Please sign in to post.

What are the non-touristy department stores in London?

For my trip to London I will need to purchase an electric alarm clock that operates on 220 volts, 50 cycle power. What department store in London is closest to to our Target store in terms of price and quality? I don't want to go to a high priced store such as Harrods to purchase an appliance that will be used less than three weeks. Alternatively, if you know of a battery operated travel clock that has a really loud alarm or if you know of a store in the USA that sells European clocks please post the information. The alarm has to be loud preferably with a progressive alarm. I might be sleeping with ear plugs so I need something that will wake me up.

Posted by
8976 posts

This very site sells a battery operated alarm clock: http://tinyurl.com/7qun34h If you're also bringing along a laptop, netbook, smartphone, ipod touch, Ipad or similar device, they can also be used as alarm clocks. If you want to buy one in London, Boots would be your best bet. You can find one on almost every corner in central London: http://tinyurl.com/bs2l3ol

Posted by
449 posts

Hi Michael: Thanks for your response. I need to be more specific about what I am seeking so that the right product at the right price will be obtained, I have tested out several battery operated clocks including the "Big Ben" made by Westclox, and none of them are sufficiently loud to wake me up when I am wearing ear plugs. AT my home where there is low ambient sound at night these would work but not in an environment that requires earplugs. What I have been told is that the place where I will be staying faces the street and has single pane windows. The shaking alarm will work but the $50+ price for just three weeks of use (and no use in the USA) is more than I want to pay. What I am looking for is simple electric alarm clock that will cost no more than, say, 10 pounds, and which will have a progressive alarm that can each, ballpark, 100 decibels. There is a store in London called Argos that sells a clock that meets my requirements but I have no idea of where it is located. Looking at a list of the top ten department stores I can't tell if, for example, John Lewis will have a large variety of alarm clocks. Most of the department store descriptions focus on fashion, furniture, and food so it is hard to tell if they sell alarm clocks.

Posted by
1831 posts

"Alarm clocks are a low-end appliance............." I wish I had known that when I paid over forty bucks for a Seiko travel alarm for my wife about twenty-five years ago. Man, could I have saved money.

Posted by
8976 posts

25 years ago Walmart was a southern regional discount chain, and China wasn't a manufacturing powerhouse, dumping low-cost electronics all over the world. These days Walmart and it's competitors have become the biggest companies the world by selling cheap crap like alarm clocks. Last time I was in Nordstroms they didn't have an alarm clock department

Posted by
9110 posts

Here you go, Geor: argos.co.uk/london There are three. The most central one to the tourist area looks to be on Grays Inn Road a half block north of the Chancery Lane underground station (Central Line). If they're out of clocks, you might be interested in coffee makers, lawn mowers, and tents. Got myself a friggin education on that one.

Posted by
6245 posts

Argos or Selfridges. Better yet why not get a battery operated travel alarm clock? NOT loud enough. I swear the Westclox 72001 Super Loud Alarm Clock w/ Indoor Temperature Display would wake the dead. 3 AAA batteries and your good to go.

Posted by
588 posts

Can I just point out that, with a population of nearly 8 million people, London has a majority of shops that are "non-touristy"? In answer to your question, shops like John Lewis or Selfridges in Oxford Street, or any of the chain jewellery shops, will probably have what you are looking for. However, you may find that a mains-powered alarm clock is more expensive than the more popular battery-powered ones.

Posted by
9110 posts

I ain't exactly that sophisticated, but Selfridges is kind of in the high-end Neiman-Marcus line which ain't exactly Target. Argus looked kind of like Western Auto with a furniture department. What gives, Claudia?

Posted by
4638 posts

Do a search on sonic bomb alarm clock ... It might do the trick for you and you can buy it here.

Posted by
6245 posts

@Ed, it's how I roll and WHICH Argos location did you go to?
Besides I DID recommend he purchase an alarm clock in the STATES and not waste vacation time looking for one.

Posted by
5668 posts

Ah, Monte, if your wife loves her Seiko travel alarm as much as I love mine, it was money well spent. ; ). Pam

Posted by
27436 posts

John Lewis has a large alarm clock range - virtually all battery operated. You can see their range here: http://www.johnlewis.com/Search/Search.aspx?SearchTerm=alarm+clock Virtually none under a tenner though. Argos is a catalogue store. You don't actually see an actual item until you take it home. You walks in, you looks in the book, you uses a little pen(cil?) and writes the number on the little slip of paper, you goes to a terminal liberally sprinkled about the shop, you keys in the number, you hopes it says there is stock, you can't put your credit card in because it isn't chip and pin so you walks over to the cashier and gives her the number and she puts it in the machine and takes your money, you takes the receipt with a take-a-number type number printed on it and a section letter printed on it. You goes over to the waiting area for the section printed on the receipt and you waits. There are chairs, like a doctor waiting room. You fixes your gaze on the screen which shows which numbers have been called and watches it until your eyes glaze over, watching everybody else's numbers dancing around the screen with yours stuck on the bottom. Eventually your number will flash and voice will drone over the tannoy "will number 123 go to your colection point please"; you jumps up and joins the queue at the collection point. Front of the queue, hand them the receipt while they try to find your little alarm clock at the bottom of the pile of bookshelves - flat pack, camping equipment, ironing boards and all sorts. Eventually they return and you CHECK that it is right and the box hasn't been opened or returned by another or the wrong item all together, and they give you back your receipt, and you return to the fresh air of Oxford Street (or is New Oxford Street?). Pretty good way to use up a couple of hours.

Posted by
4674 posts

I don't use Argos after an incident when an object I bought from them turned out not to be suitable for me when I got it out of the box and they refused to give me a refund. Especially since you want to check on the sound of the clock, I wouldn't buy anything from them unless they let you unbox and test it before you pay. Which they probably won't.

Posted by
345 posts

I now use my iPod or iPad when wearing earplugs. The iPod has a variety of alarms, including some that go up and down in a scale which never fails to wake me up. With the iPad, I have certain songs that do the trick. Easy, and useful if you're not carrying a computer on the trip.

Posted by
449 posts

Everyone: Thanks for your comments. I am still working on this. Nigel: Ha, ha. Thanks for describing how Argos operates. Sure sounds like a waste of time for a tourist (but it satisfies my "non-touristy" criteria). JumpinBug: Do I understand you correctly: you sleep while wearing earphones? I can see the iPod possibly generating white noise to help one sleep as well as providing an alarm. However, won't you get tangled up with the earphone cord? Or did I miss interpret you statement: what you are really saying is that the iPod is loud enough to wake you up even if you are wear earPLUGs.

Posted by
345 posts

Just as I said... "I now use my iPod or iPad when wearing earplugs." Earplugs. One of the alarms is particularly effective for me, Ascending. Or, if you want to freak someone out, the alien one is good. :D

Posted by
27436 posts

100db would certainly get your attention. From a table of noise equivalents: Train whistle at 500', Truck Traffic 90dB Jackhammer at 50' 95dB Subway train at 200' 95dB Level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss 90 - 95dB Hand Drill 98dB Power mower at 3' 107dB
Snowmobile, Motorcycle 100dB Are you sure? Sounds like people in the street would hear that through those single paned windows. Other rooms in the building certainly would. Good grief.

Posted by
449 posts

Hi all: Thanks for your comments. I am trying to be a good neighbor while visiting London so, in the absence of information that would allow to buy an appropriate alarm clock in London (and not waste my time) I purchased a "Sonic Boom" digital alarm clock made by Sonic Alert. This clock has a rating of 113 decibels. Before everyone jumps on me please be advised that: (1) the clock comes with a bed shaker which, when placed under a pillow, provides enough kinetic energy to awaken a person without an audio alarm; (2) the audio alarm is progressive so most likely it will waken me and be turned off before it reaches 113 db (if I choose to use the audio alarm along with the bed shaker). I would reluctant to purchase an alarm that went from 0 db to 113 db all at once. (3) the audio alarm can be set to a maximum volume that is less than 113 db. This is a dual voltage clock for which one can purchase a UK adapter to operate the bed shaker. Keep in mind that this alarm clock is being purchased in response to one person's comment on tripadvisor that said that the windows were single paned and some rooms faced the street. This is one of the worst case scenarios so I want to be sure that the clock will awaken me if I need to wear ear plugs. Hopefully it will be a quiet facility in which I will not need to use ear plugs, and either the bed shaker or the alarm set to a low volume will be sufficient to wake me up without disturbing the folks in the adjacent rooms. George