Reviews of The Cheap Shop, Tiptree
Review by Jennifer on 16th June, 2013
Add your review Date visited: Regular for over 20 years
Alway found this shop enthrilling, suprised I've not bankrupted myself over the years! Staff come and staff go, mostly they have been informative, helpful and pleasent. Never have I met a male so knowledgable as the former ponytailed one, probably not always his choice for a career but boy what a salesman. I admire this family. Nothing has ever been too much trouble at anytime of the week, even when an unexpected coach full of happy crafters bombarded the shop on a Saturday mid morning while I was there one week. I would probably have not tried some of the crafts I have by going elsewhere. Teabag folding, pin art, decoupage in 3d to name just 3. Cheap shop you may not be but long may you survive.
Date visited: Regular for over 20 years
Review by Emma on 5th June, 2012
Add your review Date visited: may 2012
Being fairly local, this is my nearest craft shop, and as the reviewer before me noted, I too thought that the staff were ignorant and unhelpful and miserable. I begrudged their prices, scoffed at the fact it was called "cheap" and felt the many staff regarded customers as a nuisance who interrupted their chat and coffee! After one instance when I felt like I was patronised and treated like a idiot by 2 of the staff - one in the wool dept, and another at the fabric cutting table, I decided that I would look elsewhere for my crafts. I went to Colchester, Maldon, Hobbycraft in Chelmsford, and yet this 'tardis' of a shop kept calling me back. Despite its overwhelming array of products from floor to ceiling, I always seemed to find what I wanted there and was surprised that actually its quite competitive in its prices, especially once you figure in the p&p of buying elsewhere online. I have recently started my own little business online and I buy most of my supplies from there. One of the 'sons' of the shop,I believe his name is Chris, has been invaluably helpful, when I asked once about how to use a certain product, he even got out his laptop/notebook and went on YouTube to show me a tutorial and even ordered in products for me. He is always super helpful and no matter how busy he is, always friendly and ready to assist. The ladies in the Wool dept, seem to have changed and have also been really friendly and helpful. And the patient ladies at the haberdashery desk, counting those endless buttons, beads etc and very impressively adding it all up on the paper bag without a calculator! They also are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. and once you get used to the rather reserved, typically Britishness of the rest of the staff, they're actually not that bad or rude and much more friendly and helpful than the school leavers in Hobbycraft!! The staff all seem to be family/related in some way, and so I suppose there has to be tensions between staff or grumpy ones (if most families are anything to go by) and also it is such a busy shop. I avoid it on Saturdays, I must say, as it can get a bit heaving,and impossible to stay in one place long without getting in some-ones way! but most mornings it is quite delightful to browse around and also a better time to ask questions to the staff,and they don't really mind if you interrupt their coffee and chat as long as you are polite and friendly too! ( I have worked in retail too and a customer who is demanding, impatient or annoyingly indecisive in a busy shop can ruin ones whole day! ) I've never found another shop quite like it, and from over-hearing other customers comments, no-one else has either! Over the years I have been here, my whole family have come to enjoy this shop, my small boys have loved the box of toys they supply for kiddies to play with whist Mums try to decide and choose,(and to keep their grubby mitts off the wool and fabrics, and poking the threads spools etc etc!!) they love to spend their pocket money on the good value trinkets and toys at the front of the shop. My husband has found supplies for his model making hobbies. my sister was thrilled to find much needed tools and supplies to start her up with her jewellery making hobby and being an avid crafter myself, this shop has helped me to enjoy many crafts scrap-booking, card-making, sewing, knitting and crocheting. Family run, independent shops like this should be cherished, it must be hard work keeping up with the internet and changing trends...I think they do a wonderful job of keeping up with the times and yet staying traditional. what the internet doesn't give me is being able to see the colours, feel the textures and to just find what I am looking for, sometimes without realising that was what I needed!!
Date visited: may 2012
Review by Mary Mills on 14th December, 2011
Add your review Date visited: 13/12/2011
Admittedly this was once a brilliant place for craft resources - but they have branched out into far too many areas - in relation to the very narrow confines of the shop - and their ability to supply a wide range of haberdashery has been reduced in the last 12 years. There is no time to stop and take a proper look at something before you become an obstacle to other customers. The service was always pretty miserable but the quality of the goods used to outweigh this particular drawback. I have become disabled since my last visit in 2010 -and I spent quite a bit of yesterday afternoon being ignored when I was clearly struggling. Once I had gained the lady's attention she was downright rude and offhand: "well -are you having this or not?" was the response when I was unsure about an item. I asked for cord for a sports top and she merely gestured vaguely towards a high shelf. With one hand in a splint and using a walking aid, how the Hell was I supposed to find what I wanted? It was only when my husband arrived at the counter that she remembered to have some manners. In spite of the shop's name it is not 'cheap' - but that can certainly be said for the attitude of this particular woman. I felt very upset after my experience there - and will never visit this store again.
Date visited: 13/12/2011
Review by Linda Goodman on 8th January, 2010
Add your review Date visited: 2/1/10
i have been before and can only echo the last reviewer! a wonderful shop and i could stay there for hours
Date visited: 2/1/10
Review by Linda Barr on 24th November, 2008
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The most fantastic shop ever, selling all sorts of fabric, including bridal, hundreds of bolts of patchwork material, all manner of craft materials for cardmaking, rubber stamps, embossing powder, punches, peel-offs,painting supplies, embroidery silks, cross stitch kits, knitting patterns and wool, dolls houses and all the furniture, childrens toys, greetings cards, wrapping paper, cake making items including the hiring of cake tins, tea towels, cushion covers, sewing patterns, curtain material, fleece and fur fabric material, beans for bean bags, buttons, zips, ribbons, beads, I could go on forever, try the shop, you'll be there for hours!