Tag Archives: Galen Weston Jr.

Is Retail Customer Service a Myth?

Only Child contemplating bad customer service

I’m beginning to wonder if some retail outlets are now operating under a hidden slogan. Something along the lines of  “The customer is never right; but we are” or “We do as we wish and the hell with customer service.”

My recent experiences in two big retail chain stores are making me wonde.

 

Is this the new wave of customer service?

First off – Shoppers Drug Mart. Double Whammy here.

Shoppers has the penchant for suddenly stopping carrying certain products, which is their prerogative.  But when it isn’t across the board with all stores and when it gets even pickier, i.e., one selection of a particular product at one Shoppers’ store, you begin to wonder what’s the idea behind it.

I was in my local Shoppers last week to buy a specific product on sale that week – PC tinned pink salmon. I had bought it last month and before that at this particular Shoppers, but it wasn’t there last week. PC tinned sockeye salmon and one other PC tinned salmon were available, but not on sale. There was no space and no price sign (sale or otherwise) for the pink salmon. So I talked to the manager – he checked and that branch is no longer carrying the pink salmon but he gave me a rain cheque and clarified that I could buy the salmon at another Shoppers Drug Mart. I said it was too hot to walk to Woodbine (the next nearest Shoppers) and I wasn’t friendly about it.

The second whammy. Another customer and I were looking for help with products and there were no clerks around in the store (except in makeup and checkout). So, the other customer boldly opened the “Employees only” door and called out – twice she had to do it. And I stuck my head in and said “me too.” The other customer claimed she had been waiting an hour  for someone to bring her some Sprite pops cans. I think she was exaggerating – but I do remember someone asking for some pop earlier as I went about collecting what I wanted to buy. The store manager finally came out and told her they were out of Sprite. You can imagine her reply…and I don’t blame her.

Over the weekend in  my local No Frills grocery store, they were not only down to about a dozen bananas of dubious quality, when I took my four purchases to the express checkout I ran into grief. Two of  the purchases – two containers of I Can’t Believe it’s not butter were on sale at another grocery store, so I had that store’s flyer to do a price match – something No Frills does. Imagine my dismay when the young clerk said they don’t do price matching anymore at the express checkout. I said, “I didn’t see any sign for that.” He pointed to a tiny sign posted  up on the side of the debit machine.

Huh? By then you are way in the checkout counter with one person behind you, putting her groceries down. I pointed this out to the clerk and that I had only four items. And I finished with “It might help if you put the sign up right at the front so people can see it before they put down their groceries.”

He didn’t make me go to another cashier and honoured my price match. But he got his just desserts, thanks to the lady right after me in the checkout. Never have I seen what goes around comes around happen so fast;  because if this price match is now a no-no at Express to save time, well the lady after me just foiled any quick move through the cash with a price check – a dispute in the price of strawberries.

Mentally  I was cheering her on.

And you may know, both No frills and Shoppers Drug Mart are part of the big Loblaw chain owned by Galen Weston Jr  since 2006, and who in 2017 t00k over as CEO of the  big parent company  George Weston Ltd. from his father. Galen Weston Sr. Junior is worth 9.3 billion according to a Wikipedia article on him.

Is this the new way he is doing business? Make it difficult for the customer?

I’ll have him know that the competitions, the Rexall drug store chains are making waves in Ontario. And there is another grocery chain, Metro,  that owns Food Basics as well.

Better watch out Mr.  Big Business. Your competition has some better customer service tactics. No Frills doesn’t offer rain cheques, but Food Basics does.

What are some of the “no” or “bad cust0mer service issues you’ve run into lately?

Let’s start  posting comments here.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Customer Service, George Weston Limited, Loblaw chain, Shoppers Drug Mart and No Frills

Only Child looks at new way of grocery shopping

vegetables-for-saleDo you like to pick out your fresh fruit and bread yourself at the grocery store? Do you hate crowded grocery stores and long line-ups at the checkout?

Loblaw has started a pilot project called “click and collect” to fix the former but you give up the personal touch. For a small fee, you can pre-order your groceries at certain Loblaw stores online using your smart phone or computer. But, you still have to go through Loblaw’s products online to choose, then go to the store to pick up your groceries, although the store’s personal shopper will bring it to your car. The scenario could even get as silly as you sitting in your car in the grocery parking lot and ordering your groceries from your i-phone. Doesn’t make sense to me. If I’m going to order groceries online from home, I want the store to deliver them to my door. I still have to pay extra either way. I also like to choose the fresh products myself. And what about if the store is out of a product that is not on sale. Can’t get a rain cheque for that.

When I was growing up we had three grocery stores within walking distance to choose from, although we lost one to a beer store. Still two left. Many people walked to grocery stores and wheeled their purchases in a bundle buggy. That’s what my late mom did except when she sent me to pick up a few things such as bread and milk. I made a point of shopping at Loblaw then because they had a huge magazine rack in the veggie and fruit department. I liked to stand there and flip through the movie star magazines and sometimes I even bought one.

After Dad died, Mom sold the house and we moved into a nearby two-bedroom apartment. I was working then so got into the grocery-shopping act. As I write in my memoir

I’m giving her part of my salary to pay for the food and with her help, I’m learning to plan menus and do a grocery list, based on the specials at the different grocery stores. I wheel the bundle buggy up the street to the IGA and sometimes if I’m early enough I don’t need the buggy – they will deliver. Or I go further up the street to the Loblaw’s. (Excerpted from You can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, Copyright 2014,  Sharon A. Crawford.)

Back then you ordered (by phone) from the Sears or Eaton’s catalogues and not food except maybe Christmas cake and candies. For groceries, you got off your derriere and went into the store, picked out your food, etc., went through the check-out and brought your groceries home. The only deliveries to your door were bread, milk and ice. Yes, I said “ice.” One of the neighbours down the street still had ice delivered – this was in the mid-1950s.

Methinks this new Loblaw’ trial project caters to people with cars, and smart phones, too. Although you can order from your home computer. But news flash Mr. Galen Weston Jr. and other big whigs at Loblaw’s. Many of us use public transit and our feet to bring our groceries home. If you are going to go the pre-order route, why not add in the delivery? Other grocery stores do – like Longo through Grocery Gateway.

Otherwise it is like having half the ingredients, half the service, half the experience.

And it is still work for the customer.

For stories on this new service go to

http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/10/24/loblaw_launches_clickandcollect_service.html

and

http://metronews.ca/news/canada/1164433/loblaws-preparing-drive-thru-groceries-pilot-project/

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1950s, Fresh produce, Grocery Shopping, Loblaw Click and Collect pilot project, Sharon A. Crawford, Shopping