Monday, November 08, 2010

How To Go Out of Business

I have a carbonator at home that I use to make my own soda. It works simply enough, insert bottle of water, blast with CO2. But the canisters need to be replaced from time-to-time.

And they're specific to the brand.

So I have to visit a local store to swap them. I give them my old one and some money, they give me a new full one. Simple enough, except that stores that are part of the program are few and far between in these parts. If I was in the States, any Williams-Sonoma would do.

I was thrilled a while back when I found a store that had just started carrying them within walking distance of me. On Friday, I decided to pay them a visit and swap my canister. A friend of mine has a similar system (same company) and decided to come with to swap her canister as well.

We walked in, and she grabbed a flavour syrup while I went to the cash. I pulled out my canister and said I wanted to swap. The owner reached behind the counter and pulled out a replacement. Then my friend pulled out her canister, an older model, but still on the plan. He balked, saying, "We don't do that company."

"It's the same company."

"No it isn't, this is Soda Stream, that is Soda Club."

"Soda Stream is Soda Club's new name - same company, same plan."

"Well, I don't have those canisters."

"That's fine, we want one of the new ones. The company website says they're exchangeable."

"Well, I don't know if I can, I'll have to check."

"Okay, fine."

At this point, my friend puts away her canister and decides to put back the flavour syrup, as she has no use for it without a working carbonator. The owner says, "You aren't going to buy that?"

"No, there's no point."

And he starts to put away MY replacement.

"Wait, I'm still exchanging my canister."

"No, I only have 6, not enough to bother."

"What? You don't want my money?"

"I don't care. It's not worth my time, I only have enough for serious customers."

I start to lose it a little.

"Seriously?? I come here, wanting to PAY YOU for a product, and now you're telling me no? Why?"

"Because you're being difficult."

"I'M being difficult? All we asked was if you could exchange this, and when you said you had to check, we said okay."

"My distributor is very difficult, he won't do it."

"You don't know that. So now you're not even going to check? You can log on to the website right now."


"Fine, you don't want our business, you won't get it."

"Good. Go someplace else. I'm sick of this product. It's for misers."

"Excuse me? Now you're judging your customers? I bought one of everything on this shelf last time I was here, and you've guaranteed you won't see another dime from me."

"Fine, go to another store."

"I will."

I'm not unreasonable, neither is my friend. At "I'll have to check", we accepted that. For some reason, he then decided that if MY FRIEND wasn't spending an extra $7, then I wouldn't be served either.

So fuck Pepper Mill at Hazelton Lanes. The owner obviously wants to see his overpriced kitchen gadget store go under. He'll undoubtedly blame the customers, not the godawful customer service.

On the upside, this lead me to check for other sources, and some even closer to me have opened up recently. So not only did this asswipe's attitude lead me to stop visiting his store, but has led me to other stores! I'm sure the owners there will be grateful for the business he's sent them.

Anyone who's seen my kitchen, and the room next to it, and the closet, and the pantry, might be aware of my affinity for kitchen gadgets and utensils and appliances... not the asshole running the shop at Pepper Mill though.

Oh, and it turns out he was right - store owners can't exchange for the old ones, it has to be done directly - but he wasn't even willing to check, changed his story at least 3 times, and was incomprehensibly rude. Quality service from top to bottom. But hey, at least the people at Soda Stream were friendly and helpful when I called.


lightning36 said...

Sometimes you wonder how some businesses continue to survive when owners or managers have piss poor attitudes.

Memphis MOJO said...

At work they made us read a book. I forget the exact title, but it's something like Why won't you take my money? or something similar.

Amazing, actually.

SirFWALGMan said...

Wow. If he read your blog he would know how much business he just threw away. I hate sucky customer service. Seems like the norm these days.

Drizztdj said...

Two guesses both viable:

1) he hasn't gotten laid in a while

2) the items you wanted to buy carried a negative profit margin

Either way it wasn't your problem, and that manager doesn't seem to understand the basis of retailing.

BamBam said...


As one fortunate enough to have been in your kitchen, MAN HE LOST A LOT OF BUSINESS!


I would've loved to have been the friend at your side, in that situation. I am my own B.B.B. and usually, it gets pretty fugly with dicks like that.