Thursday, March 29, 2012

Canada Computers' turn for the worse

I bought a power supply from Canada Computers at College and Spadina today. This is probably the most straightforward purchase you can make. The product I was buying had a mail-in-rebate (don't get me started on what a scam those things are...). I asked the clerk if I could have a second copy of the receipt printed, since I knew I'd have to send in a copy for the rebate. She said she couldn't do it, but that's not what irked me; it was the *way* she did it.

Me - "Oh, could you print me a second copy?"
Her - "No."

Ok, I'm spoiled by the rest of the customer service world where people are almost *too* nice. Still, she seemed a little rude, but I'm sort of used to it when I go shopping at Canada Computers (more on this later). I then began to walk out of the door, and realized it would be nice to get a copy of the rebate form.

Me - "Could you print me out a rebate form?"
Her - *scoff* "No"

I'm not exaggerating here. She actually laughed at me in the most condescending way possible. There was no mistake - the message of the laugh was "are you kidding me? I'm not going to waste any more time than I have to helping you".

I worked at Canada Computers in Kingston for about 4 months. I wouldn't say it's a glamorous job by any means, so I can sympathize with disgruntled attitudes. However, when we sold a product at the Kingston store it was policy to print out the rebate form for the customer. We had a super-cheap laser printer that we'd use for this purpose, and I'd say the $0.01 spent on this was well worth the favour given to the customer. I admit the store at College and Spadina has more sales and less store space, so a policy like this is probably harder to manage. You don't have to laugh at me, though.

Those who know me also know I'm a relatively chill guy most of the time; I'm not trying to inflate my character too much here, I just want to make clear I rarely if ever make a fuss of things like this. People before me (you know, those internet people) have complained like hell about the customer service at the Canada Computers. Customers keep coming back because they win on price. If you didn't have to pay shipping or wait a week, I'm sure online stores would demolish Canada Computers' sales volume, but those two costs aren't going away any time soon, but they're edging closer. The last bastion of the brick and mortar store is human contact.

Best Buy recently announced how bad they were doing, and it's really no surprise to me. It would be no surprise to me if Canada Computer had to contract too. I think the College and Spadina store has the luxury of behaving how they like because their sales out-perform most of their other stores two-fold (this fact was made quite obvious while working in Kingston). Working the cash is one of the more "esteemed" positions, but it seems grumpiness, ambivalence and a downright caustic attitude prevails among the senior members. While working at CC I never had a problem taking time to talk to people in a polite, candid way. Maybe it's something that come after working there for eons, but I think it's culture. Some coffee shops have more chipper baristas. Some Canada Computers have jerks at the cash. Lighten up or perish.

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