Things I Miss About the UK, Part Two.

I’ve written about things I miss about the UK before. It wasn’t a very long post, because there aren’t too many things that I do miss.

In fact, at the time, there were only two. You can read about them in my post called What Do I Miss About England? But if you don’t want to read the whole post, it doesn’t matter; I’ll tell you what the two things were here.

“My local pub and playing football.”

I can also tell you that I am now playing football again and barbecues, dinner parties and days out with friends have easily replaced the pub.

So, there is now nothing I miss about England, right?

This is going to sound really strange, but recently I have started to pine for something that England has and we don’t. When I lived in England, I took it for granted. When I first got here, I never missed it or gave the place any thought.

But I do miss it now.

What’s worse about this thing that I miss is it’s a shop.

I’m a bloke, blokes don’t like shopping. I think that’s why I like this shop. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but…

I miss Argos!

Argos LogoAt this point, my Australian and non-UK readers are probably wondering what Argos is. My UK readers and, strangely, my readers from Spain, (Argos now delivers to Spain) are probably wondering why on earth I do miss Argos.

Sounds like I have some explaining to do.

  • Want to buy an MP3 player? Check out Argos.
  • Need a new barbecue? Find one at Argos.
  • A new lawnmower? Argos.
  • Perhaps a leather sofa? Buy one at Argos.
  • iPad? Argos.
  • Jewellery? Argos.
  • Need toys for the kids? Loads at Argos.
  • Maybe you want a quad bike? Get one from Argos.
  • Need a new beer fridge? Yes, Argos.

Are you beginning to see how easy this is? It gets better.

You don’t even have to search for these things online; Argos will give you a catalogue with the full details of every item (over 8,000 of them, apparently) it sells, including the price.

Argos CatalogueYou can view the online catalogue here.

Argos has around 800 stores throughout the UK. I lived in a relatively small town in England and there was an Argos in our High Street. There was another Argos about 3 miles away at a drive-in shopping Park.

Almost every town nearby where I used to live had an Argos too, here’s the one in Romford…

Argos RomfordSo you can easily drive to your nearest store and pick up your stuff. But if that’s too much effort, Argos will deliver!

But the real beauty of Argos is that you can’t walk around the store browsing. There are no lifts to take you up to the Electrical Department on the top floor. You don’t need to take the escalator all the way down through five floors to exit the building.

There are only catalogues on tables, so you can choose your goods. Tills so you can pay for them. And collection points, so you can collect your goods.

That’s it!

As a bloke, this is how I love to do my shopping.

Incredibly, when I lived in England, I used to take Argos for granted. In fact, I used to regard their “system” as a bit of a pain.

  1. Select goods from the catalogue.
  2. Fill in goods catalogue number, quantity required and price on one of their order forms.
  3. Queue up at the till and pay for goods.
  4. Receive receipt with an order number written on it and details of your “collection point”.
  5. Wait to be called to your collection point, point A, B, C or D, for example.
  6. When called, go to your collection point to receive your goods and have your receipt stamped.

Nowadays, I realise how fantastic that system is. No need to traipse round the entire store, as you do at IKEA.

Fantastic!

Argos, I miss you. When are you coming to Australia?

I’ve replaced football with…. football.
I’ve replaced the pub with barbecues and parties.
What can I possibly replace Argos with? The beaches??

Hmm, well, yeah, I suppose I’ll get by.

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{ 50 comments… add one }
  • Anna June 23, 2017, 10:08 am | Link

    Gah! I miss Argos too! I want to buy a cheap and cheerful 13.5 tog feather duvet! Argos = 25quid! easy. Australia, I’ve got to shop around to every bloody store peddling their ‘luxury’ wares with no clear measure of the actual warmth of the thing.
    Must say, I do also miss M&S.

    • BobinOz June 23, 2017, 9:12 pm | Link

      What can I say Anna, I feel your pain. If it’s any help though, is been five years since I wrote this article and I’m slowly getting to come to terms with no Argos. I’m also enlightened by the knowledge that we will soon have Amazon in Australia.

      They will have your 13.5 tog feather duvet and I’m sure they will deliver it for free, maybe even by drone. So there is hope. Well, except it’ll be summer by the time they get here and you won’t need that duvet by then.

      As for M&S, they often do free delivery to Australia, especially around Christmas, see…

      https://www.bobinoz.com/blog/16105/marks-and-spencers-christmas-shopping-free-delivery-to-australia/

      • Mark June 23, 2017, 10:45 pm | Link

        Been buying from M&S since landed Its free delivery over $100 unless its changed. Our last order 4 weeks ago was ordered on the Friday evening and delivered Tuesday…As for Amazon if you register a UK account and then change delivery to Australia They will deliver many things already from Germany or UK to Australia ,you have to pay the delivery but its not bad and you dont pay the VAT so whatever the Amazon price shows up when you look …when you order it you can roughly deduct about 20% which then goes towards your delivery I have just last week ordered some skates (not for me) price £215.00 on amazon (740 dollars here) they then adjusted it to about £180.00 when I went towards the checkout and added £18.00 delivery (Note if its over $1000.00 dollars you will likely be charged GST and duty)

  • Claire DeBeer September 15, 2016, 8:10 pm | Link

    I miss Argos too, and mega supermarket 24 hours tescos and a proper Sunday roast!
    Oh and why don’t they do vegie burgers at McDonald’s here??
    But really cost of housing here is ridiculous for what you get I’ve seen council houses smarter and larger than a tiny run down one level house here that’s the only thing that does really bother me here and I believe it has something to do with race. There are a lot of mixed races here but I’ve never met an Indian CEO they only seem to get so far and paid a lot less and white people I know this because my job involves fixing account systems for many companies the further out you go to poorer places the less white people you see and the systems show that people with ethnic names of the same role get paid a lot less than John smith, but anyway that’s the only thing that I miss cheap housing with massive gardens oh and English pub gardens????

    • BobinOz September 16, 2016, 8:20 pm | Link

      Obviously I agree with you about missing Argos, and I don’t think we have veggie burgers at McDonald’s here because Australia isn’t known for its vegetarians.

      As for the rest of it though, well, you must have lived in a different England than the one I lived in and you must now be living in a part of Australia that I’ve not yet come across.

      See…

      https://www.bobinoz.com/blog/17264/uk-and-australia-the-house-price-debate/

  • Tee Bee May 7, 2016, 4:47 pm | Link

    We’ve been here for 4 weeks and setting up home in an unfurnished house. Having to go from pillar to post to find stuff for the house – Argos is greatly missed!!

    I see a gap in the market though – who’s in with me?!? :p

    TB x

    • BobinOz May 8, 2016, 9:49 pm | Link

      I’m in, for sure. We probably need a few more people in on this though, and maybe three or $400 million for around 100 premises and enough stock to fill them all?

      Still missing Argos 🙂

      • Catherine May 9, 2016, 5:19 am | Link

        Why on earth you miss Argos is beyond belief – its now all cheap tat that most things wont last a year!! Pictures in their catalogue are totally misleading especially to size, descriptions are often wrong and prices ARE to be found cheaper elsewhere. You may get a bargain in a sale but other than that its really not worth going too. Maybe with the years away your mind has got confused about the quality of what they sell which seems to concentrate more now on kids toys than anything else. No its 15 mins away and I struggle to buy anything there unless desperate. They clear all this tat on Ebay (UK) as well as all the discount shops around the country as they cant sell it in their own stores. My friends son is a Manager of an Argos store and even he doesnt buy from it with staff discount. You really are not missing anything believe me.

        • BobinOz May 10, 2016, 12:49 am | Link

          Well, I hope your son isn’t on commission 🙂

          I’m not really sure I get your point, because as I remember it, Argos doesn’t sell anything other than branded goods that are available everywhere else. So if they sell rubbish, everywhere sells rubbish.

          Even you have said you can buy cheaper elsewhere, so it’s just not their stuff. The beauty of Argos though was that it was so local. Prices were pretty competitive and you didn’t have to wait for delivery or post it back if it was rubbish. It’s a physical store, it’s close to home and you can visit it easily.

          That, I think, is what most of this miss. Simple convenience.

  • djmcbell October 20, 2014, 7:24 pm | Link

    Argos really does work well. You get your catalogue (spring/summer or autumn/winter edition), which is now twice the thickness of our local phone book (you could knock someone out with it). Find what you want. Note down the code and go into the store (they’re everywhere) or find what you want in the in-store catalogue.

    The till is being phased out – you key what you want into the machine to check availability and pay for it using your card there and then, get your “desk C, 5 minutes” thing, wait for it and you’re away!

    Sadly their website is now lacking the ability to check whether your local stores have something in stock (this feature was available a few months back, but seems to have vanished).

    • BobinOz October 20, 2014, 9:22 pm | Link

      I know, it’s a fantastic system, that’s my I miss it so much. And the prices are great as well! Come on Argos, open up down under will you?

  • Matt September 2, 2013, 11:40 pm | Link

    I couldn’t agree more. Argos is a miss here in Australia and would almost certainly be a smash hit with Aussie men. I came across your post as I was looking for a gift for my girlfriend’s birthday with 3 days to go! Back in the UK I could nip in, choose something shiny at a reasonable price, in less than 5 minutes; change the box and I’d be a regarded as perfect boyfriend! Out here I’m doomed! Loving the blog…

    • BobinOz September 3, 2013, 8:26 pm | Link

      I think you are double doomed, now all your girlfriends, past, present and future will know how you go about buying that loving birthday present.

      Cheers mate!

      Bob

  • Graham November 15, 2012, 11:52 am | Link

    How much is ARGOS paying you Bob to put their logo on your website?

  • matt June 14, 2012, 11:40 am | Link

    I know how you feel Bob having grown up with Argos, the excellent part is there 16 day no questions asked guarantee – if you don’t like it, you have no problems getting your money back.

    I travel to the UK now and then for my work and always collected a catalogue, that way I could purchase (small lightweight) the next time I went back.

    thanks
    Matt

    • BobinOz June 14, 2012, 2:10 pm | Link

      Oh yes, the 16 day money back guarantee. Forgot about that, now I miss them even more.

      Anyway, glad to hear I’m not the only one who misses them. Cheers Matt!

  • Gary May 17, 2012, 4:56 am | Link

    Hi Bob

    Bad news, just read this

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/argos-stores-under-threat-profits-fall-084434610–finance.html

    At least Woollies is still on the high street in Oz. They’ve long since been replaced by ‘pound’ shops and a minor online woollies presence.

    I think if shipping was cheaper in Oz there would definitely be many more threats from online retailers as in the UK.

    Royal Mail have just hiked their prices though in preparation for a government sell off.

    I think I would miss Haddock and Chips but I heard Chumley Warners is doing a bomb in Birkdale.

    • BobinOz May 17, 2012, 9:58 pm | Link

      Not bad news for me, makes no difference at all. In fact, if Argos closed down, there would be no point in me missing them anymore because they wouldn’t exist.

      So for me, it’s probably good news. I being selfish?

      Please, don’t answer, I’m only joking.

      Woollies here are totally different from Woollies in the UK, but then I’m sure you know that. And Chumley Warners, yes, I think they do sell loads over on the Bayside, I’m not surprised, good fish and chip shops are hard to find here in Australia.

  • Sylwia May 16, 2012, 11:47 am | Link

    I miss Argos too…;)

    • BobinOz May 16, 2012, 9:58 pm | Link

      Hehe! That’s another one out of the closet 🙂

  • David Sadleir May 16, 2012, 12:00 am | Link

    Hi Bob:
    Europe is great to visit and that’s what I like to do but at this stage of the game for me, my personal comfort is high on the list. Australia is doing far better than the rest of the western world and as we know, Aussies travel a lot to get their fill of”cultcha”.
    As far as Argos, I read recently that Amazon is looking into warehousing in Australia to cover South East Asia, so it won’t be hard to get “stuff” on line.
    I am a photographer and no one company makes the perfect camera and unfortuneately we can’t glean features and parts from one camera to another and the same is true with countries.
    Love your site.

    • BobinOz May 16, 2012, 9:57 pm | Link

      An Amazon warehouse in Australia? That’d be cool! Might help me get over Argos. Thanks David!

  • Mark May 15, 2012, 9:03 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I was starting to get worried that you might mention something that I would miss! Fortunately you haven’t as I don’t use Argos much as they are quite expensive… I tend to buy more from the interweb which provides lots of choice at low prices.

    Umm, thinking about it, you probably don’t have the choice and prices on the ‘web, do you? :-/

    Regards,

    Mark

    • BobinOz May 15, 2012, 10:23 pm | Link

      We’ve got eBay in Australia, that works quite well. Actually, in fairness, websites have come on quite a lot in the four years I’ve been here. Postage can sometimes be a killer though, it’s a big place.

  • Rob Stott May 15, 2012, 8:53 pm | Link

    Oh dear the advertisers and marketing have effected your mind . “must buy more stuff” I’m so glad that’s all you miss ,there is hope for us not missing a thing ,lol.

    • BobinOz May 15, 2012, 10:20 pm | Link

      You don’t miss Argos? I just can’t believe it. Where would you go to buy a size 4 indoor five aside football?

      I rest my case.

  • Alex May 15, 2012, 8:52 pm | Link

    Now Bob, I’m really worried about you!!
    Argos in Oz, Oh boy….
    That’s exactly why I want to leave the UK.
    Could be a great business opportunity though, just think, a nice air conditioned place to meet friends and talk about watches n mobile phones, garden stuff and which Argos to visit next?
    But the beer fridge does need serious consideration, they do have some good ones…………………….Oh boy what am I talking about!
    Seriously great to read you stuff again Bob.
    Thanks

    • BobinOz May 15, 2012, 10:18 pm | Link

      You are a closet Argos fan, you know you are.

      Cheers Alex!

  • Gary May 15, 2012, 8:26 pm | Link

    If Argos did arrive on these shores,we would most probably get stung paying a lot extra for items as IKEA and ITUNES have proven.

    • BobinOz May 15, 2012, 10:16 pm | Link

      I got a toilet roll holder from IKEA for just nine bucks! I don’t think that’s getting stung.

      As for iTunes though, why does anyone bother? I’m still on page 623 of their terms and conditions! I’ll finish it, I know I will.

      • Jules May 16, 2012, 3:34 am | Link

        Absolutely, why pay a premium price for something which is a highly compressed and dodgy version of the digital original. Save your ears and buy CD’s.

        • BobinOz May 17, 2012, 12:40 am | Link

          And have to jump through hoops (updates, working out the software, backing it up, terms and conditions etc etc) just to get your inferior digital version to work!

          Give me vinyl any day.

  • Steve May 15, 2012, 7:43 pm | Link

    You guys dont have Amazon?

    • BobinOz May 15, 2012, 10:15 pm | Link

      Nope. You’re just twisting the knife now, aren’t you? No Amazon, no Argos, just a bucket load of sunkissed beaches.

      I don’t know how we get by 🙂

      • steve May 15, 2012, 11:49 pm | Link

        John Lewis? 😉

        • BobinOz May 16, 2012, 9:42 pm | Link

          No, not we don’t have John Lewis either. We do have Myer and David Jones though, they are similar.. The closest we have to Amazon, which I should have mentioned, is Fishpond.

          I have them featured on my page called The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything.

          It’s a reasonable effort, but they are no Amazon.

  • sue April 30, 2012, 1:26 am | Link

    Hi Bob
    You’re a sad soul!!! Argos – that’s seriously unnerving – I thought you seemed quite sane!!!

    • BobinOz April 30, 2012, 10:16 pm | Link

      It’s the voices in my head that made me blog about it!

  • Marissa April 27, 2012, 2:22 am | Link

    Bob, if you miss Argos that much why not download their app and you can browse and get your fix, no problem 🙂 but then this might develop into a UK v Australia cost comparison!

    • BobinOz April 27, 2012, 8:03 pm | Link

      Nice idea Marissa, except I don’t want to browse, I want to buy! Can I do that with the App? Buy something and then go to some kind of virtual collection point B?

      I wish…

  • John April 18, 2012, 5:57 am | Link

    I miss the proximity to Europe, 50 quid on Easy Jet / BMI Baby gets you to some historic capital of Europe for the weekend, in less than 2 hours usually. Prague, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, all that history and culture, it’s just not over here.

    Australia tries, but it can’t do old (Unless were talking Indigenous Australian old, then there are 60 000 years of history) but I’m talking European Old, a walk over the 14 century Charles bridge in Prague’s old town, followed by a beer in a bar that’s been serving beer since times when medieval torture devices were the penalty for not paying your cabbage tax, or believing it the right form of Christianity.

    Country towns here QLD try to do ‘olde’, Mount Tambourine near Brisbane is an example, it want’s to be Keswick in the English lake district, tea rooms, and antiques, but some businesses there have gone for gaudy wild west style sign lettering, so you end up with something that is not quite anything.

    And that’s another thing I miss, the Lake District, I used to walk a lot up there right up until we left the UK. The Aussies have some cheek naming things Mt this and Mt that, there are hills in south east QLD, but we can not call them mountains. Saying all this, there are some serious nature style experiences here in QLD that have replaced walking in the lakes for me. The bird and plant life here is like nowhere else.

    • BobinOz April 18, 2012, 2:52 pm | Link

      For my money, Europe is easily the most culturally diverse continent on the planet. Travelling Europe is amazing, and that you can travel by aeroplane so cheaply with those budget airlines makes it even better.

      Europe’s history is also quite incredible, again, I don’t think any other continent can come close in that regard.

      But that’s why I made sure I saw as much of Europe as I could whilst I lived in England, now I enjoy travelling Australia and some of the other countries this side of the world.

      It’s totally different.

      My advice to anyone considering moving to Australia is, see as much of Europe as you can before you leave.

      All valid points John, thanks.

      • Mark May 15, 2012, 9:39 pm | Link

        I think if you are going to miss European culture that much, then maybe Australia might not be the place for you.
        Having said that and also that I myself love history, Europe has become very expensive and overcrowded. My wife, young son and I spent 4 days in Lake Como last year and we virtually needed to take out a second mortgage!!
        Also, living in the southern half of the UK means that driving anywhere takes a lifetime and this is exacerbated by us residing in Oxford which has an awful road network!
        Finally, Europe is in turmoil at the moment with many countries’ economies being in meltdown and totally unsustainable, so stroll on the day that my wife and I get our visas to emigrate to Melbourne!!

        All the best,
        Mark

      • Mark May 15, 2012, 9:45 pm | Link

        Oh, forgot to mention that I’ve heard that places like Japan, China and Indonesia have a couple of years of history between, don’t they?! I may be mistaken on this one. 🙂
        Also, talking about big hills, doesn’t New Zeeland – which is only a few hours flight away – have a couple of largish ones? 😉

        Mark

        • BobinOz May 15, 2012, 10:37 pm | Link

          Hi Mark

          No, for sure, Australia is for me. I’m not pining to return to Europe, just tipping my hat to what an extraordinary diverse culture it has. I do know that some parts of it are stupidly expensive, I particularly remember almost fainting buying a beer in Paris for the sort of money that would normally secure a meal for two in a restaurant.

          I certainly do not miss the U.K.’s road networks!

          And well pointed out, there’s plenty of history and hills close to us here if only we seek them out.

          Hope you’re visas come through quickly 🙂

          Cheers!

          • Jules May 16, 2012, 3:32 am | Link

            Bob,

            I’ve found there’s only so much fun to be had out of history and “old” stuff before the lack of good weather in the UK starts to become a real issue. But then I grew up in a warm country and have only lived here for 10 years, so am maybe not very objective!

            Although I’ve tried like hell, I still cannot get used to the 7-8 months of biting cold and dreary weather (and in spite of “global warming” it seems to be getting worse every year!).

            The first few times parading around some tumble down 800 year old castle in the rain is great but it soon begins to wear thin…

            I pine for the simple days when I could stand on the sea rocks in the bright warm sun for 4/5ths of the year and actually catch fish that we could eat…

            or lark about in the pool that my dad built for next to nothing with some spare paving stones and a vinyl liner…

            or have a garden that you could almost lose yourself in, not some overpriced postage stamp that could only be used for a 1/4 of the year.

            And all those wonderfully cheap trips to Europe are becoming more and more expensive as UK and EU regulations on “carbon emissions” start to bite. Air tickets have rocketed recently in the UK.

            Lets face it, we all travel to Italy to experience the sun and warmth (and yes a bit of the culture).

            Wouldn’t it be easier just to live somewhere warm 24/7 and save a bundle?

            • BobinOz May 17, 2012, 12:37 am | Link

              Yes, it would, and I obviously know where you are coming from because that’s exactly what I did.

              You’ve made a good point, you just can’t put a price on sunshine, dreary weather does make you miserable, hot and sunny puts a smile on your face.

              I’m glad I saw a lot of the history of Europe, but now that I have seen it, I’m really glad I’m here in Australia.

  • Peter April 18, 2012, 4:48 am | Link

    BigW!

    • BobinOz April 18, 2012, 2:47 pm | Link

      Haha, doesn’t even come close to Argos. For example, Argos has something like 40 different MP3 players to choose from, Big W probably has about three or four if you’re lucky.

      No contest!

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