further insight or constructive thought to provide? Journalism at it's finest right there, as typical with this site... All I see is a lazy set of so-called 'articles' featuring people who have nothing better to do than moan about shops, stores and services without having the balls or intelligence to do something about it. Yeah, we all experience shit like this. Man up, get the fuck over it and try using this space for something useful.
  • retrogamer
    Have to agree with the comments on the website but one thing I will say for Boots is that their customer service is top notch. I bought an Xbox 360 from the website and had no trouble at all returning it over a year later for a refund. By which time I might add, the RRP had come down in price by over £50. So I was quids in but still, little consolation for your cancelled order. I had a similar situation with the Forbidden Planet website where I ordered an 'in stock' item with about 10 days to go before Christmas and it wasn't until I logged in again a couple of days before the big day that I saw it was still pending. After calling them up I was told it wouldn't be in stock until mid-Jan but obviously they couldn't be bothered to tell me or provide accurate stock level info. Complete joke and makes a mockery of their 'guaranteed' Christmas delivery policy. What exactly does that mean if they fail to deliver? Sod all. Rant over. Happy new year everyone!
  • Pokey
    There are letters missing from my sentences due to spilling ameretto and grenadine on my keyboard. It's no very sticky.
  • chris
    should have used a bit of common sense, if you really wanted these items, you should have got off your cream smothered arse and visited one of the many high street branches and physically purchased the items. i did!
  • Dank
    I ordered some hair-straighteners for my sister for Christmas about two years ago from the Boots website. Everything went fine and the package arrived in ample time. Imagine my surprise though, when I discovered that I had received a minge-trimmer. Hmm... Would it be appropriate to hand my sibling a lady-garden accessory featuring several stencils? No. I had to exchange it in my local store where the sixteen year-old sales assistant thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. The gits.
  • scouse
    firstly , well chris no he shouldnt have got of his arse HENCE BEING ABLE TO ORDER ONLINE or do you completely miss the point of ONLINE SHOPPING. secondly you should have given them an earful on the phone because your not dealing with shop staff /stock so theres no point moaning at the poor bewildered employees who are generally too busy chatting about what they did last night and who they had up the back alley.
  • Darren
    I have to agree with POKEY, stop whinging!!, a one of Bad experience doesnt mean that they wouldn't get my business... plus the fact that you purchased this 48 hours before christmas day also makes me question why you didn't do this a lot earlier!! not exactly a worthy story, you may as well have jut called Customer service to discuss this situation. Regards DANK's Post, that is just hilariou, feel sorry for you but that is funny... surely even you can see the funny side of that!
  • Art V.
    @ Darren - exactly how much of this feature did you understand? He ordered the stuff six days before Christmas Day, not two - the deal was up on HUKD from the 18th; a great last-minute bargain. The fact that his order was cancelled by for no reason with just two shopping days to go is a disgrace. Imagine if you'd rang a store and asked them to keep something back for you only to be told when you went to pick it up: "Oh, we couldn't be bothered so we just sold it to someone else." Would that impress you? Would you continue to shop with them? The point here is that, as Woolies did, Boots are abusing their customers by providing a shabby, ineffective online experience. They need to wake up and realise that, thanks to sites like HUKD, savvy shoppers are getting the best deals they can from whoever provides the best all-round service. Calling customer services on the 22nd probably wouldn't have solved a damned thing. He wouldn't have got a guaranteed replacement in time - I should know because I tried ordering the same gift set on the 20th and they were out of stock. Stories like this are what Bitterwallet is about - personalised examples of rotten customer service written in a sharp, witty style. Long may it continue.
  • Darren
    Maybe you should put a comment on TIPS for next year... SHOP EARLIER!!
  • Art V.
    Jesus Christ - you still don't get it do you Daz? The deal for the No.7 gift sets ONLY APPEARED ON THE 18TH OF DECEMBER. As the bloke wrote in the piece, he ordered his on the 19th. Probably because the fucking thing would have cost him more than twice as much a day or so before then. I think the cut-off date for Boots guaranteed delivery was the 22nd. You know, they're not shipping from Japan and they use a courier service so it's not THAT hard actually. So they've taken his order, realised they didn't actually have the thing in stock and cancelled it a day before they've originally said they were going to deliver it! Unbelievable. Or, if you've dealt with Boots website on a regular basis, very believable indeed.
  • Kerry
    I bought this same gift set in the shop on the 18th as it was indeed half price which at £25 had £80 of stuff in it. I debated getting 3 as this was on 3 for 2 as well. Well by the 20th the shop was completely cleared out of this kit, nuff said.
  • Mike
    lol Youre moaning about this website moaning all the time! No one forces you to read the site Pokey, if I were so anrgy at the waste of space being used here I simply wouldnt read the blog entries any more! I think that its a start to a good satirical blog about commerce! But then satire has a lot of moaning and its far from everyones cup of tea. The difference between you moaning and the moaning in this article, is the guy in the article was promised the order would be delivered, and it wasnt. This website doesnt claim to not moan, quite the opposite in fact! But you still seem to think you can complain becouse you chose to read a webpage you didnt like. I dont like you. Im moaning about it. Will you moan about me moaning about how i dislike you moaning about a website that moans too much?!
  • Bob
    Who knew people even shopped in boots any more? I guess there really is one born every minute.
  • Andy
    I think that the people saying that he should have shopped in the store or should have ordered earlier are totally missing the point here. You purchase online for convenience, not to be inconvenienced!! If you were to place an order for an item to be delivered to your home. in a store and was told it will definately be there by a certain date and it wasn't you would be straight back into the store to kick off. Why should it be any different online. You don't deserve a complete lack of communication and customer service. This may well be a one off, but I really doubt it. My mum tried ordering items online on Boxing Day more than 10 times and eventually gave up. If the company can't provide a reliable, efficient and competitive (not the expensive store prices) online retail site then they are seriously in trouble. Woolworths and Zavvi are living proof of this and I can see Boots and WH Smith being in trouble soon if they don't get it right.
  • Lynne
    They have now cancelled the order I placed on Christmas Eve! How annoying! Got to pay full price now for next year's Christmas pressies!!!!! Really, really, really angry!
  • Wallet B.
    [...] readers might remember me having a post-Christmas rant against Boots following the last-minute cancellation of an online order that they themselves had said could not [...]
  • Barbara F.
    I've been looking for a decent honest review of the best hair straightener for ages, thanks for your help.
  • This b.
    [...] Boots – A Christmas Tale (Featuring Lies, Incompetence And Fury … [...]
  • Hamelton
    Very insightful, and informative. I don't usually make comments, as I'm kind of a blog lurker, but I thought it deserved a word or two. Thanks for sharing. Tre Get Paid to Blog
  • Mariam G.
    If the grill is out of gas or the weather is bad, you can still make delicious hamburgers. If you have made a tasty southern fried chicken recipe in a pan before, you can apply the same technique to your burgers and cook them on the stove. They will be full-flavored and really juicy. When you pan fry burgers, it is best to make them half an inch thinner than if you were grilling them.
  • michelle
    that's a shame! next Christmas, let's all shop earlier. thanks for sharing this!
  • Michelle B.
    I appreciate you sharing this so no one else gets to be a victim of this kind of things anymore. We all deserve a great Christmas after all.
  • HowMuchDoesItCostTo
    shame on them. i'll sure take note of this. thanks for sharing this to us!
    let us all learn something from this experience. i hope no one else becomes a victim of this.
  • WAverzekeringAuto
    sorry to hear that. I will remember your post everytime I shop for Christmas presents.
  • goedkoopste k.
    Thank you for sharing this!

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