Marketing versus Customer Service

This is an edited copy of a letter sent to the Head Office of a large grocery chain. Store names have been removed to “protect the innocent”.

This is the automated reply I received.

Our Customer Service Department is available Monday to Friday between
 8: 30 and 5:30pm.
We will reply to you shortly.

I look forward to a reply next week.


I just returned from my weekly shopping trip to the grocery store.  It was by far the worst experience I have encountered in a grocery store.  Empty shelves, items moved all over the store, causing shoppers to walk around and around in the store and/or track down floor staff for directions.  In one instance; with an other shopper, I was  looking for the salmon listed in this weeks flyer.   The young gentleman led us to the section it should be in; lo and behold it was not there.  He asked another staff member and we were redirected to the Dairy Section; REALLY; canned salmon in with dairy, and no signage with the price. 

Another customer told me that he asked why all the changes and was told that it was to make customers walk all over the store looking for things and perhaps buying something not on their list.  While this may be the marketing thought behind the move, it is not something you should be sharing with already annoyed customers.

Last year I had a hip replacement and walking extra steps on the hard flooring in a grocery store is not enjoyable.  Ours is a town with a large retiree population;  mobility issues are not uncommon.  Help us out, please.

When checking out I asked the pleasant young lady on cash when this work would be completed.  Her response,” it is handled by Head Office. People come in at night to make the changes”.  Step to it folks.   Let’s get the job done.

Head Office needs to be reminded that a Department store, with full grocery, is a one minute drive from this store.

My points card is not sufficient to make me a loyal Customer.  

I must admit that the store staff are taking it in stride; being helpful and not the least bit rude when asked repeatedly for directions to products.

Please consider the location and demographics of a store when  making the decision to reconfigure.

Respectfully submitted by an annoyed customer.


4 thoughts on “Marketing versus Customer Service

  1. It is unfortunate that your concerns were not addressed in a better, and more timely fashion. Good for you for “going to the top.” Sometimes these decisions are not in the hands of the local managers or the staff, and as you said, they seemed to be taking it all in stride, as if this disruption is normal. Our local grocery stores fought the expansion of the department store’s grocery section, fearing they would lose customers. Perhaps they are not as concerned as they led us to believe based on this. Let’s hope your comments are taken seriously and changes to the store–and the attitudes–are made.

  2. Christine: I had a reply from them after the weekend. It was the corporate line that they want all the stores laid out the same so customers will know where to look for items. Am I wrong in thinking they have already missed the mark by moving everything around that we already knew where to find? They did apologize.

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