Evil Customer?

Donna Papacosta is a blogger and podcaster from Toronto.  She recently had an unusual experience buying some mousetraps at Home Depot that she wrote about at her Trafcom News blog.  First, let me say that poor customer service at any of the big boxes isn’t that uncommon, but this one takes the cake.

As Donna describes the transaction, "As she passed the traps over the scanner, the store clerk said, ‘evil.’"  In the clerk’s opinion the traditional mouse trap is evil because it’s inhumane and apparently she isn’t shy about expressing her thoughts.  She thinks poison is better.  Now I don’t know which type of mouse extermination is most humane.  Frankly, if the critters get into my house I want them gone and I’m not particularly interested in the checker’s opinion on the matter. 

I think Donna showed remarkable patience in completing the sale.  I wouldn’t have been nearly so nice.

I think the lesson here is fairly clear.  It’s extremely unlikely that something like this would happen in a store where the owner is on the premises, or at least close by.  Nobody at a big box is monitoring what’s said at the checkout.  Even if they were, they wouldn’t have the vested interest in seeing that every customer gets the best possible care that an owner does.  The clerk’s actions were inexcusable, but if a culture of excellent customer care doesn’t run throughout the business they’re not a big surprise.   It’s just one more example of why there will always be a place for well-managed independent businesses.

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2 Responses

  1. I’m sure you’re right, Mike. This would not have happened at a smaller store, especially one where the owner was present. Funny thing is that I DO prefer to shop small and local. However, on this particular rainy day, I rushed into Home Depot because it was next to another store I had to go to. I am fortunate to live in a town with a thriving downtown where we can WALK to the bakery, fish store, butcher, independent card shop, etc. By far, these retailers give the best service. Too bad there’s no hardware store in downtown Oakville!

  2. Donna,

    Thanks for the comment! As you can see, I’m very pro independent business and not just because my company works with so many of them. If I did nothing but post stories about bad customer service at the various chains, I could do ten posts a day and never run out of material.

    BTW, we do have a hardware store in Oakville, MO, where I live. I frequently walk there.

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