I am no longer shopping at Golden Farm in Kensington. Which is a shame because I've always liked the place. I've been shopping there for years. They have a nice selection of fruits and vegtables, the prices are pretty good and you can't beat being open 24 hours a day. It's always been comforting to know if I ever had a craving for oranges at four in the morning, I would have a place to go.
But something happened today that made me sour on Golden Farm. I have been surviving this snow storm with no coffee or fresh fruits and vegtables in the house. I've had to make due with going to a local one stop market for a cup of coffee in the morning. This little market doesn't sell espresso and the roads were just too treacherous to go any further until today. So this morning before I started work, I went to Golden Farm to stock up on fruit, yogurt, whole grain crackers and espresso. I have been buying lilly coffee, that comes in a can with a little air-tight pull tab. It's a little pricey but good.
It was so nice to finally have fresh food in the house and coffee is a necessity when you are working from home. But when I set up to make my first cup of fresh brew tragedy struck. When I pulled back the tab it just broke off leaving no way to open the can. It looked like the tab was very flimsy, I don't think it was anything I had done wrong. I tried to open the can with a can opener, but no luck. As a further tease, I could smell the aroma of fresh coffee but I had no way to make a cup. I was stuck with $14 can of coffee that was sealed like Fort Knox.
So I decided to take the can back to the store. Sometimes these tabs are defective and it hardly seemed fair that I should be out $14 because of this. When I got to the store to ask if I could exchange it the cashier told me that I would need to ask the manager. Well the manager happened to be standing right there and before I could even get a word in he immdediately started to yell "No, No, No" and "I lose money, I lose money". It didn't seem to matter that I was a customer who was dissatisfied or that I had been shopping there for years and have probably spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on groceries in his store. I told him that I would call my credit card company to dispute the charges ,and I would never shop in his store again. He didn't seem to care. I asked him if he could at least try to open it with a can opener. He did try using two different can openers to open the can, but no luck. After the second try he very reluctantly let me exchange it for another can but not without scolding me with "Just this one time."
I told him it was the last time I was shopping there.
Now, is this any way to run a business? I know he might lose a little bit of money on the coffee can but hasn't he lost more money in the long run by losing me as a customer? Is it really worth it to alienate a regular shopper this way? When you run a business it's an accepted fact that you have to eat some costs every once in awhile in exchange for keeping customers happy in the hope that they will continue to shop in your store. I wasn't trying to rip him off, I just wanted the coffee that I had paid for, expensive coffee at that.
I've seen this guy yell at customers before. A few months ago, while I was buying groceries there was a woman who was buying a box of pasta and needed to put it on her debit card. This same manager started to yell at her for only putting 99 cents on a credit card. The poor woman looked embarassed. She also pointed out she spends a lot of money on groceries at this store but she was short on funds and she needed pasta so she could eat for the next few days. Like his behaviour today, he didn't seem to care and he thought nothing of screaming at this woman who was only trying to buy a little food to hold her over for a few days.
So, I'm no longer giving this store any more of my business. There are plenty of other stores in the neighborhood I can chosse from. Stores that will appreciate my business and would want me for a customer. Besides, I can get this same brand of coffee for a $1 less at the Union Market in Park Slope, and they are much nicer to their customers there.