Not many of us will mourn the passing of Comet, whose soulless stores made for a grim experience

Along with Past Times, MFI and Woolworths, Comet is now a major high-street retailer on the scrapheap of history. Where and how did it go wrong for this brand?

Share
Related Topics

Another major High Street retailer looks set to bite the dust today. Cue national gnashing of teeth over the economy and headlines about thousands of jobs going down the tubes. But without wishing to denigrate the staff of Comet - who are facing an awful situation that any of us could encounter with virtually no notice in this economy – who will really miss the giant electrical retailer?

Ill-informed

Comet has always offered a depressing shopping experience. The stores are soulless, the stock control a mess, the information on hand poor, the staff either non-existent or desperately ill-informed.

The favourite trick of the youths - who invariably approach you in store with a ‘hello mate’ or ‘you alright?’ opening gambit - is to either bugger off or simply read the contents of the ticket back at you like you are literally a moron when asked a question. The truth is nowadays many of the items sold by the likes of Comet are beyond the understanding of most of the customers and staff alike - particularly if you only pay employees just above the minimum wage. Shops become a temple to bewilderment and subsequently disorientating places to be.

Arranging delivery was always a nightmare with the likes of Comet – unless you were prepared to hover by your front door for twelve hours – and if you wanted an old item taken away or new item installation then that was going to cost. But it wasn’t just poor service which for me has distinguished much of electrical retailing in recent years it was the pushing of extended warranties.

Over-priced

These massively over-priced insurance contracts made up a huge proportion of electrical retailer’s profits until the past few years.  Shop floor staff were corralled into selling these contracts on items big and small. In fact some staff seemed to only know about extended warranties rather than the item.

The trade in extended warranties was in effect the payment protection insurance scandal of electrical retailing. And it’s as much the action taken by the likes of consumer body Which? to curb the trade in extended warranties by tireless campaigning which has pulled the rug from under the likes of Comet as the coming of the internet retailers.  But long term and potentially terminal damage was done to retailers’ brand during the 1990s and 2000s though the pushing of extended warranties.  Having been cajoled into buying these products once, many customers probably chose to go elsewhere.

The Comet brand may now join the likes of Past Times, MFI and Woolworths on the scrapheap of retail history. If that’s so, I bet it’s not mourned by many.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Bob Geldof  

Ebola is a political AND a medical disease

Paul Vallely
 

I've tried reason, but my cat is pig-ignorant

Dom Joly
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin