Bad Retail Experience

01 December 2013 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is a story you may be able to relate to. Bear in mind we are in an age of being bombarded with EXCELLENT Customer service advertising. At least that is what all companies tell us. A good friend of mine decided to start a new business and share my office space. She did some on line research on what kind of a computer and accessories she needed as well as price ranges. She first decided to buy on line so she looks at the Staples webpage. What she wanted and needed was either out of stock or not available. She then decided to go to the local Staples store. In she goes with her list of items she wanted to purchase and of course there is no associate in sight other than the cashiers. By the way I was with her during this shopping spree, probably to carry her stuff. She asks for an Associate to help her. A very nice young man comes and proceeds to answer her questions and show her various options and products. After she had checked price and functionality, she says I will take this computer. The young man goes to the back to get her item. A 2nd Associate saw us standing for a while so she decided to come and see if she could help out. She asks us if needed any help and we said we were waiting for the computer we had picked out. She proceeds to go check why it is taking so long. She comes back with the young fella and we are told the computer is not in stock but that they had a re-furbished one (a return from someone else). My friend said no way. Again she looks at computers and picks a second one. That one was in stock. She also wanted a separate and larger monitor than the one on the laptop. She picks one on sale. It is out of stock. She picks a second monitor, more expensive and that is out of stock. Finally her 3rd pick was in stock. She also purchased 2 printers (one for the office and smaller mobile printer to travel with), a wireless keyboard and mouse, desk calculator and a QuickBooks software package. This was a total purchase of almost $ 2000.00. I loaded everything in the truck and we were off to the office.

       At the office she can’t wait to open the boxes and get her new equipment up and running. Following a day and half of plugging, reading, setting up, loading and whatever else, she finds the 2 printers are not compatible, the mouse and keyboard are not wireless and QuickBooks has additional charges to the initial set up. Would you believe the mobile printer was a returned item? Inside the box, the instructions and cd disk for the driver were missing instead she found personal correspondence and other papers belonging presumably to the previous buyer. Off to the store she goes to return her purchases and to buy what she really needed. She is now on day 3 of learning and getting everything set up to her liking. Her stress level is almost thru the roof with frustration. The store was not sympathetic to her level of dissatisfaction with the service and poor advice. She went on line to complain to Staples twice about her frustrating experience, lack of product in stock and lack/poor customer service. Any responses are yet to be received. I think she will eventually be OK but the whole experience was less than pleasant.

      As a customer you have certain basic expectations. My opinion is if you advertise a product on sale or not it should be in stock otherwise you should give the customer an amount for false advertising. Secondly the average customer is not a Techie therefore make sure you understand their needs and provide information to help them with their decision. Thirdly, have some compassion with a frustrated customer and if warranted be prepared to compensate them.

     Here is Gerry’s rule # 486. Any purchase will always be more than what you budgeted for and you will spend an excessive amount of time setting up, learning it, customizing it, reading instructions, understand it then finding the extra space for it. Finally you start wondering what your return on investment was.