My wife and I just purchased new bikes on the end-of-season sales. I got mine from an LBS (PedalOn) and she got hers from Evans, and had it delivered to a branch near her work. My experience - I went in, looked at the bikes on offer with an eye to one model. They didn't have one built up in my size, but offered to do so for me in a few days and called me when I was ready. I dropped back and they fitted me to the bike, attached appropriate pedals and sent me off on a test ride. I bought the bike, a happy customer.
My wife orders hers online. Evans emails her from the branch to say the bike is ready but she can't go that day - she goes the following day. She arrives but the bike *isn't* ready. She had ordered some clipless pedals as well, which were not attached. The seatpost was way too high for her, she said getting them to lower it was as if she had asked them for the moon. That was it - no fit, no test, no "let's see if the bolts are tight". See ya. When she brought it home I noted all the protective tape was still on - I suppose that's up to the customer to remove. At least the pedals were tight - the last bike she bought from Evans the pedals almost fell off on the way home (and let's remember they tighten as you ride...)
Our nearest Evans shop is also pretty hopeless. I went in to buy a couple of tubes once and walked out in disgust - three people working and none could figure out how the till worked! I have bought one bike from them, and it was fine, but I ordered it in a box and set it up myself. I note that "way back then" (a few years ago) a new bike came with a bike tool, a pedal spanner and a classy "book" with all the info. Now? Nuthin'. Oh - that was another thing about my wife's bike - they gave her an instruction manual for an entirely different bike - not even the same brand. Fail, fail, fail.
Halfords may sell some crap, but I think they know their place - mass market with some decent higher-end stuff. Evans seem to think they are gods - and their regular pricing is the most expensive on everything. They run a regular "question time" on Facebook which is a joke - it's like the tower of Babel with them trying to plug products and people asking questions from every angle. But, hey - social media is the future of cycling, I guess.
Or is it just me?