Ann Summers is something of an institution and I hesitated to write about it this week. This isn't some small stand alone business like the other sex shops in Dublin. This has marketing campaigns, PR women and hundreds of employees, so why try to rate and talk about such a huge company. And to answer my own question, I'm not too sure. But why leave out a sex shop and why not talk about my somewhat bias personal dislike to the brand? Its Sexual Sunday after all -If your new, read my first post here and maybe last weeks, here.
Appearance of the outer shop: 3 1/2 stars - Its nothing amazing, but not uninviting either.
Appearance of the inner shop: 4 1/2 stars - space, light and the toys are at the back.
Friendliness and helpfulness of staff: 3 stars - knowledgeable but overbearing.
Price range of toys: 4 stars - Something for everyone (even if the toy quality is questionable).
Selection of products/Specialists: 2 stars - Nothing you can't buy anywhere else.
Like with any other press/blogger, Ann Summers staff will never give an interview and always suggest you talk to their pr - who never get back to you. So all the thoughts today are my own. Ann Summers is one of the most well known sex shops in Dublin purely as its a big brand that does those horrible parties (pet peeve) and is parked right on O'Connell street. Its not incredibly offensive in its outer presentation as there are never any toys on display, only posters of women wearing lingerie or manikins draped in the latest offerings. When you walk inside your met with a large, well lit and well laid out space to shop. All the knicker and bra sets dominate the front of the shop, along with the security guard. Towards the back there is what can only be described as a circle stand that you walk into and can see the selection of toys. I must admit, I really like this part, you can't be seen from the front of the shop and everything they have to offer is more or less right in front of you in a smaller space. No trekking from one side of the shop to the other with your arm full of toys.
However the moment you walk to the back to browse their selection, you are pounced on by staff asking if you need anything, want something explained or to hear the offers of buying three toys and getting a free lube for your trouble. I can't abide this type of sales and a lot of shops do it, but when selling toys I find this off putting and it almost makes me want to throw my hands in the air screaming ''I wasn't looking at sex toys, I'm sorry!''. If it makes me want to do that after I regularly march into sex toy shops, what would it make a first time or nervous buyer do? Not cool Ann Summers, not cool.
|Image source: www.irishmirror.ie
One thing that I noticed and had me scratching my head over was the selection of 'little pills' that are meant to increase stamina and so on. They have them in the O'Connell street shop and also have them listed on their UK but not Irish sites. You can see them over here. I'm wondering why they can sell them or what the legal side of it is, considering last week the staff in Secret Paradise was telling me that guards come in occasionally to check there not being sold. Clearly I'm not doing my homework and need to start looking into these things (Promise I'll update this section when/if I find out the answers.)
Overall I can see why theres such a pull to this shop. Its female friendly and has the excuse that you were only going in to buy some knickers, perfectly acceptable. Theres also the plus that its an all female staff - well there was the times I've gone in anyway. A lot of sex shops have an all male staff as women don't tend to work there for one reason or another. For example I knew a girl who quit after a month because she would get asked inappropriate questions or be hassled by teens passing by and coming in to cause a fuss. Ann Summers is a safe place to shop and even their online shops have a huge selection of things that don't look intimidating unlike other shops. It bothers me slightly that some would rather shop in here because it doesn't have the kink element of a regular sex shop, so your going to be spared the 'shock, horror' products. But then again, each to their own. Personally one of my very first sex toys was bought from here, so I can't judge at all!