I have been a member since 2004. Only now, having renovations on the way, am I starting to make more use of my membership. Having more hands-on experience, now I realize there are gross inadequacies in this particular location. I never anticipated when I signed up, having accrued so much debt for the thousands of dollars in membership fees, that there would be so many bungles in my orders and so many rude and incompetent staff members. I increasingly find our family in a dilemma. Having paid so much in membership, I feel that if I discontinue my membership, I would lose thousands because the savings-to-date have not been what was advertised. But, then I have to balance the health of my family having been treated so poorly by the staff at this particular Mississauga location.
Poor Member Service
Threatening Preschool and Primary Aged Children
What disturbs me the most, are the two most recent incidents which prompts me to write this letter. One involves the owner MIKE WILSON. The other involves the receptionist DIANE.
Mike Wilson, owner
The case involving the owner Mike Wilson is surreal. As stated, I have been in and out of this location countless times without “incident” with my children. As a general note, my children are well content children and well behaved. I personally make sure that everything is okay. One night in September 2010 my children were in the play area watching a DVD. As the night progressed more children came to the room. I noticed, on my frequent checks that there were two particular rambunctious children. One boy had a video game in his hand and the other boy was looking on and was very absorbed to what was on screen. These two were particularly loud throughout the night, but I thought nothing of it. Time passed and then there was loud “excitable” screaming in the room. This prompted all parents to look at what was happening, and some stern warnings. I particularly asked my children if they took part in this yelling and they adamantly said no. I believe them, as this is not their typical behaviour and they were more interested in the DVD. I am very inclined to say the child with the video game and the one beside him were the ones misbehaving. However, Mike Wilson the owner, took all the children out of the room and returned them to their parents. Fair enough, I can understand this, since he didn’t know who was responsible for the misbehaviour. However, after having talked with my children about the incident, I was very shocked to find out that prior to returning each child to their parents he THREATENED each of them. (These are children 2 to 7 years of age. A very vulnerable and impressionable age). His words were, “If you decide to do this again, I will personally hang you upside down and nail your toes to the wall.” I couldn’t believe it! My husband couldn’t believe it. We had to keep on asking an account of what happened. Time and time again our children stated the threat made to them. I asked, was it said in a joking fashion. They explicitly said he was very stern and serious. There was no other way to interpret his statement. I was just astonished and flabbergasted. This is totally unacceptable and inappropriate. How dare he make such a statement to these small vulnerable children. Would he dare to do this when he is asking us to spend thousands of dollars to join the membership? If he finds that threatening children an appropriate and acceptable means of deterring behaviour, he needs serious counseling. I cannot express how truly upset this was to learn that my pre-school and primary aged children were threatened in this manner for something that they did not do. I am almost afraid to leave my children near this man, in case he decides to threaten them again.
Diane, the receptionist
The case regarding the receptionist also follows in the same pattern of rudeness and lunacy. I came in November 24th, 2010 at 3 pm, to sort, once again problems with my orders (again due to lack of updates in the catalogues). This time, I brought my mother to look after my 2 year old son and 5 year old daughter, in anticipation of slow service. During this time, under my mother’s watchful eye, my daughter got thirsty. She was sitting quietly and decided to get up and take 3 little milk cups (typically for coffee) from the refreshment stand, not more than 2 yards away. (To my understanding this is available to all members and their dependents. There are no signs to indicate otherwise). However, DIANE the receptionist thought otherwise. She chased and ran after my daughter from the front desk (a good 15 yards away). She roughly grabbed the 3 little milk cups from her hands and proceeded to shouted at my 5 year old daughter “This is only for coffee drinkers”. My daughter who was in the process of asking permission to drink the milk cups, turned completely pale and was on the verge of tears. What poor judgement! Nobody has the right to be humiliated and shouted at in this fashion…moreover a preschooler. My mother was absolutely taken aback by the sudden uproar. Never having been treated so ridiculously, my mother shot back and tried to complain to customer service. Unfortunately, JAGG at customer service didn’t want to hear any of it, because my mother was “not a direct member”. He proceeded to say, “only Direct Buy members are allowed to file a complaint”. I, was in the process of paying could not believe what was transpiring before me and I was totally shocked. Diane then tried to defend and deny her actions in front of me. She then tried to hush my mother away. (Please read my mother’s enclosed testimonial). I am utterly at wits end as to the treatment me and my family have received at this location. What value do those 3 little cups of milk have, especially in proportion to the fees I pay as a member? If I could have a refund of my membership, I would gladly do so. I also feel a direct apology is inadequate for the treatment that my children have had to bear, compounded by the anxieties caused by the people at this location.
Slow and Not doing their jobs
The service is slow. So very slow, that I had to wait 1.5 hours for my order to be taken, yet there were two “staff” members at the order desks that refused to take my orders because (a) SAM was too busy with paper work (b) GORDON had an appointment to wait for …(by the way, his “appointee” came 40 minutes after…he could have easily taken my order within that time frame). It certainly sent me a clear message that they couldn’t care less if I wanted to place an order or not.
Rude and Intolerant of Young Families
The staff are rude and not family friendly. How do you expect members with young children to riffle through so many catalogues when there is little for their children to do? IKEA has better customer care and it’s free! I don’t have to pay membership in the thousands to look at what they have. To add, the kids’ play area is so poorly fitted. The toys are old or cracked and broken. There are 3 DVD’s geared to older children. Hundreds of VHS tapes when there is no VHS player. There’s scribbles and drawings all over the wall and not cleaned up…etc. The list goes on.
Incompetence and Lack of Knowledge, Catalogues Poorly Updated
As an example, earlier this year, I wanted a dishwasher panel. After many consultations amongst themselves (the staff) and a “kitchen specialist (SAM)”, I placed an order. When the package arrived it was the wrong item. This “panel” was sent back two more times. Each time, the order was still not right. After waiting in excess of six months and after hearing multiple (lame) excuses like “my computer was broken”, “the manufacturer’s computers were being updated”…etc… I decided to go to a retailer. So much for my membership! As stated earlier, I’ve had to continually go back to change my orders or cancel my orders because the catalogues were not current. This is unacceptable, especially after having spent lots of time going through the catalogues finding the items to order. Again, no easy feat when you have small children.
I am very dissatisfied at the constant mix-ups and lack of updates in the catalogues that have forced me to go to this location, more times than I would like. It makes it especially difficult since I have three young children to attend to. I am even more distressed at the rude and alarming attitudes of the staff I encounter at this location. There is really poor customer service at this location. Many people need to be let go or re-trained on how to be helpful and courteous. Only two staff (out of 10) that have been helpful. All the others have serious attitude problems and could not be bothered. It has caused me, to ponder the legitimacy of Direct Buy. I do not feel that my membership has been worth it. I would be very glad if my membership fee ($3500 ) is returned.