Thursday, 5 November 2015

Laura Ashley Gardening Gloves - FAIL!

Back in the summer I was given a pair of beautiful white leather Laura Ashley gardening gloves. Ok, you have to ask yourself what idiot thought that "white" was a good choice of colour for gardening gloves, but the floral print is very pretty, and the leather is fabulous quality, really soft and very comfortable to work in.

For various reasons I didn't get around to wearing them for a while, but eventually, a couple of weeks ago, I put them on and sallied forth.

One week later, this is what they looked like: but you can disregard the general staining and dirt, that is perfectly normal and what you would expect (except for the idiot person who chose "white" for the colour, of course). Instead, look closely at the first two fingers on the left hand glove.

Here's an extreme close-up of the middle finger, and you can see that it has worn right through.

Yes, that is a darned great 'ole in the end of the finger.

The end of the index finger has also split, so now these two fingers are getting wet and dirty, and these gloves are being consigned to the bin.

After one week!!! And, to add insult to injury, they are called the Cressida Heavy Duty Gardening Glove. Heavy duty!!

I looked them up online, they sell for between £16 and £21, which is shocking for gloves of such poor quality that they only last one week.

Now, I read on the BBC website the other day that  "Social media is becoming the default method of dealing with customers." So I turned to social media, ie twitter, and contacted Laura Ashley: my hope was that would let me send back the damaged glove, and would replace it with a new left, if their customer service was as good as that of Gold Leaf Gloves, who I wrote about a while ago, they are the makers of Winter Touch, my best and highest recommended winter gloves.  I was planning to be cheeky and ask them to send me two lefts, in the hopes that these gloves would then last for twice as long, ie a fortnight. It was my hope that they would be generous in this way, as the transaction would be done on twitter, in full view, as it were.

So I tweeted them:

Alas, there was no response.  Not exactly on the ball, then. so I chased them:

That did the trick -  a day later, they finally deigned to respond. They kept asking me for the product code (product code? Mate, you sell them, don't you know your own product codes??) despite me telling them repeatedly that they were sold as Laura Ashley Cressida Heavy Duty Gardening Glove. How much more did they need?

Eventually they must have realised that I was getting shirty, and decided to fob me off with the following corporate rubbish:

"We do not stock these items personally".

What?? They have labels with Laura Ashley all over them, how can Laura Ashley UK disclaim all responsibility for them?

They are sold at an enormously inflated price, Amazon have them for £21, and most of that has to be for the famous Laura Ashley name.

Yet the company won't stand behind that name, and won't replace them when they wear through after just one week of use.

So, dear reader, what is the moral of this tale?

1) Laura Ashley are full of hot air: they are very happy to trade on their name, but don't bother to check the quality of products made under licence to use that name, therefore they won't accept any responsibility if the goods are of poor quality or design, or both.

2) Don't buy Laura Ashley brand gloves at inflated prices. Buy Briers instead. At about a quarter of the price.

3) You can sometimes get a fairly prompt response on Twitter, although you might not get the result that you wanted.

So those beautiful Laura Ashley gloves are going in the bin, and I am going back to wearing my Briers Professionals for dry days, my Showa Thermos for wet and coldish days, and my Gold Leaf Winter Touch for wet and very cold days.  And I will never buy anything marked Laura Ashley. Ever. 


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  1. I’ve been considering a pair of Gold Leaf Winter Touch. You'd recommend them, then?

  2. Yes, yes, and thrice yes.

    They are superbly warm, as they have a thinsulate layer, they are actually waterproof (there are times when they have got so sodden that I have gently wrung them out before putting them in my tubtrug to come home, yet my hands have still been dry, warm and comfy) and yet they are not so thick that you can't "feel" anything.

    They don't last all that long, the fingers will go through, exactly as above, but they generally have the decency to last a couple of months.

    They cost about £25 a pair, but I consider them well worth it.

    My other recommendation is for the Showa Thermo glove, they are like those flimsy plastic-dipped gloves that everyone is wearing for everything these days, but instead of being "cold" to work in, they have a fluffy thermal lining so they are much warmer. The plastic coating only goes to the second finger joint, so the backs quickly soak up water - so they're great for cold days with maybe slightly damp stuff, but hopeless on rainy days or when you are, for example, weeding in grass or long foliage which brushes the backs of the hands.

    I wrote to Showa about this, they sent me a pair of fully waterproof thermal lined gloves to review, which I will be doing shortly, but I haven't seen them for sale in the garden centres yet.

    So yes, Gold Leaf Winter Touch gets a big thumbs up with the proviso that they don't last all that long, but they do last a great deal longer than the feeble (but beautiful) Laura Ashley things!

    Hope this helps, and if anyone else has recommendations or suggestions for waterproof gloves that will last longer than five minutes, do please share!


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