"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How to tell your customers 'you don't matter!'

This morning, I decided to pop over to the Best Buy in Gatineau to pick up a shredder and a set of DVDs. I went online first to make sure they had shredders in stock. At the last minute, I printed off the page showing the models and prices....

I went to Best Buy because it's conveniently located, has decent selection, tends to have the best prices, was offering a 'US pricing' sale on most merchandise, and I had a 5$ off reward coupon.

Upon arriving at the store, I looked up at the signs to get an idea of where shredders might be, but they offered no clue. I wandered around the store three times before stumbling on an associate. She said "We don't stock shredders." I replied that the site said they had some in stock and she shrugged. "Try the computer area," she said and then left.

So, I went back to the computer area and wandered around a bit, waiting for an associate to free up. I tried standing around the really expensive computers, but the associate in the section was too busy to help and told me to find someone else. So, I went across the store to the tv section and stood in front of the most expensive one there, pretending to be very interested in buying it. That still didn't bring help.

I decided to go get my DVDs then wander around the printers one more time before leaving. On the way to the printers, something made me walk up the keyboard aisle. Way at the end, on the shelf lowest to the ground, were three shredders. Two had prices, the one that interested me didn't. As I was about to whip out the sheet I'd printed with prices (aren't I a smart cookie?) an associate cut in front of me, causing me to fall backwards as I'd just been crouching, not kneeling. I don't think he even noticed I was there.

I managed to stand up with the shredder (I'm still weak from my surgery, remember) and made it up to the cash where no one thought to either bring me a cart or make me some room on a counter (not the hugest deal since the shredder wasn't that heavy once I got a grip on it).

After a few minutes, I made it to the cash. The cashier was the same girl who had brushed me off at the beginning and she off handedly mentioned that I'd found them. "Sans votre aide, ├ža fait dure" I retorted ("Without your (directed at staff in general) help, the store setup is pathetic"). She shrugged again and then stared blankly at my Rewards certificate. I told her that instructions on it said to scan all articles, then scan the certificate. She couldn't do that, though, since the certificate was in English and she doesn't read English. So, I had to wait for her to find an associate who reads English who could confirm what I said.

I came to the conclusion quite a while ago that this is the norm for Best Buy, Staples, Futureshop, Walmart, Zellers, Canadian Tire, etc. and that I'm just punishing myself if I walk out without buying, so I saw my transaction through to the end.

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