I am a student at the University of Western Ontario, in London Ontario. Like all schools in North America, the administration is more concerned with making money then learning and development. For this reason space is often rented out in the University Community Centre (UCC) to retailers. The UCC is like the hub of the campus, the cafeteria, bookstore, printers, gym etc is all in there. The majority of the student population shuffles through there at least once a day, its a high traffic area.
So it was no surprise on Tuesday to see a bunch of clothing racks and decide to browse through them. I found a shirt I liked as well as a hoodie that was kinda cool. I bought the shirt and put a $5 deposit on the hoody so they would hold it for me. I specifically asked about returns and they said only exchanges. I was fine with that since I had seen other items I liked.
When I got home I tried the shirt on a bit more and looked in the mirror. I came the conclusion that it wasn’t quite the item for me. No problem, I was told I could exchange it if I didn’t like it. Thankfully I hadn’t lost my receipt this time, so everything was in order.
The next day I’m back at school and I head back to the UCC to browse through the clothing. I eventually find an item I like. The whole time that I am shopping, I might add, all sorts of “employees” are coming up to me and telling me how great everything looks on me. I can tell they are just being patronistic and only care about making a sale. I can *kinda appreciate that, I have worked retail. I take the item I want up to the girl at the cash, tell her I want to do an exchange. She says no problem, then asks what I had originally bought. I showed here and she walks over to another guy, and confers with him for a moment. He starts shaking his head no. He walks over and tells me that they can’t really do the return because its from a different vendor, blah blah blah.
At this point I am really pissed off. I was already tired of being patronized and coddled. I had been told on numerous occasions by these people that there would be no problem exchanging. And on top of that, as he told me he wouldn’t do the exchange he was bagging the other item, as if he thought I would still want to take it. I had to raise my voice at this guy to get him to stop. He was not appologetic, all he cared about was to make another sale.
To make things worse, I then had to tell him I wanted my deposit back, and I know for a fact that he knew I had paid it, because it was the same guy I had talked to yesterday. He looks in the cash drawer, sees only $20s and asks me if I have any change. Since I didn’t have any he went off to go get some.
While he was gone, the cashier standing there kept apologizing, but it was so blantantly fake, I knew she didn’t care. Eventually I found out why, since she felt so bad she would give me a deal on the shirt I was going to exchange. Did these people not get it?!?! I did not want more stuff! Once I explained this to her one last time, she just walked off. The guy had been gone for a while and I was starting to think that maybe he was going to make off with my $5. Little did he know that I Scot will wait around for quite some time. He did come back eventually, handed me my money and left.
The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and I realise that I should have trusted my gut feeling with these guys, the whole thing seemed sketch. Now I am not totally against corporations, I’m not anti-capitalistic or hate commerce. I just hate getting shafted and screwed over. I’ll no doubt support a small vendor again at some point, I’ll just think more critically about it before I do.