Christmas is not what it used to be.
Yes, I’m aware how ancient this makes me sound and that it confirms my status as an old duffer but I don’t mean it in the Ant and Dec will never match Morecambe and Wise sense. Or that tasteful Christmas decorations we see these days are rather beige in comparison to the trees of old that nearly collapsed under the weight of flammable tinsel and gaudy coloured lights. Or even that parties are such well behaved affairs compared to the raucous, rocket fuelled bashes of my parents generation when a bowl of Christmas punch packed enough festive spirit to blow a party higher than Santa’s sleigh.
What I mean is – and it’s no bad thing – I haven’t seen my wife for weeks.
Though – that’s not the thing that isn’t so bad.
The thing that isn’t so bad is the reason I haven’t seen her for weeks and the reason that Christmas is not what it used to be.
It’s you – all our customers!
Just take a look at this picture – my wife Karen and the other elves have been buried by sky high stacks of parcels for weeks. The Christmas rush used to mean a parade of well-kent faces crossing the threshold in search of something smart to wear to Christmas drinks parties – probably operating on the explicit instructions of their wives. If I wasn’t on first name terms with every customer when they entered the shop I was by the time they left.
Today we send thousands of orders out to people living all over the world. Japan, Chile, Sweden. And you wouldn’t believe the thrill I get out of this incredible change to the way we do business. It amazes me to know that somebody sitting in Santiago has just bought a Chrysalis jacket from our little shop in Kelso. Or that within the same minute two orders can come in from Northern Sweden and Valencia that send me rushing to the map on the wall to pinpoint exactly where our customers live.
No matter how much we’ve grown I still get a kick out of customer contact, it’s exactly what makes me tick. I wonder about who you are and if you like your new Bladen Tweed Jacket, or your new Dubarry boots?
Very often we get feedback – grateful emails and reviews that are appreciated, every one of them. We never tire of hearing what you think. And we love it when a little cluster of orders appears on the map as you tell your friends about your purchase.
Also more and more, I’d say it’s a semi-regular occurrence, we get to meet you: our customers from far afield who’ve travelled on holiday to Scotland and include a special trip to our shop in The Square or in Horsemarket, Kelso.
Then we get to know you on first name terms and it feels a bit like the old days. Only not in any sense that my Dad, Jock, or Grandfather, Archie who started the business 85 years ago would ever recognise. They’d be very proud that we’ve stuck to our guns about maintaining traditional standards of quality and customer service but it would blow their minds to see how we do business, especially at Christmas when the pace is dizzying.
Last year I bought a Christmas tree in mid-December and popped it in the shed, still in its green mesh, thinking Karen and I would put it up in a quiet moment. It was still there in June.
So, yes Christmas at A Hume is not what it used to be. It’s exciting, it’s fast, it’s frenzied – it’s a rollercoaster ride, but so long as we can keep doing what we do well and keep you happy, then we’re happy too.
Your custom, new and old is hugely appreciated, my geography has improved enormously and Karen’s customer service skills are second to none. We’re thrilled Christmas is not what it used to be, so thank you for that.
Thank you for shopping with A Hume and from the whole team may we wish you….
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.
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