August 26, 2012 – Two days ago, while shopping for jeans at Sears in the Rideau Centre in Ottawa,
I stumbled upon a great deal on a flat screen television.That particular outlet was closing and was deeply discounting merchandise.It was about 8:15 in the evening on a Friday.
As the television on sale was the floor display model, the young man who served me had informed me that the staff was not exactly sure if they could locate the remote control.I left him my home and cell numbers telling him that it wasn’t urgent that they look for it right now (in the last hour prior to closing, and besides, I’d need help to get it home so taking it home the next day worked for me too) but to call me should they find it. They most likely would have a sale.
Well that young man did happen to find it that evening and left a message on my home phone.
The following morning, he called again, on my cell this time (to make sure I got the message). I confirmed I was coming to pick it up.
While I was there to collect it, another person was interested in it (what timing, eh?). He was told that it was already sold (to me), it had been on hold.
I guess that that client spoke about the situation to someone because as I was at the cash register, fishing for my credit card to pay for it…Some lady comes up and with absolutely no knowledge of how waaaay over and beyonnd this young man has gone to provide me with exceptional customer service literally starts tearing a strip off him for having put the TV on hold. In public. In front of co-workers. It front of customers. On a Saturday afternoon. The area FULL of customers given the time of day AND major sale going on.
This young man (who used his good judgment to make a sale) is being berated and humiliated by this lady… in front of EVERYONE!
The reason: Apparently, as the objective is to liquidate all merchandise, there is to be no holding, of anything , for anyone — which struck me as odd because, on the evening prior, the television to the immediate left of the one I was buying had a: “Sold/On hold” sign on it.. but I digress.
I was horrified!
So much so that I actually did something about it.
I went right up to her, alone (to show the example), and told her that I had witnessed the way she had spoken to that young man and that frankly, I was offended.
Her reply: “Too bad!”
And she turned on her heels and started walking away from me!
I solicited her attention again: “I’m not finished.”
“Well, I’m going to the bathroom, so unless you wanna come with me…”
“No. I don’t want to come with you. But I do want to talk to you. I’ll be waiting by the cash.”
Of course, she did not return.
So I found out from the staff that this woman’s (for lack of a better word) name is Mary or Marie and she is not a Sears employee, but rather an employee of the company — name of which I also found out but won’t publish here — that was hired to manage to closing of the outlet…
I guess Mary feels she can power trip and treat the Sears staff, and the store’s customers, like crap because ultimately those to whom she reports have nothing to do with Sears.
Well, having nothing better to do with my time (smirk), I asked that the young man who served me’s superior come to the cash so that I could report Mary.
Now I don’t know if that lady has had a reign or terror since she’s been there, but that superior was VERY reluctant to call her back up. He made EVERY excuse in the book, but I was not budging until she got herself back up to the cash.
When she did, she LIED to the super about how she “told” (her exact words) the young man about the policy.
To which I replied: “Excuse me, but did you tell him something, or did you rather berate him in front of colleagues and customers? I was having an exceptional customer service experience, provided by that young man, until YOU came along and spoiled it.”
Well once again, she said something dismissive and just started walking to go hide in another room — right in front of the supervisor as well, which just confirms that she feels she can get away with it — but that did not stop me from reminding her: “You just can’t speak to people that way!”
What Mary does not know is that I obtained the number of customer complaints for Sears Canada as well as the company for whom she works and that I’ve already reported her behaviour to both.Maybe nothing will come of it, but at least I did the right thing.
Douglas Connors is a freelancer and actor based in Ottawa, Ontario