After wearing a pair of boots that leaked and left my feet wet I was looking for a new pair. I had looked at a number of shops before settling on Cotswold (mainly because I had 15% discount).
However, when I went in everyone was friendly and I had to wait to be served as the sales assistant was looking after another customer. Normally, I know what I want and don't hang around if there is no one to serve me. For some reason I stayed. Maybe it was the friendly nature of the staff.
When the sale staff became free she asked me what I was interested in, and I had previously searched the internet and found a couple of boots that had attracted me. However, I didn't really know what size my feet were, I tend to just put them on and if they don't hurt then I just buy them.
However, the sales person measured my feet, a process which took some time, before even talking about what boots I was interested in. She then asked about budget and then suggested an alternative pair of boots.
My initial thought was that these were going to be a horrendous price, but I put that to one side. I then tried on the two pairs that I had first thought about. Neither of them felt as comfortable as the first pair suggested. She then brought out another pair that she personally liked. However, these too were less comfortable than the first pair.
Then came the fitting. It turns out that, being self-taught, I was doing almost everything wrong. I normally wore sports socks and the laces were loose too resulting in ill-fitting boots. However, I was not getting pains and this appeared to surprise her. She then politely corrected me (but without being rude) and made suggestions where appropriate without making me feel stupid.
By the time I left I felt positive about my purchase, which was in the mid-range between the two boots I original thought about buying, and I had listened to the advice given. There was no pressure to buy.
As I write this I have been wearing my Meindl Bhutan boots about the house, something I would never do, to get used to them. Yes, they feel hot but I'm not walking out in the countryside yet, so that is to be expected, but I am looking forward to wearing them and having dry foot.
I think if I had gone to another store and came out with a pair of boots, plus extras, I may have resented the purchase as I had been steered away from what I had wanted. However, with Cotswold I had been involved in the selection and the fitting and, for me, that was everything.
I will be back to Cotswold for any future equipment needs. I'm sold on the Cotswold way.