Monday, July 18, 2011

Why Canadian Tire Frustrates Me and should be closed on holidays!

I believe that with few exceptions, ALL stores should be closed on Federal Holidays.

Why do I believe this?

It is very difficult as an employer to staff these days. People make plans to be doing things away from work on days that are federal holidays. They should. Holidays exist for a reason.

I know as a parent that there are some things unexpectedly that happen on holidays - like broken bones from trampoline accidents where we require services provided by emergency providers and pharmacies and I appreciate their availability at all times. However, stores like Canadian Tire, The Brick, Walmart and so on should shut their doors for 24 hours and send everyone home.

What they do instead is advertise special "holiday sales", open the doors to customers, but because they have a problem staffing the day, they operate on a skeleton staff that provides less than satisfactory customer service.

I know I am partly to blame for these stores opening, because I enjoy taking advantage of the sales, and so I go. I should clarify that. I USED to go. I will never go again, and hopefully others will also stop shopping on these days thus making it a waste of money for chains to open.

We had the WORST customer service experience EVER at Canadian Tire (a store I generally REALLY like - because you can give like Santa and Save like Scrooge) in Peace River.

My spouse and I have been looking for a locking cabinet for our kitchen. Our house is DESPERATELY short of storage, the kitchen specifically, and we need locking cabinets to keep the boys out. We have been looking for ages and we finally decided that a cabinet make from metal, typically designed for a garage, is exactly what we need. We got a flier from Canadian Tire advertising a sale on a Mastercraft Cabinet that suited our needs EXACTLY and was on sale beginning on July 1st. (Canada Day)

Mastercraft Metal Garage Tall Cabinet

We checked online that the product was available in Peace River Store and we called the store to check the hours of operation. The product was in stock and the store was open. So we went to get it. We drove. A LONG TIME. The sole purpose of the trip was to get this cabinet so we could proceed with other projects over the weekend.
When we arrived at the store there were three employees working. One was at the customer service desk and was also acting as checker. One was in the paint section and there was one other employee present. We arrived in the store at the same time as another woman who was carrying her used weed eater. She asked at customer service for an employee by name and was directed to the paint section of the store. We asked at the same place for the metal cabinet by name, and with the flier and were also directed to the paint section.
When we got to the paint section the lady with the weed eater was being assisted by one staff member. She was describing a problem with the machine and he was taking it apart and trying to fix it. I don't know anything about warranty or arrangements she had with the store to fix her broken weed-eater. I thought it was interesting though. I didn't know Canadian tire fixed things, but I am sure the lady was appreciative.
I spoke to the other staff member and asked about the cabinet. She was uncertain of the availability of the item and needed to talk to the staff who was fixing the weedeater. She asked him where the shelving was. We stood. And stood. And stood all the while the guy was taking apart the weedeater and completely ignoring us!  I was becoming more irritated by the minute. I could see he as busy obviously. He WAS helping someone who arrived before we did. But all we needed from him was a verbal response and he was not even acknowledging our existence. We finally stopped just standing there and walked up and down the aisles looking to see if the shelf was on display anywhere. We couldn't find it. We returned. We waited some more.  He finally said that the shelves were buried in the back and they were not available until Monday (it was Friday) because there was no-one to operate the machinery to get them out. I explained to him that it was advertised in the flier and showed as available on the internet and that we had driven a long way to come and pick it up. He said it was not his fault there was no-one there to get it. All the while he never looked at me once, and continued to take apart this used weedeater. By this time I was REALLY frustrated.
I asked him for his name and he refused to give it to me. I asked the girl at the counter if she had a phone number I could call, and she gave me her name and a card with the phone number of the store.
We went to the customer service counter at the front of the store and said we would like to make a complaint and she said she was not able to take a complaint from us at that time because she was not the person who regularly worked behind the counter and so she had no way to "process" a complaint. We asked if there was a number we could call for a corporate headquarters and she said she had no idea and had no way to find out that information for us. FOR REAL!

We left the store.

We called on Monday and asked if the shelf was available because we didn't want to drive all that way again if it wasn't. We were told it would be ready for us in one hour. We returned to the store. THE SAME THREE PEOPLE WERE IN THE STORE WORKING. The man who said he couldn't help us was the one who wheeled the cabinet out. I was so incredibly choked I can't even express it. The SAME people who could not help us were the exact same people working when they were able to help us! What is that about?

As far as I am concerned the store should be closed on a holiday if the staff can't provide for customers the items they have advertised. The staff - with the exception of the paint section young lady - were VERY unhelpful and downright rude. If it were possible for me to have purchased this item without travelling over 3 hours to the next closest store I would not have returned to this location and I will avoid it at all costs from now on.


Teena in Toronto said...

I agree that stores should recognize holidays. Here the malls in the tourist areas are open ... most of the others are closed.

Unknown said...

A bad experience for sure, though isnt it more about crappy service than the hours they are opened?

Open or not is a business decision, and as someone who worked retail thru university I was thrilled they were open nights and holidays, cuz that was when I could get hours.

This was just crapola service, that is what they should apologise for and fix.

Anonymous said... just described customer service at EVERY store in Yellowknife. I get what you are saying for sure. That sort of stuff infuriates me. If you go to Canadian Tire in Yellowknife, you literally have to chase employees. You will find them texting in some dark recess of the store and the second they see you, they literally run away.

I have to say though, I don't agree with you on the holiday hours bit. I'm all for stuff being open 24hrs...except on Christmas...everything should be closed on Christmas...just cause!

JCB said...

Don't get me wrong. If a store is open 24 hours I LOVE it - and I am more likely to shop in the "non-traditional" hours just to avoid the people. I would just rather a store say they were closed on a holiday then say they were open and then provide LOUSY service.

I had another strage experience in Canadian tire one day. I was wearing a red shirt and I had a lady SCREAM at me for being loazy and avoiding her when she needed help! She thought I was a store employee!