Customer complains over poor service

Mike van Eeden, Richwood

It’s Thursday morning, and I am still angry after my latest experience at Checkers Burgundy.

I have complained on a few occasions to Checkers about the appalling service that has become the norm since Ricardo left as manager a few years ago.

Checkers Burgundy has become legendary among residents of Richwood for its shoddy treatment of customers and last evening was the latest in a long series of disappointments.

I arrived around 4pm and went to the hot food counter. Another customer was already waiting for service as well as three Checkers staff members (also waiting for service).

The only person behind the counter was fiddling about with the roast chicken rotisserie machine and was seemingly oblivious to those of us waiting. After a few minutes, I went off to complete my shopping and returned about 10 minutes later. The same woman was still waiting for service and she remarked to me how awful the service was and also that it seems the staff get served before customers.

I confronted the serving woman who had just completed her rummaging about in the rotisserie as to why staff were served before customers.

The said staff meanwhile had made a dash to squeeze in front of myself and the other woman who had been waiting. The serving woman had no comment but merely stared at me with a blank expression.

I left the hot food counter empty handed, disgusted that I should be treated this way as a loyal customer. I get better service from the pavement vendors in the seedier parts of the city.

I saw the manager at the tills and complained to him to which he responded with words to the effect that he was sorry.

He did not attempt to resolve my complaint nor did he go to the hot food counter.

Nothing has improved after several complaints in the past. It seems the staff are all surly and can’t be bothered to greet unless greeted first.

This is just one example of bad service – as I write this, I have a colleague standing in my office who also shops there, and she has many stories of being treated as a third class citizen at Checkers Burgundy.

Her latest disappointment was being rudely chased away from the 10 items or less queue for having 12 items, only to see what one can only assume is a friend of the cashier arrive with a trolley load of items totalling some R500 plus and be served with a smile.

One hesitates to assign a darker motive for the staff’s attitude but it seems the perceived consensus among several unsatisfied customers I have spoken to is that certain people get better service than others.

I have decided to avoid this store as much as is possible in future. When Checkers Burgundy first opened it was fantastic.

The manager, Ricardo, rolled out the red carpet for his customers and always had time for a pleasantry. Staff were efficient, and we knew half of them by name. It was a pleasure to go there and walk out with a smile. Any little glitches were quickly and happily resolved. All the staff who made a difference have been moved away.

We cannot wait for the new development next to Richwood to have, hopefully, a Pick n Pay or Spar so that we can avoid Checkers completely.

I have shopped at Checkers stores across the peninsula and this one takes the biscuit for awful service.

You may send this to Checkers for their comments on their side of the story, but I personally am not interested in what they have to say as it is so much lip service.

Why should they care when they are the only shop in our area and have the monopoly and are watching the money roll in from a captive market. Change the management and the staff who cannot or will not learn the basics of customer service.

Sarita van Wyk, Checkers spokesperson, responds:

Mr Van Eeden’s experience in our Burgundy Checkers is not in line with the standards we set for customer service in Checkers stores and also contrary to our policies and Checkers regrets that he experienced such disappointing service.

While we are not able to identify the manager that Mr Van Eeden spoke to, this incident has been addressed with the deli controller and staff and all management in the store so that service disciplines can be brought in line with our standards.

Divisional office representatives will also visit the store this week to identify areas for improvement.

Checkers respects Mr Van Eeden’s disinterest in feedback on the matter, but would nevertheless appreciate an opportunity to discuss it with him as we value constructive criticism from customers, and it will assist us in living up to his expectations.