October 18, 2011

Will it or won't it?

I hate to give in the stereotypes and general assumptions, but right now I just can't fight it. I suppose when it's about a brand or store, it's not as bad. Right? Oh, Canadian Tire, how I hope you prove me wrong.

Canadian Tire really doesn't hold a good reputation amongst my circle of family and friends when it comes to service and smarts. More than once I've heard it called Crappy Tire, so that tells you something. Last night, I went by to make a purchase and had my very own Crappy Tire experience.

I was in the market for a new treadmill. Long story short, we used to own one and hold gym memberships. We have since cancelled gym memberships and the treadmill broke. That was ok while the {crappy} summer and fall weather was upon. However, I know thyself well. Well enough to know that as the winter winds whip around the corner, my outdoor running days are numbered. My options were to renew gym membership or purchase a treadmill. The treadmill won out. I saw a pretty decent one in the Canadian Crappy Tire flyer this week and decided to get 'er done.

Off I went, me and the boy. We happily went into the store and made our way to the fitness section in the back to check it out. Hmmmm, no sample treadmill on the floor. Maybe their out? Maybe I can get a rain check? Maybe it's on display somewhere else? Unfortunately, there was nary a service person to be found in the vicinity. Oh wait now, there's someone. Let's go and ask... wait now, sir, sir, I could use some help....sir?? Why are you turning around and walking the other way?? I'd heard people say that about service people in Canadian Tire, that they run when it looks like someone needs help, but I never believed it. Until now. I witnessed it with my own two eyes. Thanks Crappy Tire.

Never you mind, I will go to customer service for assistance, they can't run there. I line up behind the several other unsatisfied Crappy Tire customers with their various and sundry returns and concerns and wait. At this point, I will say my experience with the customer service desk was good. Nathan was very helpful. He told me there were plenty of treadmills in stock out back and how to go about purchasing one and having it delivered. Thank you Nathan, you were the only highlight of the trip.

Following Nathan's instructions I make my way to the auto parts cash, where apparently I could purchase my treadmill and arrange for either pick up or delivery. There, I wait in another line behind several more customers. Ironically none of which were making auto-related purchases. Anywho, after the three people in front of me are served, I push my cart containing Hudson up to the desk just as the cashier sits down and starts drinking from her bottle of water. I wait a moment, smile nicely, before she finally asks if I need help. My instinct was to say "no, I just thought I'd hang out here in line with a 6 month old for fun".

While that would have been fun, my self restraint was good and I just told her that I wanted to by this treadmill, shown in this flyer and I wanted to pay for it in this manner and have it delivered to my house. Clear, simple, straightforward. But seemingly confusing. It took her a minute to figure out whether or not there were actually any treadmills in stock, seeing as I didn't bring it to the cash. (I wanted to say I tried, but it didn't fit on the cart with the baby and all, but again restrained). Once she was able to confirm, we had to again sort out the payment method, apparently that information was lost during the database search. With that straightened away, she offered to page someone to bring me my treadmill. Sigh. Remember, I was having it delivered. "Oh" she says, "ok then" at which point she has to ask someone how to arrange a delivery.

Oh my, the process is clearly not common, Anyways, she figures out she has to complete another slip, a copy of which goes to me and a copy goes attached to the "product" aka my treadmill, which is still in the back somewhere. Hmmm, I'm really having doubts here. As she fills in the paperwork, I asked the obvious question of when it would be delivered. "Oh" she says, "I'm not sure". Full Stop. As politely as I could, I explain I'd like to know so I could a) arrange for someone to be there and b) so I wouldn't have to call the store and track it down. She finds another guy who seems to know more who tells me delivery depends on staffing, so it could be tomorrow or it could be three days from now. Sigh, well that's customer service for you now isn't it. Thanks Crappy Tire.

After I get some assurance it will be delivered by the end of the week, I ask the girl who I should call if the treadmill doesn't show up. She looks blank for a second as if it doesn't occur to her that it might not show up. And then she proceeds to give me the store manager's name. Not the delivery guy. Not the delivery supervisor or coordinator, not costumer service, but the manager. At least I get to go right to the top if I have to track down a missing treadmill.

I tell ya, if it wasn't a decent treadmill and a very nice sale price with a cheap delivery fee, I woulda just left it all right there. It was an interesting experience that only served to affirm the Canadian Tire stereotype for me. I'm keeping the faith it will arrive sometime between now or Friday. What do you think, will it or won't it?

I also found this a little funny. I guess customer service woes won't stop them from expanding.

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