Bad customer service vs. Good customer service

I recently – and by recently, I mean just a few hours ago – had an unpleasant experience at Sport Chek in Metropolis at Metrotown. Fortunately, it turned around for the better, thanks to excellent customer service from Sport Chek’s head office.


Some of you may know about the Friends and Family event happening today and tomorrow at Sport Chek where they take 25% off their ticket price, excluding items already marked down. For items that are already marked down, there’s still a 10% discount. It’s pretty straightforward that the 25% off only applies to items that are regular price. I get that. It’s fair.

This two day event couldn’t have come at a better time because I had been considering buying a pair of basketball shoes for volleyball and had my eyes on a pair of Kobe X Elites. I thought this would be a perfect time to get them, since I knew they were NOT on sale ($154.98), so the 25% off discount would apply to them. I decided to go to Metrotown during my lunch break today since I knew it would be a quick in-and-out trip. Little did I know I would walk out of Sport Chek over an hour later flustered, upset and having purchased the shoes without the 25% off.

Nike Kobe X Elite  Source:  Footlocker website
Nike Kobe X Elite Source: Footlocker website
Kobe X Elite
My new pair of Kobe X Elites in size 5

Apparently, I don’t know what a “regular priced” item is. The shoes I wanted were $154.98, the same price as they’d always been, so I assumed they were regular price. There was no red sticker, no sale sign indicating they weren’t regular price. But upon paying, I was told by the cashier and the assistant manager that they were “sale price” because it ended in “99” or “98”. Go figure. So the discount was only 10% (because it was still 10% off sales/mark downs). I was confused, infuriated, disappointed, but mostly confused. I had gone to Sport Chek’s website earlier and it let me purchase the same shoes for 25% off, but I just wanted them right away that’s why I wanted to purchase in-store. When I explained this to the assistant manager, he said he couldn’t do anything about it, and that I shouldn’t be able to purchase the shoes at 25% off online, and he wasn’t sure why that was happening.

But look, it was happening:


All of this to say, he was not helpful, pleasant, or understanding. He didn’t honor the online price, wasn’t budging, wasn’t listening and just did not accommodate the customer (me). He said he could only give me 10% off, since the Kobes were considered “on sale”. I had argued enough so I just bit my tongue and purchased them furious and red-faced, promising myself that I’d do something to correct this situation, which was now beyond the discount, but now more about the lousy, unpleasant customer service I received from that assistant manager.

Upon returning to work, I called Sport Chek’s head office because I know that when in doubt, someone at head office should be able to help. And they definitely did. I spoke with a Customer Service Rep, who was very pleasant, listened to my recollection of what happened, and agreed that since the 25% off could be applied to the shoes online, they should be 25% off in-store too, because 90% of the time, it’s the same price. There was no mention of prices “ending in 99 or 98” being considered sale items. She told me she would call the store and let them know to change what they were telling people and also told me to go back to the store to get the additional discount. She mentioned that the district manager would also be informed, as well as the management team at Sport Chek at Metrotown.

Ironic that the event is called Friends and Family. I didn’t feel I was treated like either in store. But like I said, my over the phone experience was better by tenfold. Maybe it was a miscommunication between head office and the retail store, or maybe the staff in store were just being difficult, but what was being advertised did not match what I was told in store. I just wanted them to honor the 25% off as part of the event. But they didn’t.  I’m glad I spoke up for customers who are sometimes scared to or don’t bother to. I wasn’t asking for an additional discount, I was only expecting what was advertised for this event. It wasn’t about the extra $20 off, it was about the principle of things. Thanks to the CSR I spoke with for understanding that and ensuring it is corrected it so that other customers aren’t left confused, frustrated and unhappy about something they did not even know about.

Though it might not be major, that is the difference between bad customer service and good customer service.


One thought on “Bad customer service vs. Good customer service

  1. Good for you for not letting this sit. As consumers, we need to let it be known (politely) that a wrong needs to be made right.

    Nike Kobe X’s by the way; I’m eyeing a pair of Team Elites myself.

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