Total Pageviews

Feb 12, 2007

Testing the limits of Shoppers Drug Mart customer service

I just returned from doing business at my local Shoppers Drug Mart. I had purchased something earlier in the day, for my wife, brought it home to her and turned away, as she reached into the bag, pulled out the receipt, tore it up, and then looked at the two items I had bought. She immediately informed me they were the wrong kind, to which I replied: "No've got the receipt, right?" She said: "Well yes, but I tore it all up"; to which I said: " You what?!?" Back to the store, with the hand-shredded receipt and the wrong merchandise, where I picked up two packages of the correct merchandise and headed to the check-out. Fortunately, no one lined up behind me so I wasn't about to delay or inconvenience anyone. Clutching my bag from the earlier visit, I set down the two correct items and said to the pleasant young cashier: "I'd like to buy these, please". I also quickly set down the two incorrect items and said: "...and I want to return these, which I bought by mistake earlier today".
"Yes, sir" she replied. " Do you have a sales receipt?" I said yes and opened my Shoppers Drug Mart bag for her to see the 20 tiny bits of paper. She immediately picked up her phone and said: "Supervisor to Cash 2 for a refund". Moments later, the supervisor arrived and the cashier says to her: "He would like to buy these two and return these two". The first thing the supervisor says is: "Does he have a receipt?" I piped up: " I certainly do", and opened my bag again to show the supervisor the 20 tiny bits of ravaged receipt.
"But it's all torn up...why did you do that?", she asked. I explained it happened before discovering the mistake about the wrong type of product , and that it was common practise, in our house, to tear up receipts for small, every-day purchases, as soon as we got home. I further explained that the receipts have our credit card number on them, and that one couldn't be too careful in this day and age of identity theft, etc., etc.
"I'll have to get my manager over here", said the supervisor. The supervisor started to explain to her manager and hadn't got very far when the manager asked: "Does he have a receipt?" There are now five customers lined up behind me, shuffling their feet and sighly loudly. I don't acknowledge them. Bad enough I'm wearing my floppy beret and looking like a wierdo anyway, without opening my mouth and saying something to the three guys in baseball caps and proving it.
The manager asks the supervisor if one of the tiny remnants of sales receipt has a transaction number on it. The supervisor replies one may, but that she doesn't know which one. The manager suggests that all three of them quickly examine the scraps, which they do, and a refund procedure begins. While I am filling out a form with much self-incriminating information, the cashier is swiping my credit card and my Shoppers Optimum points card several times and the manager is at another computer station producing an internal bookkeeping document. There are now seven people lined up behind me and the supervisor takes charge by gathering up all the detritus of this awkward affair and asks me to accompany her to another check-out, where we can be alone.
Mercifully, at no time has a discussion taken place about the actual product I'm buying: a laxative. I sign my name one last time and feel guilty because the two products I'm returning to the good folks at Shoppers are worth $45, and the two I am ultimately walking out with cost just $16.
Home once more, I now have two perfect receipts; a refund receipt and a purchase receipt, which I stare at momentarily. I notice that my credit card number reads as 12 asterisks plus four numbers. Well, I'll be damned! They don't print out your whole 16-digit credit card number. The two receipts sit beside me now, as I finish reflecting on this shopping adventure. I'm about to tear them up. Old habits die hard.

Feb 7, 2007

Canada in February - cold as a witch's heart

When I lived for a year on my grandfather Thomas' farm, at Churchill, Ontario, in the early 50s, he would come into the house during the winter and say: "It's as cold as a witch's heart out there". Yesterday, I walked to the post office and it was minus 15 celsius -- minus 25 wind chill! I couldn't help but think of Sid Thomas. Later in the day, I was watching Global News and its weather report didn't even mention actual temperatures. Instead, they reported wind chill numbers only. Has it come to that? Do television stations have to sensationalize not just the hard news of the day, but also the temperature? Before they get too carried away, I want to announce I have created my own ultra-sensational temperature factor. I take the temperature in degrees celsius, factor in the wind chill, the snow I have to shovel in centimetres, my increased body temperature because of the lousy cold I have, and the number of days until spring. This means that yesterday actually felt like minus 96 celsius. Let's see, that would make it as a cold as...hmmmm...a polar bear's butt?...a Steven Harper smile?...a Dalton McGuinty promise?...a Toronto Maple Leafs winning streak? Oh, the hell with it. Who am I to try to improve on my grandfather's perfectly good aphorism.
Please comment if you wish.

Feb 3, 2007

I sing live with The Rankin Family at Massey Hall

I sang live with The Rankin Family last night, at Massey Hall, in Toronto. They were on stage of course, while I was sitting in Row K, left-centre orchestra. We sounded great together. It was one of those terrific occasions where everyone was singing along, so Linda didn't have to dig me in the ribs with her elbow to shush me. It was an event, a party, a love-in, a ceilidh in the kitchen. The Rankins had the joint jumpin'. We were hootin' and hollerin', and dancing in the aisles. They did old and new material and Linda and I agreed it was one of the best concerts we had ever attended. What incredible talent and sound. The sisters, Raylene, Cookie and Heather have voices like bells, with tremendous range and power. The evening started off with Dawn Langstroth, Ann Murray's daughter. She sounds a bit her mum, but has a great voice of her own and is a pretty good songwriter. She was followed by Seth Lakeman from Dartmoor, U.K. His singing was more howling, but his fiddling was mesmerizing. His closing number was a combination of foot-stomping and frenzied fiddling that sounded like a wild North-Atlantic storm crashing ashore at his native Cornwall. Seth is also known as 'The Troubadour of the Moor'.
Speaking of south-west England, some of the research I have done for my family history book focussed on Exmoor in north Devon. Some of Linda's ancestors came from Barnstaple and Brayford, on the west side of Exmoor. I mentioned these places to an English friend and he said they were very close to his home village. I told Linda the name of the place, but she doubted very much that any relatives of hers would have come from a place named Much Piddling in the Bog. I myself have ancestors who once inhabited the moors of western Lancashire at a small and scurrilous crossroads named Diddling on the Moor.
Please comment if you wish.