Here’s the short story.
Whatever you do, do not buy one at Canadian Tire.
I admit it, I was in a hurry.
We’d done our homework and knew we wanted the Garmin 60C.
We quickly checked the web for availability and that our local Canadian Tire Store (North Vancouver) had one in stock.
We trotted down only to discover the sporting good counter to be a total mess of boxes, papers, and assorted detritus – and no staff person to be found. We pushed the electronic call button. After 20 minutes, someone finally showed up.
We told him what we wanted and he pulled out the box and away we went.
Customer wait time = 21 minutes. Time spent with customer = 1 minute.
The next day was Sunday, and while looking for some information on software for the unit (the clerk at CT didn’t have a clue about any) I came across my new favourite store, Deakin Equipment.
Not only did they have software, they had the same unit for 50 dollars LESS, plus a 25 dollar one-time coupon. These stores are a 10 minute drive apart.
What I should have done was return the GPS at CT and buy the one at Deakin. It was a Sunday, and Deakin was closed.
My son Matthew had noticed a ‘price gaurantee’ sign at CT, so I called, they said said YES, just bring down proof of a lower price.
So off we went again.
15 minutes in line at Customer Service, and we’re told that the guarantee is only if you show them the lower price BEFORE you buy something.
Huh ? I look up at the guarantee sign directly in front of me. It’s posted on the wall. It doesn’t say that.
I point out this anomaly to the clerk. Besides, I had called first and was told they would honour the price guarantee.
She checks. Yes, ok, we’ll make an exception.
And exception ? At this point, I’m finding customer service to be a tad customer annoying.
Here’s the exact text of the sign (I made them give me a copy)
Price Match Guarantee
Canadian Tire will match any competitor’s price on an identical item AND give customers an extra 10% of the lower price in Canadian Tire “money”.
The competitor’s lower price must be verifiable (advertised price, flyer, phone call, etc.)
Whether an item is ‘identical’ will be determined by looking at:
– product features
Any questions over whether an item is ‘identical’ will be resolved on a case-by-case basis by the Dealer, Store Manger, General Manager or other appointed Manager.
The Price Match Guarantee program applices to compitor’s regular and sale prices.
Exceptions to the Price Match Guarantee program are:
labour, competitors’s clearance, bankruptcies, volume discounts, mail-in rebates, wholesale prices not available to the general public, live goods, web-based competitors, propane tank refills.
Thank you for bringing this item to our attention. Your assistanace will help Canadian Tire price our products more competitively.
So, the clerk takes my credit card and refunds me my 50$.
“But wait” says I, “What about the 10% extra in Canadian Tire money.”
For those of you from away, CT money is worth par at CT stores. This is going to be almost 45 dollars I can spent right here, right now.
Another pause from the clerk. She looks at me like I’m a complete idiot.
She tells me I do not get the CT money because I used a credit card to pay for my purchase.
I look at the Price Match Guarantee sign again.
Now I’m annoyed, but I’m calm. After all, I am in the right.
I ask her to show me where the policy explains this new wrinkle. “Nowhere” she says, “it’s always been that way.”
At this point, the clerk actually removes the sign from the wall. She’s literally peeling it off the wall. The Guess Who’s “Undone” is running through my mind.
Ok. Time to get serious.
I ask to see a manager.
There are now about 10 people in line behind me.
I’ve now been at the so-called customer service desk for 34 minutes.
Manager “Blair” (not his real name) shows up. “Sorry, can’t do it”. We go through ‘what about the sign’ questions again. I calmly ask him to explain to me why they do not adhere to their publicly posted policy (which is now no longer actually posted…)
Blair explains there is nothing he can do. I’m flabergasted, but I’m calm. There are now 15 people in line behind me. I ask Blair for his name, and a copy of the sign. He actually makes a photocopy of the sign for me right then and there.
Then Blair has a brainstorm. If I pay with cash or debit I can get my CT money. He starts to walk away.
I pull out my secret weapon. The debit card. Hey, I’m no flakey customer. I’ve got money IN THE BANK!
I’m now handed back with the clerk who issues a huge sigh, and says: “This is going to take awhile”. Gee, I’m so surprised.
It’s now 40 minutes and counting.
Much heavy sighing and muttering. Ms. Helpful counts out my CT money in (and I am not kidding) denomination of 1’s (18 of them) and the rest in .25 cent and .50 cent denominations. She’s got a wad of CT money 3 inches high on the counter.
Total time invested: 52 minutes. Total refund: 50 real dollars, 49.20 in Canadian tire.
Since I’ve got this useless CT money, I actually go back to the sports counter, wait another 15 minutes for someone to show up, so that I can buy what I later find out is discontinued map software for the Garmin.
At the checkout, the clerk freaks out at the tiny denominations of CT money, and I explain that I just got them from her co-worker over at customer service.
Incredibly, she won’t take it or count it and insists on getting someone from customer service to confirm the amount, even though it is ACTUALLY PRINTED ON MY RECEIPT. Finally, some haggard looking fellow clerk tells her to take it. I know, it’s like an episode of The Canadian Tire Twilight Zone.
Total time spent, and the last time ever you’ll find me at CT : 1 hour 12 minutes.
But here, fellow bloggers, the story gets much cheerier.
The next day I make the trip to Deakin Equipment, only to discover they have the world’s most amazing customer service, informed courteous staff, a wonderful attitude, and great prices.
It’s like the CT store in North Van is this black hole of negativity, and this place, across Burrard Inlet, is the exact opposite, the ying/yang of retail. No, that’s not it.
It’s the BIZZARO of Retail.
Deakin was super helpful, found me the accessories I was looking for, and actually spent time talking to me about what I need. As i was paying, I casually meantion that I bought my unit at CT. The counter person asked me “how was your experience at CT, did they know anything about GPS?”
To which I laughed, and said “you’ll have to read the blog…”
Want one of these ? Buy it at Deakin Equipment in Vancouver or online.
Oh. One other thing.
I noticed that CT still hasn’t changed its price on the unit. So much for their pledge that ‘your asssitance will help Canadian Tire price our products more comptetively”