Good evening everyone,
I have been residing in Sault Ste. Marie for the past year now. I used to live in Montreal and Toronto where active lifestyles habits are more prominent. Residents commute on foot and use bicycles as second nature. Residents of Toronto and other major Canadian cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Quebec City often use a backpack the same way the residents of Algoma use the trunks of their trucks to carry their belongings. And that alone, helps out residents maintain or improve their health. I worked 5 years for a healthy lifestyle habit non profit organization funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
However, in Sault Ste. Marie, shoppers/residents like myself, that have a bicycle and a backpack, are often pointed out as thieves, poor or drug dealers. I could share many experiences I have had with people in position of authority that leads me to conclude they lack civility, social education and the proper expertise to be in a customer service position. Since living here, I have experienced many hostile customer service practices at No Frills, Home Depot and Canadian Tire. It feels like Sault Ste Marie is stuck in 1990. Well, that’s what I tell people in southern Ontario and Quebec – don't come here, stay home.
I am contacting all of you today to share my excessively negative encounter with one of the owners of NO FRILLS (519 Korah Rd, Sault Ste. Marie, On, P6C 4J4) on June 4, 2022 around 2:50 PM. She claimed to be the owner’s wife and interrupted my positive shopping experience at the end of the organic isle near the meat section. I will refer to her as the co-owner.
While I was shopping, I was halted by the co-owner. She nicely informed me that people wearing a backpack should leave their backpack (and its content) at Cash #1 because they are trying to prevent theft. I was offended by that comment, so I did not respond with much appreciation for her depiction of my intent. I responded that if she caught me stealing that she could then ask for my backpack and call the police.
While walking away, she asked me to leave my backpack at Cash #1 to which I promptly replied no. She turned around, walk towards me and I immediately asked ‘’What about female customers carrying big bag/purses/beach bag into the store? ’’ She brushed off the question and scoffed, quote: It’s because of people like you…’’ I interrupted her by saying sarcastically ‘’ I’m sorry, so sorry’’ while tapping my hand on my heart. Her reaction was to turn around and sort of brush me away with her hand.
I continued shopping. I did one last walk around to finish my shopping. I noticed so many female customers with strollers with kids and empty bags, clients using reusable bags as shopping carts and one client with a shopping cart filled with products, purse and reusable bags - all mixed up.
I do not appreciate being publicly pointed out as a potential thief. I do not have a criminal record and I do not intend to. I walk or use my bicycle to do most of my shopping to maintain a healthy lifestyle unlike many of Algoma’s Health District residents. Could this be defamation?
As per my receipt, Krista cashed me out at 2:55:24 for $13, 35 CAD. Slip #932800. I kindly asked the casher if she wanted me to open my bag to make sure I had not stolen anything. I packed my purchases in my backpack and left.
Another No Frill’s experience: at the same No Frills last summer I was asked to leave my backpack at the door while the lady in front of me walked right in with a beach bag that had approximative dimensions of 45 CM x 60 CM. It’s very easy to slip products in bags, especially the ones that are not in your back. What about equality?
Considering that employees steel for greater amounts than shoplifters, kindly explain why I should leave my belongings at Cash #1? A good read: Employee Theft Statistics: Why Entrepreneurs Should Worry (creditdonkey.com)
Today, I can almost say with certainty that many store managers in Sault Ste Marie seems to value the ‘’citizen’s arrest’’ model. Be the HERO, get hurt for your employer, ‘’Risk your life! ’’.
My answer: Foolishness. Don’t. Your employer has insurance. Your life is not worth getting stabbed for peanut butter and bread or whatever else is stolen. There are security systems and procedures for that.
Can NO FRILL review my accounts of today’s events on their system?
Maybe Home Depot and Canadian Tire can review the use of hostile customer service practices like yelling at a client for no reason, hovering, following customers, looking weirdly at customers that refuse their help, etc.
When does the unjustified hunt for theft becomes corporate harassment?
I moved here to work, not to get bullied.
Italian food is great! But you have to get active. Without proper education & awareness and street signalization that create safe pedestrian crossings to prevent aggressive motorist from almost killing active residents, the city’s growth will only be at waist line. Buon Appetito!
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
[email protected], [email protected]