So we had another busy weekend, with a trip planned to Birmingham and to Doncaster on Saturday. On our way we stopped at Tesco for petrol and B&Q for a barbecue and a parasol (our other one has disintegrated) (the parasol not the bbq …).
We were in a bit of a hurry but we couldn’t see anywhere on the parasol the diameter of the pole, and we couldn’t see anywhere on the parasol base any minimum or maximum pole size. So, as you do, we asked.
The person on garden furniture was so busy he really didn’t have time to talk to us, but we insisted – after all, we’re customers. And so he very hurriedly said: “Oh yes, all of those bases are universal.” I also asked if the parasol needed a table with a hole in to hold it up, but he insisted the base would be sufficient.
So, aside from being brushed off very quickly by quite a rude floorperson, we were then tapped on the shoulder and told we couldn’t have the dog in the store and would I kindly leave the premises.
Now then, I’ve been taking Rufus into that store ever since he was a puppy. He used to ride in the trolleys and everyone used to fuss him. Even on Saturday morning, a lot of the staff had fussed him too. And, as it’s a building and garden centre and not a food hall, why would he suddenly be not allowed? There weren’t any signs on the door, which I pointed out to her.
“Oh yes there are,” she argued.
“Erm, I think you’ll find there aren’t,” I replied.
“Oh yes there is,” she insisted. “It clearly says ‘guide dogs only’.”
“Show me,” I smiled.
And when she showed me … and saw that there wasn’t any such sign on the door, she said: “Oh, it must be new policy. We’re having a staff meeting this afternoon, I’ll make sure there’s a sign on the door.”
“Okay,” I said, “but we’re going now anyway,” and we started to head for the tills.
“No,” she said, “you have to go out through this door. I can’t let you walk through the store.
“We’ve been in the store for half an hour,” I pointed out. But she still tried to manhandle me from the store, which – I believe – is assault.
But anyway, off we tootled with our purchases in the car, and we visited the parents. When we got home, the poet assembled the parasol base … and the parasol didn’t fit. So that meant on Sunday morning we had to take time out of one of our very rare days off to take the parasol and base back.
When we got there, I waited in the car with the dog. But the poet checked the door and there were still no “no dogs” signs anywhere. He went to see customer services to return the parasol base, and when the most senior person there “owned” the mistake, saying it was probably she who had told us the base was universal, he disagreed and indicated the person actually responsible.
The person actually responsible (PAR) came over and started to treat the poet in a derogatory manner, saying the bases were all universal and all we had to do was tighten the screw. When the poet pointed out that there was no tightening screw, the PAR argued the toss until the poet said, like me, “Show me.” So off he toddled to get another box, in case the box we had was missing the crucial part, and very arrogantly and patronisingly indeed started to “show him”.
Only there wasn’t one there. Just like we said. His response? To say how rubbish the parasol base manufacturing company was.
The only alternative they could offer the poet was either a more expensive umbrella that would fit the base, or a more expensive base that did, indeed, have the tightening screw we needed. And when he asked who was going to pay for our petrol, time and inconvenience, they did in fact meet him half way on the difference in price.
While the poet was in the queue, there were 3 other customers returning goods to the store that staff had mis-sold them. And while I was in the car with the dog, the dog barked at 2 little Pomeranian terriers waiting outside the store, and THREE LITTLE WEST HIGHLAND TERRIERS (aka DOGS) coming OUT of the store.
We are so disappointed in this store that we very much doubt we’ll ever go back. But you would think that when a store chain is in so much trouble and stores are at risk of closure, they’d try a little harder to stay open and retain loyal customers.
As advised, I’ve written to the CEO of the parent company regarding both of these complaints. I doubt they’ll do anything about it but will let you know.
It’s my understanding that if a dog is not allowed, then there should be a sign up. It’s also my understanding that if dogs are not allowed, then that should include all dogs and not just on the whim of whoever’s in charge that day. If hygiene is a concern, then we’ve seen dirtier children. The company’s slant should be clearly visible to customers. If it was a food establishment, then I wouldn’t take him in anyway. But a building/gardening centre? Ideas above their station, perhaps.
What are your thoughts?