Just between us

What has happened to the notion of customer service?

Remember the days when the price of gas was slightly lower at a self-serve station as compared with the price at a full-service station?

It was a trade-off. A cheaper price or the convenience of having an attendant fill your tank. The consumer made the choice.

Not any more. The retail world has changed. Now, there is no more trade-off. In the ongoing battle to keep prices in check, the idea of servicing the client has slipped by the wayside. It has been happening for a while now. And most consumers have accepted this “find it yourself” approach.

But have we hit a tipping point?

What’s up with the growing “I don’t give a damn” attitude that greets you at some stores now?

A few examples to illustrate the point:

I dropped by the Super C store in Vaudreuil the other night. I needed a few things. At the cash, I dutifully put the five or six items that were in my cart onto the conveyer belt. The surly young cashier sneered and scanned. There was no hello/bonjour, smile or pleasantries of any sort. She noticed my debit card in hand, punched a few keys and tapped the Interac terminal. There were no words. As I inserted by card I asked if I could have a bag.

And bam!

You would have thought I had just told her I had run over her dog.

She let me have it. Why didn’t I ask for a bag earlier? It’s not her job to check. The transaction has happened. If I want a bag, I have to pay. And how, she asked with an attitude that would befit a prison guard who had taken a punch from an inmate during a yard brawl, did I expect to pay for it? It costs five cents. Did I have change? Because she was not going to let me pay for it with my debit card.

I told her to calm down, reached into my pocket and gave her a nickel.

Perhaps unsatisfied she was not going to go a few rounds over this, she whipped out a bag and threw it at me. Yes, she threw it.

What was that?

I decided then and there I would never go to that Super C store again.

But it’s not always nasty. Sometimes you’re greeted with unapologetic incompetence. And you are expected to accept it.

A case in point: Walked into the Kitchen Place in Vaudreuil on Boxing Day. I was immediately greeted by a very pleasant woman who handed me a card that said everything in the store was 20-per-cent off. The woman also handed me a sheet in case I was mathematically challenged. It listed a page full of prices and the corresponding new prices once the 20-per-cent cut was applied.

All I bought was a $5.95 pizza cutter. I stood in line. Presented by discount card to the cashier, a pleasant girl who rang up the order.

When no discount was included, I casually asked whether everything was on sale. The cashier said yes, and smiled. So I pointed out that I was charged full price. It took her a second and then the light went on. She was so sorry. She attempted to redo the transaction, but couldn’t. The manager was called over.

The manager, a very pleasant woman, too, said she was so sorry. But the computer had “frozen them out.” They could not cancel or reprocess the sale. But if I kept my bill and returned after Dec. 28, they would give me my discount.

There was no attempt to make amends. The manager told the cashier that everything is on sale. The cashier said she knew that. Yet, somehow, neither one of them seemed to care that I was not getting my discount.

Remember when shopping used to be fun?

I would love to read your comments.

Brenda O’Farrell

76 comments

  1. By Anonymous

    yes, we have all had our customer service horror stories to tell but since I’ve been in retail I’ve really come to appreciate the other side of the counter! As for your second example, I feel for the clerk because i’m sure it was very busy on Boxing day, these are often 1 day sales and because computers really do make these transactions harder. I believe it when the system “froze them out” because its alot easier to redo the transaction for a customer than have her leave mad.

     

  2. By Tim Landry

    You are TOTALLY correct – I remember walking into a bank and being told by a teller “You could do that at the machine” Well – if we did not come in the teller would not have a job. I remember someone who had his office in Place du Canada and he did not receive Canada Post for a few days. When he called he was told that “PLace du Canada” is not a valid address and the postmen could not find it. DOH – it is (approximately) a 40 storey building – and at that time it was ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE POST OFFICE.

    All of this to say that sometimes you DO get treated well – and when that happens today it is such a welcoming experience that you want to keep coming back. Do not know if you can mention locations but praise to Bureau en Gros on Cote Vertu – East Side Mario’s at Place Vertu – A&W in Rockland Mall – and the Bank of Montreal on Westminster. It is an absolute delight to go there

     

  3. By Anonymous

    You are so right , where has customer service gone???? did you ever go to the express cash at Metro, Pointe Claire Plaza? there’s a young man there is so similar to the cashier in the Super C Vaudreuil, no hello, no nothing he does not even offer a bag….it seems that attitude only distances customers from that store, it also seems that most of the younger cashiers have the same attitude , they must hate their jobs no interest only in the pay cheque I guess.

    But when you are greeted with a smile and some interest, it makes you forget all those rude ones

     

  4. By Anonymous

    Now its mass one stop shopping for hundreds of people at the same store, the small grocery store that handled a handful of people daily where everyone knew your name is no more. It the nature of the beast.

  5. We’re in the process of a bathroom renovation.  Not knowing one end of a hammer from the other or better still what it’s purpose is, we absolutley require guidance.

    Here’s the report on the big-box stores.  3 out of 5 young men who we almost had to tackle to get attention hummed and hawed, started to say something and bingo!  Their cell phone rang.  (I think they somehow program them to do this  when they’re in a bit of a pickle).  Without so much as an “Excuse me, I’ll be right back”, they just sauntred off, Never to return.  talking with the manager got us some sympathy but not much action.    Whatever happened to finishing with one thing with a customer and moving on to the next thing. 

    We finally got some good “shower” advice at a smaller and more expensive store, but, you know what?  Sometime’s it’s worth it. 

    When I do have to get something in one of those “other” stores I tell them if a cell phone goes off I am out of there!

    Rudeness:  I often ask if they’ve looked for some type of work that might make them happier???  Oh, if looks could kill. 

  6. By Anonymous

    You should have not given her the money and left the pizza cutter there and her stuck with their ‘frozen computer’ it would unfreeze pretty fast then. And the girl at Super C? I would’ve called the manager to complain.

  7. In addition to a previous comment, there are a lot of employee tales about horrible customers, probably at least as many as consumers have of bad employees.

    My favorite site for is Not Always Right.

    There are thousands of stories on there detailing customers who are overtly trying to screw with employees, who are ridiculously clueless (like, never graduated from kindergarden clueless), and consumers who are verbally and in some cases physically abusive.

    And I’d wager almost anyone who’s worked in retail for over a year has had experiences with at least one of those types.

     

    What I’ve found to be true most times, is that cashiers reflect the mood of the consumer they’re serving, or have recently served. I’m almost always treated nicely, by acting nicely, even when the person in line in front of me was rude, and was rudely treated.

     

  8. I could not agree more. Customer service is a thing of the past.

    Nevertheless we should be careful where to put the blame or direct the responsibility .

    The  “surly young cashier” was hired and kept on staff by the owner/manager . “the computer had “frozen them out.” They could not cancel or reprocess the sale” .The equipment was bought/installed by the owner of the store and kept there.

    The people we , as consumers, come in contact with are not necessaraly the individuals responsible for the lack of “customer disservice”.If they are tolerated or accepted it is NOT their fault. The responsibility lies above them!!

    Business owners should remember that in the term “customer service” the two words “customer” and “service” !!

    If you do not give the”service” your ” customers” want , you have NO BUSINESS!!

    Kind regards

    from someone who has worke with the public for “many”years

  9. By Barbara K

    It’s been several years that my husband and I have noticed the steady decline of service on the island of Montreal. Vfrom scouring faces who will only serve you in French downtown to gum chewing, texting, “my parents are forcing me to be here” part-timers in Fairview.  I’d use to comment on bad service, now we’re flabbergasted by good service.  While working retail, our mystery shoppers caught every missed thank you and welcome…and we knew about it. Today we have decided to shop on Laval. At least we can still find some semblance of courtesy and a true want to serve….and in English.

  10. By Anonymous

    I am fairly sure that under Quebec’s Consumer protection law, which is supposed to be posted in all stores, that your pizza cutter should be free as it is under $10.00 as you were overcharged.   

  11. I totaly agree that good customer service is a thing of the past. I think it has something to do with the fact that the big chain stores are hiring people with no experience because that is all they can get at minimum wage salaries. The workers are expected to work long hours, odd hours, weekends, on call. The department managers are always under pressure to keep things going well no matter what. All this leds up to lousy customer service. I blame it all on upper management greed.

  12. I am a manager in a retail chain of 50 stores in quebec. As far as customer service is concerned i couldn’t agree more with you,

    i often ask myself how some people were even brought up? isn’t it just common courtesy to greet people with a smile or is being polite something that is no longer a priority. 

    in regards to nonexistant customer service, have you ever had a problem with bell canada? WOW that’s I don’t give a damn service. but in your second example of the kitchen shop, technology sometimes seems to have a mind of its own. when systems decide to bug up or freeze, the people in the store often have no way of remedying the problem and have to depend on head office to do so. 

    as the women were very friendly and sorry to boot…. i’m not sure i understand what else they could have done for you except still offer the discount or reimburse you the 20% when they are able to. That being said though, i myself have had system problems with alot of new programs installed i’ve had my fare share of headaches. The manager should have at least tried to contact someone to help with this system problem but beyond that as far as systems are concerned managers are not always able to fix the problem. 

    but i agree with you in regards to attitude in stores. i have so many examples of i don’t give a sh@@ about you service i won’t list all of them but one thing i say too often is, ” you sure can tell who’s on commission and who’s not” 

    being courteous and actually doing your job …service.. is i think a thing of the past.

     

     

  13. By Mary Jane

    Speaking of Super C : A sticker crazy bunch of whackjobs. Their robotic way of putting those ugly orange stickers on everything bigger than a milk carton. I always voice my desire not to become a orange sticker home to the cashier by telling her from the very start that I have bags for everything and please do not put sticker on anything. Well Mrs. Robot will forget within 15 seconds of my request and pull out her roll of anti-theft device !!!! and slap in on my item faster than a shoot out at the ok corral.

    My second problem is with Canadian Tire ; I believe their motto should be : At Canadian Tire, where every customer is a potential shoplifter. First do they really want you there, with the size of the entrance turnstyless to the blocked exits (unless you wait in line and sneak out like a bandit), I often pull those glass half-doors open and a few times I was commanded by a pimple face chewy that it’s not permitted to do so. Oh my goodness what shall become of me !!!!

    Also, to Costco members, let’s all band together and not wait like idiots when we are trying to exit the store, just to prove we are above suspicion and save our honor by showing our receipt to an associate that has 2 feet cimented with a felt pen glued to their fingers. If you are ever with a shopping buddy, try switching the receipt with them. I did that once (my receipt was for 35 items and the other was for 5 items) and I was cleared to exit with a stroke of the pen. It was funny. Once I decided that it was ridiculous for me to wait behind at least 25 people to get my receipt approved, and boldly tried to walk past them. I have never seen a supervisor appear so quickly.

    I am a boycotter of many places that treat me with any sort of disrespect, let’s ban together and get back to the day when the client came first.

  14. By Klugmonster

    Only a woman would say that shopping was/is fun!  That is why men get in and get out.  As for service at a gas station, where oh where did all the help go?  Now I smell like the attendant and he sits behind his cash register.  Which by the way is almost a thing of the past as we now all charge at the pump.  They have even figured out how to get a car wash into the mix and you never, not once, deal with a human!

  15. We saw the worst Customer Service retailer on CBC’s Marketplace last week and realize that the big box stores are horrible at customer service.  They have huge stores with little staff.  When you find staff, they’re not knowledgeable or interested in helping you.  Most of us try to get the information from knowledgeable specialty retailers and then go to large big box retailers or online to shop price and purchase at the cheapest price possible.  Many of my neighbours go down to the States to purchase big items and then go to the local store to try and get serviced.  How could this be???  How do you expect the specialty retailer to offer good and sustained customer service with this kind of mentality.

    This Christmas, I purchased a digital camera for my daughter from L.L. Lozeau, a specialty camera retailer on ST-Hubert street in Montreal.  The camera was more expensive at Lozeau than Best Buy or Future Shop, however, I wanted to encourage this specialty retailer because he had the knowledgeable staff and great customer service.  I could say the same thing in sporting goods.  I always purchase my goods from one of the “La Source du Sport” stores in the Montreal area because of the friendly knowledgeable staff.

    You want good customer service, encourage the local specialty stores that believe in great customer service. You would be surprised, you could still get some good deals. 

     

  16. By Anonymous

    I had an issue at two differnt Zellers stores when I asked if they could check to see if a specific product was available at another store. I got the “Deer in the headlights” look and was told to call their “Customer Service” phone line. When I asked what that phone number was, I was told to “Look it up on-line”.

     

     

  17. By Tony Mangione

    Hi,

     

    I agree with this article 100%. Bad customer service reflects poorly on the company and some don’t really care about that. Take Futureshop for instance. My brother had to buy a laptop at the FS in Anjou a couple of years ago. We all know that the Futureshop employees get paid commission if you buy their extended warranties. My brother knew exactly what laptop he wanted and just wanted to buy it and leave. A salesrep created the invoice for him and automatically included the extended warranty (which was over 33% of the price of the laptop)! My brother had to argue with the guy to remove it! The salesrep literally started stomping his foot on the floor and whining that my brother took up so much of his time and that “he potentially lost commission off of other sales.” Amazing!

    I had a bad experience at The Brick in Anjou where the salesrep automatically included the extended warranty as well (a $400 fridge ended up costing over $600). He had even printed the bill before I got to look at the price! He was “shocked” that I didn’t want the warranty and was bullish about leaving the bill the way it was.

    With the economy the way it is, and with the ease of price comparisons and online shopping, you would think customer service would be a major priority to attract customers. Prices are the same everywhere so my wife and I firmly believe that customer service is the deciding factor for which store to spend our money at. One bad experience is all it takes for is to eliminate a store.

    On the other hand though, my Mom works for Walmart and she has some horror stories about how nasty clients can be. Granted, it is not fair for all clients to be treated roughly when a customer service agent has a bad day, but my Mom will tell you stories about verbal abuse, theft and false accusations.She is the sweetest, calmest person in the world and has already been employee of the month (took her a few months while other employees have been there for years without the honor) but clients literally yell at her because she can’t give them better prices (clients believe they can haggle at Walmart or even lie about which product is on special). My Mom is almost perfectly trilingual (English, French and Italian) and she wears buttons that say so as well. Clients love the fact that they can speak to her in their own language (and Walmart absolutely encourages this to promote better customer service) yet she has been harrased by Francophones saying that in Quebec she must only speak French. Complaints have been made but at least her Walmart responds that they encourage multilingualism to better serve clients.You can’t win either way.

    Anyway, I’m not making a case for sloppy customer service but I believe if people in general are just more pleasant then everyone wins. Being pleasant is contagious.

    TM

     

  18. Last week I was at The Keg downtown and had a problem with my meal. Without even asking they did not even charge me for the meal. When I sent the restaurent an email regarding my experiance at the resataurent within 2 hours I recieved a call from the manager of The Keg. I was amazed at how fast they responded to my compalint and the responce was amazing from the manager.  My hat off to The Keg !!

  19. Customer service is what we have made of it.  We shop at the big box stores, the Walmart’s, Canadian Tire, Maxi, etc…  We have made these store what they are because in today’s society, we want it and we want it NOW!  While yes, there are rude clerks, cashiers and such that work in these stores, these places are run they way they are because we as a society want everything instantly.  I used to remember walking into the mom and pop grocery, hardware stores, etc and being treated with respect and having a helping attitude when something went wrong.  They also had the power to get things done when your item didn’t work properly by putting pressure on the supplier.  Those days are gone.  I’ ve also seen customers treat strore staff with tremendous disrespect.  I myself have been guilty of this, and have apologized profusely to the clerk when it was pointed out to me.  While I won’t tolerate having a bag thrown at me, I do address my concerns either to store management or in the case of larger companies, their higher ups.  We need to demand better customer service and stop tolerating the inadequacies, if that means that we stop going to Walmart, so be it.  These stores will never change unless we take our business elsewhere and while we’re at it, we should be lobbying the government for more competition (i.e. cable and phone companies!).  If there is more competition, we’ll have better prices and perhaps, better customer service.

  20. WOW!  finally an article so interesting.  i am a customer service Manager for a boutique hotel in montreal and presently receiving top honors and comments from guest for our excellent service.  i strive in teaching my employees how important this is, and often give them examples of bad experiences i get on a daily basis!  can you believe once at a canadian tire teh manager told me i am to busy to help you so conisder this like a self serve type store!!!  what???? is he for real?  thats Crappy tire Blainville!  i regularly also catch my employees doing this i would never want to see or recieve if i was the customer and i approach them while theyre doing it and advise them!  i feel the staff  appreciates my management style and are very respectful of me and also love their jobs.  i find that having a manager that is a little stricter is always better and actually encourages you to work that much harder!

    Good luck out there in the world of customer service!  i wish you all smiles from the next cashiers, receptionnists etc you may encounter!

    jenna

  21. By Anonymous

    I am not at all surprised by your negative experience at the Super C in Vaudreuil. I have occasionally shopped there over the past year, and not once was I greeted at the cash. I typically get a meek ‘bonjour’ after I have said ‘hello’. My transaction gets processed, the cashier will tell me the total in French, takes my $, then she’s on to the next. Most times the cashiers are having conversations amongst themselves over my head while I am at the cash. Once a supervisor was called, and she was just as unpleasant as the cashier. I have shopped elsewhere ever since. GOOD customer service is a thing of the past. BASIC customer service is what I expect nowadays and even that sometimes is hard to come by.

  22. By Anonymous

    But as a manager, it’s also your job to tell your employees to smile, greet, and be helpful. If you don’t tell them they’re not going to do it.

    It’s wrong I know…. as it should come naturally even if they are making minimum wage. Everybody is so entitled today – especially young people- they don’t think they have to work hard at anything and should be given everything.

  23. By Anonymous

    We went to visit a museum in the US recently.  I forgot to purchase the postcard my daughter wanted on the way out.  I called them when we got back home and explained that we simply forgot and I would like to purchase a postcard and hoped they could mail it to me, I would pick up the postage costs.  They asked which postcard she wanted and when I said I didn’t know, she offered to email me a few photos later the same day and then I could pick which one I wanted.  Wow! But that’s not all.  The next day I had not received an email so I called back to check if they had the correct email address.  I had to leave a message because the person I spoke to was not working at the moment and the museum was undergoing renovations.  Well the person actually called me right back, explained how they had problems with their computer and offered to send me 3 postcards in the mail — Free!  I received them a week later.  Now that’s customer service!

  24. By Anonymous

    Hello, I just want to point out that Bad customer service is a local thing here in quebec and not a big box store thing. I shop at Walmart, Costco, Best Buy, etc in Burlington VT and the customer service is amazing. Same thing when I go to Ottawa. But at my local stores in laval the staff is extremely rude. Must be something in the air!

  25. I couldn’t agree more… When i shop anywhere but Quebec it’s almost a pleasant experience!  They actually have more than 3 cashes open!

  26. By Ruben Kaufman

    I agree that employees in retail stores should greet customers and be helpful. However, smiling a false smile is a demand that further demeans underpaid employees whose efforts are generally not appreciated by management. I used to work in a specialty grocery and the most enjoyable part of my job, aside from my friendships with fellow workers, was customer service. I just liked helping people. It was fulfilling. If I was speaking with a customer and for whatever reason in the exchange a smile came to my face well then that was fine, of course, and the customer would appreciate it, as I do when I am a customer. But let’s be real people. False smiles from others turn me off. Someone being pleasant even if they’re not smiling is quite enough for me.

  27. By Anonymous

    was reimburse her on the spot.  Just because the computer couldn’t compute the transaction properly the manager should have been able to do it.  Especially with a pre-written paper already stating the amount.  Yes, this would make an extra step on the spot and during cash out but that’s what customer service often entails during a mishap.

     

  28. By Anonymous

    and express line, I have always been treated nicely and even been given bags without charge.  Then again, I am not there often nor have I ever been served by a young man.

     

  29. By Anonymous

    SOOOO true! People in every other province are so much nicer! I have had wonderful shopping experiences in both Kingtson, ON and Calgary, AB. I think it has to do a lot with the language barrier. Separtists resent us for speaking English, and we resent them for refusing to speak to us in English. Personally, as someone who works in customer service, I no longer allow them to speak to me in French, I pretend I don’t understand! If I have to speak to you in YOUR language while I work, you should have to speak to me in MY language while YOU work.

  30. By Anonymous

    As much as I agree that most people who live in Quebec should speak BOTH English and French.  We are a BILINGUAL province, not a uniligual province.  I do speak both language, but prefer to be served in English.  Why?  Because this is the language which I am strongest at.  I was educated in English, learned how to read and write in English first and then learned how to read and write in French.  When I receive a service I like to understand EVERYTHING that I am being told or asked.  What is so wrong in that?

    What about the tourist who visit Quebec and shop here in our fine province?  Are they expected to know and understand the French language when they vacation here?  If that is the attitude, then maybe the Francophones who visit the States should learn how to speak in English.  IMHO.

  31. By Anonymous

    Wow I cannot believe how many comments on here about being angry people don’t speak to you in French. French is the language of business here, they are not required to speak English to have a job in Quebec. Meanwhile you live here, yet you can’t be bothered to learn the official language. It’s not just separatists. Plenty of proud Canadians who have no desire to leave are quite resentful of anglophones who cannot be bothered to learn to function in the official language of the province. It’s the arrogance of the unilingual anglophone that’s disgusting here, not the customer service.

  32.  

    This is in response to “Younger cashiers must hate their
    jobs”, published, January 18, 2012.

    As a regular shopper at the Metro store in question, I have
    always been treated courteously and greeted with a friendly “hello”, “thank
    you, “have a good day”, etc.  I believe
    that I know about whom the writer is referring, and this young man has always
    been very friendly and polite with me.  I
    have also thought that working at the express cash is rather difficult, as the
    clerk has to have eyes in the back of his head. 
    He has to check out customers, as well as serve those arriving at the
    counter with bottle returns, etc. 
    Whichever ones he is serving, the other line has to wait, and someone is
    bound to get impatient.

    The letter from “A reader” was personal and hurtful.  If this writer had written a letter about
    customer service in general, it would be one thing, but to practically name
    someone is totally unfair and unacceptable. 
    I spoke to a supervisor at this store, and she told me that all the
    employees had seen this letter, including the young man, and all were upset
    over these accusations.

    I guess “A reader” was having a bad day, and decided to take
    it out on someone else.  He or she did
    not even have the decency to sign his or her own name.  I am also disappointed that the Gazette would
    print such accusations without any sort of proof whatsoever.

    J. Spirig

     

  33. By Madame Morticia

    Good day,

    Every time I enter Super C in Vaudreuil – which is getting to be less and less, I must confess – this article springs to my mind. It appears that the Vaudreuil location of Super C is improperly managed on many levels. There are many problems with the store.

    To add several points, and also to keep this article about the assorted problems with Super C in Vaudreuil relevant (because it was and continues to be), let me share the following. A few weeks ago, eggs were supposed to be on sale at Super C in Vaudreuil, 2 dozen eggs for $5.00. I found out about the deal on the Thursday morning that it came out in the Super C flyer, and went immediately to Super C in Vaudreuil after work on Thursday afternoon (circa 3PM) in order to take advantage. THERE WERE NONE OF THE ADVERTISED EGGS AVAILABLE. A group of customers to the store, including myself, found ourselves at the egg fridge with confused looks on our faces as we stared at EMPTY shelves. This was NOT the first time I have been deceived into going into the Super C in Vaudreuil in hopes of taking advantage of an advertised special, only to discover a stock-out or lack of the advertised item, even on the VERY SAME DAY the advertised special is supposed to take effect. In another incident, I wanted some pot roast which the Super C flyer advertised as being on special for $1.99/Lb. That time, I think I “waited” until the Saturday following the Thursday when the special began before going to Super C in Vaudreuil in an attempt to take advantage. Again, nothing but an empty meat refrigerator and a handmade sign from “The Management” expressing apologies for no more of the advertised pot roasts being available in stock. Because I have noted numerous incidents of stock-outs on advertised specials at Super C in Vaudreuil, it’s getting to the point where I don’t feel it’s even worth my time to go to the store any longer in pursuit of items advertised in the flyer, as they are often not available as they should be. Of course, my option is to request a “rain check” and return at a later date to take advantage of the deal, however that entails yet another trip to Super C at another date when they may / may not have identical or comparable items, remembering about the “rain check” weeks later, and not to mention the attitude I’ve gotten in the past from the staff at the counter when I’ve troubled to ask them to kindly create a “rain check” for me. One time, an employee argued with me and insisted the “rain check” could be for one item only!

    There are many, many assorted problems with the Vaudreuil location of Super C. It is becoming increasingly frustrating to shop there, and I have now begun avoiding that store as much as possible. This article mentioning Super C in Vaudreuil is still extremely relevant. I really wish someone from Super C management would trouble to read it, and address the issues at the Vaudreuil store. Meanwhile, if I have any more “experiences” there when I go (which is getting to be less and less nowadays), I will try to post them here.

    Avoid Super C in Vaudreuil!

  34. By Anonymous

    Spoken like someone who has never worked in customer service.

     

    People who work in customer service have absolutely no power, yet get absolutely all of the crap that the customer wants to throw at the company. Are some people behind the counter rude or surly? Probably. But I’m willing to bet that a lot more people in front of it are even ruder and surlier.

    Also, 20% off a 6$ purchase? Suck it up.

  35. It rarely surprises me whenever I see yet another Canadian company go out of business. On one hand you have companies whose bottom line is profit, and more profit, companies who treat employees worse than slaves. On the other hand, there are people who allow the stresses of the workplace to make them forget that “the customer is the one who puts food on your table”. 

    If there were no custpmers, YOU wouldn’t have a job.

    I used to work in a call center, and YES there were the rude abusive customers. But guess what? I would love to be employed and would prefer to work face-to-face with clients. WHY? Because, I believe in treating a customer the way I would like to be treated: with respect, and consideration of the customer’s needs.

    Regrettably, common courtesy and politeness is as dead as the dodo. No matter how upset I may be with a service, I do not think it right to take it out on the person who is trying to help me: the customer service agent.

    Surly customers, can indeed affect a sales-person’s mood … IF he/she lets them!

    I wish I could get a job to earn my keep.

    Those rude young salespeople don’t know how lucky they are to have a job in these tough times!

     

  36. By Anonymous

    I completely agree with you.

    On one hand Customer Service is no longer what it used to be.  More and more times we have to deal with rude people who just do not care whether you are happy, they have the ‘this is the way it is attitude’ , but there are MANY of us who still CARE and still will try to do whatever they can in their power to help.

    However, on the other side of the counter, there tends to be more and more RUDE CUSTOMERS out there.  I have encountered many specifically from a CERTAIN area (which will remain nameless, because it will cause a stir).  No matter what the Customer Service Agent will try to help, there is just no pleasing these customers.  I have been VERBALLY abused by many (18 Years experience in Customer Service) just because they didn’t get what they want and didn’t NOW.  I have seen customers resort a girl to tears because of the abuse.  There are clients out there that get HUFFY if their question is not answered immediately when they walk in.

    I could go on and on regarding this subject, but will just say in short the the GENERAL PUBLIC ITSELF is just getting meaner.  There is no more common courtesy towards one an another anymore.

  37. By Anonymous

    I agree with you too! I’ve been a cashier for a very long time (at a pharmacy and now at a grocery store) and it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly rude customers can be. Apparently because i’m working at a shitty minimum wage job, i deserve no respect?! I am very friendly, bilingual, and helpful towards every customer. But when I say hello and they’re too busy on their cellphones to even respond to me? Seriously? I am a human being, not just some robot cashier. I deserve to be treated with the same respect as anybody else. I often do entire transactions where the customer and i do not exchange words if they are on their cellphones. They don’t even look at me, as if i’m not even there. Even when I do speak to them, they just don’t answer. Then they have the nerve to apologize to the person they’re on the phone with, rather than to me for being extremely rude. Same goes for people who are listening to music with headphones when they come to the cash. And then when I tell them their total, and they can’t hear me and ask what? Well, maybe you’d hear me better if you weren’t blaring your music. 

    There are also customers who, cellphoneless and headphoneless, just flatout don’t answer me. I repeat everything in both english and french throughout the entire transaction, and they just say nothing. Seriously? It’s like talking to a wall, and makes my job extremely unpleasant.

    I understand that in a lot of places, customer service has definitely downgraded. Because I try and provide great customer service to my customers, i notice when it’s flawed in other stores. However, i’ve also noticed that most of the time, if you’re friendly/polite enough to the cashier, he or she is a lot more likely to be equally as friendly to you. It’s a two-way street. Just because we’re being paid to be there, doesn’t mean we don’t deserve respect.

  38. By Anonymous

    You should have reported the super c cashier to the manager right there and then. Maybe she’s a protected union member and  so long as no one (like yourself) complaines, they can’t build up a file to get rid of her.

  39. By Anonymous

    When no discount was included, I casually asked whether everything was on sale. The cashier said yes, and smiled. So I pointed out that I was charged full price. It took here a second and then the light went on. She was so sorry. She attempted to redo the transaction, but couldn’t. The manager was called over.

    The manager, a very pleasant woman, too, said she was so sorry. But the computer had “frozen them out.” They could not cancel or reprocess the sale. But if I kept my bill and returned after Dec. 28, they would give me my discount.

    A VERY SIMILAR THING HAPPENED TO ME AT THE BODY SHOP IN THE FAIRVIEW SHOPPING CENTRE.

    I USED TO BE A LOYAL CLIENT OF THE BODY SHOP IN THE FAIRVIEW SHOPPING CENTRE.  THAT IS NO LONGER THE CASE.

    WE NEED TO SHOW OUR DISPLEASURE WITH POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE BY POINTING OUT WHAT OCCURED TO MANAGEMENT (OR HIGHER UP) OF THE COMPANY THAT WE FEEL HAS WRONGED US.  WE NEED TO LET THEM KNOW THAT POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS WHY WE WILL NO LONGER BE SHOPPING AT THAT ESTABLISHMENT.  AT THE SAME TIME WE NEED TO REMIND THEM THAT WITHOUT CUSTOMERS SHOPPING AT THEIR ESTABLISHMENT, THEIR JOBS WILL INEVITABLY BE LOST.

    AS A CONSUMER, I WILL NOT STAND FOR ANYTHING LESS THAN IMPECABLE CUSTOMER SERVICE.  IF WE ALL AGREE TO SETTLE FOR NOTHING LESS, AND AS CONSUMERS MAKE GOOD ON OUR THREATS TO NOT SUPPORT THESE BUSINESSES, THEN OVER TIME THE SITUATION SHOULD DRASTICALLY IMPROVE.

  40. By Anonymous

    I agree with you that customer service has gotten worse. I always start with a friendly hello/bonjour. I’m usually met with pleasantness in return but there are those that I think are unhappy in their jobs or their lives and just can’t muster up the energy it takes to be kind. But this attitude is not the reserve of people in customer service – there seems to be an increasing incivility in the way people treat one another. I’ve often greeted people in passing only to be completed ignored or looked at with suspicion. And all the pedestrian/car/cyclist conflicts. This city is becoming an increasingly unpleasant place to live. 

  41. By Anonymous

    As the subject says, consumers truly want it this way.

    The ‘very little to no’ customer service isn’t what we SAY we want by any means, but when it comes down to it, when the choice is either: go to a company like walmart get next to no customer service while paying the cheaper price, or find a place that does offer customer service, end up paying more for something, the majority go to walmart. They get pushed around, ignored by workers, they complain about the service they’ve received, but they still go there, because for them the price means more than the service.

    Yes, I know there are some that avoid companies like walmart like the plague, who only shop at locally owned and operated stores, offering only local products, but you have to face the facts: those people aren’t even close to a majority, or even a significant minority of the population.

    A company like walmart wasn’t started as a ‘so much customer service it’ll knock your socks off’ and then slowly switch to low cost, low frills store it is today. It was always low cost, low frills, figure it out yourself cuz we aren’t helping you. And people wanted that, and people bought there, and they made walmart the biggest company in the world.

    Then there are companies who provide customer service, but (in my opinion) usually negative customer service. The biggest example for me is Future shop, the people there usually know what they’re talking about, but they’re aggressive for a sale and for any addons they can find, because they get a commission on it, so I don’t particularly like going there for advice and help deciding on a purchase, they usually just want the most expensive thing to be sold.

    The flip side of that coin would be best buy (Ironically the same company), which doesn’t offer a commission, and makes it harder for customers to find someone to help them (the salespeople have no incentive to hunt out for customers), and often don’t know much about what they’re talking about. Again, because they often don’t really know what they’re talking about, I don’t like going there for customer service/advice.

    When I need advice or help in making a purchase decision, I go to the internet, which (if you know where to look) is vastly superior to even the best in-store customer service. Once I have that information I go to the store, get what I want, and get out.

    The attitudes of the cashier though, eh, it depends on the person. Most I’ve seen are nice, the ones I’ve seen who were miserable to be served by never seemed to be still around within a few weeks. But again, as long as I (and most people I would wager) are getting the better price, the cashiers attitude doesn’t affect whether we’ll go back there. I will grant that we will SAY we’ll never go back there, but we will, and no, that’s not just me being hypocritical, it’s pretty close to everyone.

    I’m not sure what happened to you with the pizza cutter was bad customer service. It actually sounded amazing, but the fact of life is that computers don’t always work, and the person can be as nice as they want, but the computer still won’t work. That’s not a sign of incompetence, it’s a sign of computers (any type of computers) can be. The absolute BEST computer technician in the world will have their system crash. It’s inevitable. The competence will decrease the occurrence to a point, but there is no such thing as a ’0% failure rate’ on ANY type of computer or computer system.

     

    And apparently my comment is almost as long as your original post >.>

  42. totally agree with this article. customer service has become a thing of the past as we grow more and more individualistic and selfish

  43. When I was younger I worked for a retail chain downtown, you could imagine the number of tourists that would walk through the doors on a daily basis. I would go out of my way to serve them, I would speak French, English, Italian and even Spanish some days to help the client and make my commission.  Nowadays I can barely get anyone to look at me when I walk into a shop, God forbid they speak to me in my language of choice when I ask for help, you are made to feel like they are doing you a favor by helping you and you owe them.  My rule now is: I don’t care if the dress I’m trying on is perfect, if you don’t even “TRY” to speak to me in english, you are not getting the sale, I will walk away!  Last week I took my daughter to McDonalds and ordered a hamburger happy meal, ketchup only, the cashier could not understand what I was asking for…for crying out loud, she had to call the manager over, who was rather embrassed by the whole thing, she gave me an apple pie to make up for it (example of good customer service)!  I agree there are some irrate clients out there, doesn’t mean that everyone has to pay for there ill mannered behavior!  If you can’t muster up a smile and a Bonjour when someone comes into your store or walks up to your cash then you are in the wrong business…go get a job digging holes so you won’t have to be pleasant to anyone but yourself!

  44. By Anonymous

    Honestly, you live in Quebec and workers here do not need to be bilingual to work at McDonald’s for crying out loud. How do you live here and not know how to order a burger w/o ketchup in French? Why are you making this poor kid working minimum wage in a crap job’s life difficult because you can’t figure out that French is the language of business here?

  45. By Anonymous

    Speaking of “customer service” (or LACK OF), one should try their hand at the Ticket Booth at the Montmorency Metro station in Laval. I know I’m a little off the map with this scenario, but here ladies and gentlemen we have a prime example of what it means to be severely inept in the customer service department. It has happened a few times when I have gone to purchase metro tickets (not too hard a task) and have been served by the absolute most miserable woman I have met in my entire life. I am a student and therefore take the metro often to get to school. Let me just tell you this woman not only evidently despises her job, she also seems to have it out for everyone who comes by her till. Recently, I went to purchase two metro tickets ($6). When I walked up to the window, she stared at me with a scowl all the while chewing her gum like maniac, and uttered what sounded like a french-gibberish “Ouin.”. I asked, politely (and in French) for my two metro tickets. Her reply was a quick “Six” and THAT’S it. I slide a ten dollar bill under her glass window (which I’m sure in her case must be bulletproof judging by her appalingly excellent demeanor) and she literally shot me two tickets and my change without even looking at me or saying another word. I told her to have a nice day and she dillydallied on her little computer without acknowledgement. All in all, I think I’ve seen pigs in the pig pen behave with better manners, and that’s being kind!

  46. I bought a pair of soccer shoes for my daugther at Sports Expert. She wore them for one game, on a turf field.  After the game she was miserable. The cut of the shoe was so poor that it dug into the top of her foot as she ran.  I went back to Sports Expert to talk about the problem; she definitely could not wear the cleats to play. After some deliberation with the manager, the cashier gave me a FULL credit.

    SPORTS EXPERT = great customer service.

  47. By Anonymous

    Remember the days when workers were paid a living wage? Remember when employment was considered honourable? Remember when families could support themselves on less than 3 or more full- and part-time jobs? Remember those days before the top 100 Canadians by income bracket made less than 195 times the average worker?

    Talk to me about the real issues and reasons behind your waning fun, and I may return to your column the day you return to Super C.

  48. Trips to grocery stores in recent months have had me grumbling under my breath as store employees have rudely pushed past me and other shoppers as if they are the entitled ones, have blocked aisles with their carts/trolleys placed carelessly in the middle of the aisles without regard to shoppers who have to maneouver their carts around the obstacles, have stood clustered in groups having a great chat/guffaw/social time while customers stood around looking for service, etc…   It’s nice to see that they feel they have “ownership” of their place of employment but they should remember that they are there to serve the customer  and if they alienate the customer, they are likely putting themselves out of a job.  This applies especially to the checkout clerks who exhibit about as much (or even less) courtesy/personality and usefulness as the automated self-serve checkout kiosks.  And while on the subject of checkout clerks — aren’t they supposed to bag the groceries?  If I start bagging my own groceries to speed things up for myself and the people behind me in line, I am always unimpressed with the clerks (most of them) who stand there impatiently tapping their feet while I finish bagging after paying — it doesn’t cross their minds that, just perhaps, they ought to be doing their job & at least helping with the bagging?  I am nearing the point where I am going to refuse to bag my groceries unless it’s at a clearly designated self-serve check out.  

    Oh wait, but should I buy some overpriced fragile fruit (eg. tomatoes/peaches/nectarines)  if I don’t bag my own stuff, the checkout person is likely to  skid it down the conveyor  and then slam-dunk it into the bag (under 5 lbs of potatoes and/or 4 litres of milk) and I’ll have pre-made compost when I get home….. Hmmmmm.

  49. By Diggitydag

    I would like to point out that in in our consumer based society we want our products, we want them available 7/24 and we want to pay the lowest price . How exactly do you think that is possible? Its because the employees are being paid minimum wage, no paid breaks, no medical benefits and have to be available for shift work that changes with little or no warning. If anyone says  that if the people don’t like the conditions go elsewhere … where exactly do you want them to go? Have you seen the unemployment rates for people between the ages of 18 and 25? We have created this situation by our constant demand for goods and services and now we complain that its not what we want? Who is prepared to pay the gas station owner the extra money to have service? Who is willing to give up their Wallmart prices so that they can go back to the big department stores and have all the services they can get? No one… because all of those places of have closed since no one wanted to pay extra for the service. So bottom line… you get what you pay for. And for the record.. I don’t agree or defend such obvious rude and inappropriate behavior. I just wanted to point out that its partly  our own fault and maybe if we want to make things better we should consider investing in it. Shop at your local neighborhood retailers and service providers. Pay a little extra for something and enjoy the experience. So remember the next time you are dodging a vicious plastic bag… you have other options.

  50. I was at the Canadian Tire store in Saint-Laurent. The one in Place Vertu. My mom was looking for a product. She couldn’t find it. She asked 3 floor people where it is and to show us where it is. All 3 floor people didn’t understand a wood of english and said “Je ne comprends pas”. (I don’t understand you). My mom got fed up and gave them a piece of her mind. Then we walked out of the store.

     

    Forever 21 in Fairview and Downtown Montreal is a great place to shop. The staff is very friendly and they always greet you in French and English.

  51. By Anonymous

    Are you kidding?? Everytime I have been to Forever 21 in Fairview, there have been countless sales people, who do nothing, no greeting no help, nothing.

  52. By Pointe Claire

     

    As hard as I write this, and with anger most will have,
    plain and simple it’s the parents fault!

    I don’t see how lowering cost allows for the opportunity to
    be rude.

    As a child in the home I was raised, manners and etiquette
    were taught. I teach our daughter this today still.

    In the time of my education, and while using public
    transport, I can still re-call on our student cards and on the inside of the
    buses, notices to remind all under 18 years old that chairs were for adults and
    children stand! Yep we had this. But I don’t see this here.

    Yes you are right I am not Canadian, rather I am Australian.
    And we are the ones with the notorious reputation for being rude! Funny hey.

    It is not hard to show your children how to be respectful
    and how to show etiquette towards a lady or man, especially our older
    generations. I find it so rewarding when other parents and friends comment to
    us on how polite our daughter is. Oh by the way, when she goes to work this
    will continue from the foundation at our home. So instead of kicking them out
    on the road, bored and off to the movies to waist time, or smoke what they can
    get their hands on, why not teach our youth how to become adults like we were
    in the past. Or was this not how you were taught either.

    Respect, teach it, learn it, practice it.

     

  53. By Anonymous

    My first ever job was at McDonald’s.  Bonjour, Hello – Because we are in Quebec.  When telling the customer the price there was a blinking SMILE SMILE SMILE on the screen.  And we were told during our reviews if we didn’t smile enough, not allowed any nail polish, no white socks.  We complained about the dangerously greasy floors and the army like training but in the end, it would benefit us.  McDonald’s gave us the best ever traning.   So much that now we notice everything now every time we walk into any retail store or any restaurant.  

    St-Hubert on St-Charles a few weeks ago.   The waitress was running around sweating on a Tuesday night.  It was dead.  She was so lost.   Poor woman.  It took forever… and then everything arrived at the same time.   We ate.   I go to the washroom.  Wash my hands.  No drying paper.  My hands are wet and i refuse to dry them with that toilet paper.  I get out of the bathroom with both my hands in the air and walk around the front to see if maybe i can find a napkin or 2 – Because mine had fallen on the floor on the waitress had not replaced it.   Another waitress sees me and asks what I’m looking for.  I tell her there’s no paper in the bathroom.  She gives me about 20 napkins.  “Is that enough?”  Thank you.   I sit back down.    Our waitress comes by our table – Her: How was everything?  Me: It was great….  oh by the way there’s no drying paper in the bathroom.  -  Her:  Oh which one?               At that point i really wondered if a lot of people walk in the opposite’ sex bathroom ?  I looked her straight in the face and i said : the men’s bathroom.  She looked at me like she wasn’t sure ….but didn’t say anything.   I guess i wasn’t showing enough clevage that evening!

    I had to stop at a gas station in St-Laurent – i had absolutely no gas left.   I wasn’t sure if it was with service or not.   And there were already 2 other cars, so I get out the car and pull out the pump….the guy arrives running…. how much ?   I say 40 bucks please.  He replies:  40 plus 2     I say no no just 40$ regular.   He says  no no  40$ plus 2$ tip.   He had already started pumping.   Me:  2$ tip ?    Him: yes that’s how it works here.    My sister was sitting in the passenger seat and simply could not believe it.  At that point i felt so akward i could not tell him to stop pumping and I would take my business somewhere else where they ACCEPT tips (not CHARGE tips). When i went in to pay Interac  – he said : Ok it’s your first time.  He gave me a pack of gum and waived his 2$ tip.   I smiled, said thank you, never went back.   Now i wonder if they are really allowed to do that.  Isn’t that illegal ?

    I’m spearing you my recent adventures with Tim Horton’s and Pizza Hut. 

    The standards in customer service just aren’t the same anymore.  Maybe the customer wants it that way.  Indeed we are in a world where everybody wants everything NOW.  Including 15 year olds who want the cars, the bling and everything else NOW.  Hell with work.!!….who needs to work 40 hours a week ?!   Pffff…  that’s not how I Want to spend my life.  Well ….everyone wants to make a quick buck, sure.   It’s the attitude behind it.

    Who should we blame?  The new “je m’en foutisme” generation?  The parents?   The owners?  The ones who train the younger ones ?

    My mother would always tell me: it’s all in the attitude!   Now i know.  Now i understand that my attitude reflects my lifestyle and my relationships.

       Hey! What if we all started, as customers, giving that service WE would expect…but as a customer.  

    Smile too much and please and thank yous for everything?!! 

    Walk in the store and shout an overnice smiling BONJOUR! How ya doing today!?!   to the cashier who hasn’t even looked at you yet.  Thank you so much for directing me to that website.  Thank you so much for giving me the correct change back.  Thank you very much for helping finding those shoes i had been looking for.  not just a “thanks “  …. but a very sincere THANK YOU….  I’ll come back to this store because of YOUR service! Say it! Make them feel special. Make them feel like they deserve that raise.

    Concentrate and apply solutions ….. cuz it’s not gonna get any better.

  54. By Anonymous

    Since we’re talking about good and bad examples of customer service, I’d like to add a comment here commending our IGA (Poirier) here in St. Lazare – one of the best examples of a well-run business with EXCELLENT customer service I’ve ever encountered anywhere.  Whenever you go in, the managers are always visible, working around the store and are always ready and happy to assist you.  I had a full cart of groceries one time and I was scouring the store for a missing ingredient, when one of the managers happened by and offered to assist.  He then went off to scour the store aisles for me to try and locate the item!  When they’re not walking the aisles or working behind the counters, you can see the managers at the front of the store bagging customers’ groceries like the bag boys do – showing they’re not “too good” to pitch in.  IGA Poirier in St. Lazare has never charged me for a bag or two if I’ve fogotten to bring mine from home or if I’ve forgotten to bring enough bags with me to contain my purchases.  The cashiers are excellent, always smiling & greeting every single customer, very very polite and bilingual.  The store always has a sufficient number of cashes open at any given time, to process the volume of customers.  Sometimes there are line-ups but only when the store is super-busy (and it’s busy a lot since the service is so top-notch) and when there are line ups, it’s not because there aren’t enough cashes open – I can’t believe the number of times I’ve been in a store and had to wait in a long lineup because only one cash was open (like at Pharmaprix St. Lazare). The store always has a lot of staff on-hand, they’re not trying to cheap out and cut costs by understaffing, and as far as I’ve experienced, ALL the staff are excellent.  I’ve had nothing but great experiences with IGA.

    Switch your grocery shopping to the IGA in St. Lazare, encourage that store, they work hard and they deserve it.  Plus which it’s closer to home anyway!

  55.  

    Its a rare thing these days but !!  Off Island where gas is .10 cheeper Ile Perrot..

    les Quatre Coins Depanneur : Linda an the  Night shift !

    la belle provience  don quichotte : Mallory and her crew (the stunning read head ) always smiling !!

    canadain tire dorion : Paint Department- 100% pro

    harmony music st anne : Kelly best guitar tech in Montreal

    st anne marine : Kerry & Kathern & Michell

    Its there you just  have to know where to go !!

  56. It’s definitely a Montreal symptom this lack of proper customer service. The U.S. has the art of customer service down pat! And I may add that I don’t live in the West Island but I often refer to it as the “Stressed Island”; What happened to the West Island I knew as a young boy? It seems times have changed and some of the most unpleasant people I’ve met, living in Montreal my whole life, live in the “Stressed Island”. Rude drivers, miserable, indebted people, it’s as though you all resent each other, being slaves to your car and slaves to the rat race. Two words for the rude West Islanders: Opt out! Opt out of the iPhones, the Canada Goose Jackets, the Starbucks, the Tim Horton’s, the BMW, the Cadillac and the manic race to spend your money and keep up with your neighbours.

    I’m truly sorry if this post offends anyone and I know it’s not representative of the West Island as a whole. To the polite drivers who don’t tailgate in a three lane or two lane road/highway when I drive in the right lane, thank you. To the truly wealthy West Islanders who exude class and proper manners, thank you.

  57. I for one has to agree with you 100%.  In the last few years I have grown to despise the West Island.  It used to be a good place with friendly people.  Now it’s a place where a friendly smile is far and few between.  Thank you is rarely heard in the West Island, the patrons are mostly impatient and want everything their way or not at all.  I work for the public in the West Island and encounter this kind of attitude EVERY DAY.  The West Island has become Stressed Island.  What ever happened to the days when the West Islanders were a friendly bunch.

  58. By Ask for the Manager

    Just curious, did you ask for the manager before exiting Super C? How can customer service be improved if people do not bring it to the attention of the superiors? The “bad” service will go on and on if everyone just simply walks out.

  59. You know what? You are absolutly right! Something needs to change and the only power we have is being able make our own changes, so I’m gonna go ahead and be that CRAZY nice! Lead by example, show that next generation how it’s done.

  60. I am surprised about the service received at Super-C.  I frequently shop there, and have been happy with personable service.  I was there today – could not find an on-sale item.  An employee stocking shelves checked for it, and then went in the back and took time to look.  Polite, helpful.  Asked for raincheck.  No problem – how many would I like…. All very pleasant and helpful.  Perhaps the manager did not know about that one employee….

  61. The US does NOT have customer service down pat. Lack of customer service is a worldwide problem. in the US, I have never seen so many rude, incompetent workers in my life. Nobody knows anything anymore and they don’t want to do the work to find out. I am sooo sick of deaing with idiots everday i go shopping. The real question should be, “What happened to common courtesy and common sense?”

  62. By Registered user

    “The U.S.has the art of customer service down pat”???

    You must be either deranged or kidding.  Customer service is the very rare exception — these days it’s customer torture.

  63. By Anonymous

    I had a terrible experience at our very own Pharmaprix here in St. Lazare.  I visited Pharmaprix in St. Lazare in order to complete some shopping as well as renew
    a prescription which I currently had on file there.  After
    completing my shopping and obtaining a renewal on my prescription, I
    proceeded to the cash registers in order to pay for my items.  Long
    lines were present at both of the main cash registers, so I decided to
    try and pay for my items instead at the beauty / cosmetic counter.  After
    waiting my turn in the (smaller) line there, I approached the register
    with my items in order to pay.  I remarked to the cashier that it
    appeared the store was extremely disorganized on that day, particularly
    the main cash registers.  I was informed that they had “just gotten new
    cash registers two weeks ago” and I was then rudely advised that if I
    was not happy with the situation, I could take my business to another
    pharmacy.  Surprised and disgusted by this attitude from the Pharmaprix
    staff member, I immediately left all of my items at the register and
    proceeded to exit the pharmacy as suggested, indeed taking my business
    to another pharmacy as the Pharmaprix St. Lazare staff member suggested that I do. 

    There are three pharmacies in St. Lazare to choose from.

    Rude, belligerent treatment of customers to a store
    will surely not encourage repeat business, and indeed, I have never returned to the Pharmaprix St. Lazare location, even to refill my prescription.  I took my
    business elsewhere – as was suggested I do by the Pharmaprix cashier
    during my visit to the store. 

    Talking back to, challenging, and being argumentative with customers is the surest way to lose them, as well as to garner bad publicity for your establishment. 

  64. By Anonymous

    Another comment to add to your article Brenda, some posters agree that it’s society in general that has detriorated in terms of kindness, courtesy and common manners.  I AGREE COMPLETELY!!!  I cannot believe the trashy way people nowadays behave.  Any notion of “do unto others” seems to have gone completely out the window and the prevailing mentality nowadays appears to be ME, ME, ME.  I feel like people only do what they think will benefit THEM and them alone with no regard to kindness to others.

    Is this not a symptom of our deteriorating society, in which the rich are getting constantly richer on the backs of the poor, the middle class?  Greed is the new norm, not sharing the wealth / helping others out!!!  It seems like if people can step on someone else to get ahead or take from someone to enrich themselves, they will surely do it, and this at the upper echelons of society having a trickle-down effect.  It’s becoming more a kill-or-be-killed world than ever before. 

    In my grandparents time, behaving the way I see people behaving today would be absolutely unconscionable. 

  65. By Anonymous (original commenter)

    When I was working in retail, I tried my absolute best to give the best customer service humanly possible. Management didn’t give us very many tools to do this with, and the longer you work behind the counter, the more disenchanted with it you become. People treat you like you’re part of the cash register – they don’t respond when you talk to them, in either English or French (and get ANGRY when you continue to say things in both languages), or they throw their money at you. I even had one woman chuck a can of dog food at my head when I told her that she misread the shelf price – the price sticker on it had the real price. Good thing I’m quick at ducking!

    On top of all of the garbage we have to deal with, we’re paid peanuts, we often don’t get the breaks we’re supposed to (especially not in smaller companies), often wind up with crappy shifts and almost ALWAYS have to work weekends. Oh, and no benefits, either. Maybe a tiny discount from the store you work for. Retail is one of the most miserable jobs you can have – ESPECIALLY if it’s discount retail. Higher end, you might have better luck, but unless you’re a super-attractive, perfectly bilingual person who has been working in retail for 10 years, good luck getting one of those jobs. And they often come with commissions.

    I’m currently disabled, so retail work is unlikely to happen in the near future. But my experiences working in retail are enough to show me how to treat people behind the counter. There’s a saying that goes ‘Don’t judge a person by how they treat you. Judge them by how they treat the waitress.”

    http://notalwaysright.com/ &nbsp; <– This is a website just full of exactly the kinds of stupid and rude that we have to deal with.

  66. By Anonymous5

    Get over yourself. The whole world works in English, so it would benefit everyone to learn it, if you want to be successful. Quebec needs to wake up, but that discussion is for another day! I have had bad customer service in both languages so it is the attitude not the language specifically.

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