#BrumHour One Hour Challenge: Shopping at Grand Central, Birmingham

by Dave Massey twitter.com/brumhour 

#BrumHour One Hour Challenge: Shopping at Grand Central, Birmingham

I was invited to Grand Central, Birmingham to spend a £50 gift card on gifts for other people and tell you about my experience doing so. I worked in retail for twenty Christmases, so I’m pretty sure about what I want when it comes to customer service in stores.


I set myself the challenge of buying three gifts over one lunch hour. For my brother, my sister-in-law and my parents. I’d popped into Grand Central at the start of December to just to make sure none of the shops had moved!

When I first looked at the list of shops coming to Grand Central I thought I’d probably only eat food, drink drinks and buy things from Steel and Jelly, Foyles or John Lewis. But the list of shops with things that appeal to me has grown over Grand Central’s first year.

1.00pm: I picked up my gift card from the lovely staff on the Grand Central help/information desk and headed straight into a candle shop called Love Aroma, I was clearly thinking of gifts I’d buy myself still and needed to switch into the mode of what my family might like. But there’s lots of great candles in Love Aroma!!

1:06pm: I went next door to Gobstoppers and thought about buying my brother some Pop Tarts. (Yes he would like that..)

1:09pm: Whittards! I wasn’t sure about pop tarts for my brother he is in his mid thirties after all. I thought about gifts for my sister-in-law for a moment and then saw that Whittards stocked Hot Chocolate! How I didn’t know this is beyond me. But there was gift number one right infront of me! They do gift receipts too, and needed my name and email address for some reason.

Hot Chocolate Selection

1:14pm One gift purchased!! I head to Tiger. Which seems to be called Flying Tiger Copenhagen online. This is a bit of a maze to walk through and a very straight forward, I’m distracted by gifts for myself again so I make a sharp exit.

1:19pm A quick phone call to my mother outside the Perfume Shop! Mother still has a bottle of her favourite perfume from here from last Christmas! She clearly needs to come to more special occasions next year! Friendly staff remind me I can still order online for delivery at home.

1:22pm I pop into Pylones. I’m 100% convinced that I’m not the target market for Pylones, one table has ladies hair brushes in a fan shape, the other table seems to have cake slicers in the same fan desgin.

1:24pm Cath Kidson! My sister-in-law LOVE Cath Kidson, namely their bags. I’m a 40-year-old lost looking man in a shop with floral patterns and trendy looking ladies. One of the staff come to speak to me and thankfully save me from being lost. How am I supposed to choose a bag from here? There’s even some cool Mickey Mouse/London limited edition items. There is too much choice!!

1:31pm I nip into Foyles to look at some books for my parents. I haven’t researched this trip enough clearly as I now feel like im clutching at straws.

1:36pm I’m back in Cath Kidson and cushions are on my mind! My brother and sister-in-law are moving soon and my sister-in-law loves a nice cushion. Really! They have a limited edition Micky Mouse in London cushion. So that is gift number two sorted!!

Cath Kidson

1:47pm I remember John Lewis has a whole area for Christmas gifts on Grand Central level. So I nip in to there and I’m torn between jar gift packs. Jam? Chutney? What to go for? Jam it is!!

A tree of Jam!!

1:55pm I’m done!!

On the whole. Shopping in one centre such as Grand Central was a great idea. I probably wouldn’t have done it had I not been set the challenge. The open plan square layout of Grand Central means you can see the majority of shops and stores from where ever you stand.

Now its time to relax until the next challenge!

Check the Grand Central, Birmingham website for opening times. grandcentralbirmingham.com/your-visit/opening-times

Huge thanks to Grand Central for inviting me to gift shop for Christmas! This is not a sponsored post.