Here’s my email to Ellen Roseman of the Toronto Star:
I’ve followed your column and blog for years and have read some pretty unbelievable stories on poor customer service.
I’m not claiming to have the worst consumer story but being told I’m a piece of garbage by a customer service manager has to rank up there.
I went shopping at the Real Canadian Superstore (Don Mills location) today for about 2.5 hrs.
I’ve recently moved into a new apartment and need everything, from furniture, to applicances, to housewares, to bath items, cleaning products, etc.
The only possession I came to the new apt. with is my clothing.
So this weekend RCS was advertising that they would price match competitors lower priced identical items AND have a NO TAX event.
I figured I could save a lot of money by taking advantage of these promos.
I arrived at the store at 9am and went to the electronics department first, as I need a t.v. and dvd player, etc.
I spoke to a very nice young man named Muhammed who assisted me with some questions on the tv I planned on buying.
Because I drive a compact car, I asked him what time the store closed as I would have to come back with a family member’s pick-up truck to load the tv.
I bought a few things from that department and paid for them directly there. I’ll mention the receipt # for the benefit of RCS customer service department to verify my transaction and time I was in the store (trans id 2049. lane 34.)
I spent the next two hours picking up smaller items as I was leaving larger items for when I had the pick-up truck. I also made a list of everything I would be buying later, including a Christmas tree and all the decorations that I need for my little daughter and me.
When I got to the self check-out, I left the price match items for last and advised the customer service rep (Alex) that monitors the self check-outs of my price match items.
I bought some Dove shampoo and conditioner that were on sale at Pharma Plus for $2.99.
Alex refused to honour the price because the flyer mentioned “selected types”. I pointed out to him the pictures of the product in the flyer were identical to the items I was trying to buy. He still refused.
I mentioned that with such a policy to not honour prices if “selected types” is printed pretty much excludes any kind of price matching since the vast majority of manufacturers have multiple varieties of the same brand (flavour, scent, etc).
It would be nearly impossible to actually honour a price match unless the manufacturer only made one type of a product.
So he continued to refuse and I wasn’t about to argue with him.
I gave him a Canadian Tire flyer to price match a Vileda ProMist mop which I didn’t expect to encounter any price matching problems.
He refused again because he now claimed Canadian Tire’s regular price was $2 more than RCS regular price. I told him that’s irrelevant and of course retailers will not have identical prices on every item.
He then said the mop I had was different than the one in the picture and that he know there is a second type of ProMist.
I told him there is only one, and the picture is identical. (I checked the Vileda website tonight and they only have one ProMist mop)
He called for a price check.
No one came. He shouted out to another person, who refused to do the check because it wasn’t his department. He called again, and again.
I waited for about 10 minutes before someone from that department came over.
I don’t recall her name but she even told him it’s the identical item, and he tried to use his “logic” of different regular prices to support his case.
She decided to go see if there was another type being sold.
The whole event took so long and it was such a frustrating scenario to save $2 that I decided to leave the mop and the entire purchase (about $150 but that was a fraction of what I would’ve spent over the course of the weekend sale).
I walked over to the customer service counter to request to speak to a manager. As I waited there, the girl who did the price check approached with another man.
He gruffly asked to see my flyer (he had the mop with him) and I told him I wasn’t interested in buying it anylonger.
He said “fine”.
I said here’s the flyer if you want to see it for your own benefit. He shoved the flyer back at me saying, “I don’t need it.”
At that point I was somewhat taken back by his attitude and aggression in shoving the flyer at me.
He walked away.
I got tired of waiting (yet again) to speak to the CSR so I decided to leave the store.
As I was walking away, the same man came towards me and so I asked him what his title is.
He refused to tell me and asked what I want.
I told him I wanted his title.
He said he’s the Customer Service Manager.
I told him he didn’t act in a very customer service friendly way by shoving the flyer at me.
He started off accusing me of waving my arms in his face and that I threw the flyer at him.
As I told him I did not waive my arms in his face, he walked away from me and said, “You’re a piece of garbage!”
I said excuse me, and he repeated it.
I said “thanks for saying that” and walked away, with every intention of complaining to head office.
As I walked away, he continued to yell at me in front of customers, saying he’s “got my number” and trying to get me to come back to challenge him.
Ellen, I’m 5′7″ and 150lbs. I’m not a big man by any stretch of the imagination.
This manager was at least 6′7″ and well over 250lbs.
His “look” is one of intimidation.
I certainly did not waive my arms in front of him, did not “throw” my flyer at him, and I acted in a reasonable manner by walking away from his anger.
Obviously I’m shocked at his behaviour, especially given he’s a customer service manager.
The way I see it, he had many opportunities to rectify my unpleasant experience and try to retain me as a customer. He would’ve have first gone to the self-checkout expecting me to be there. He would’ve seen that I abandoned my purchase. Obviously Alex told him I walked over to the Customer Service Counter.
At that point he could’ve asked me if there was a reason I abandoned my purchase and what could he do to resolve it. Instead he chose to be indifferent at the lost sale and aggressive towards me. And at this point he hasn’t yet insulted me or tried to incite a physical altercation.
I’m hoping that the security cameras caught the whole interaction because they will see that I did not do the things he accused me of, they will see him shoving the flyer at me, they will see him walking away from me as I tried talking to him, and they will see his anger, aggression, and yelling at me as I left the store.
Ellen, I don’t think Mr. Weston would ever condone such behaviour from an employee.
It’s one thing to be having a “bad” day and maybe not be at your best, but to insult a customer, yell at him, and try to incite an altercation is beyond acceptable behaviour.
Please forward my complaint to a high level manager at RCS/Loblaws as the company needs to be aware of this person.
His name is William.
I do apologise for the lengthy email but I like to be detailed for the benefit of all.
BTW, I went to a competitor to purchase my tv. They offered to beat the RCS sale by 5%and gave me some freebies to make up for the “no tax” savings I would’ve received at RCS.
Needless to say, I’m not planning on doing any more shopping at RCS until this issue is resolved. They’ve lost out on at least $2000 in sales that I would’ve spent there this weekend alone.
Thank you for your time and effort.