General Discussion:

rude garden centre staff


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Diane31-May-01 10:30 PM EST 6a   
Debbie01-Jun-01 12:57 AM EST 8a   
Donna01-Jun-01 01:24 AM EST 3a   
Debbie01-Jun-01 01:49 AM EST 8a   
Donna01-Jun-01 10:04 AM EST 3a   
Alison01-Jun-01 10:18 AM EST   
marg01-Jun-01 11:53 AM EST 5b   
Debbie01-Jun-01 12:19 PM EST 8a   
JoanneS01-Jun-01 12:54 PM EST 3a   
Ann01-Jun-01 08:12 PM EST 4b   
Diane01-Jun-01 11:51 PM EST 6a   
Jude02-Jun-01 12:35 AM EST   
02-Jun-01 12:48 AM EST 3b   
Diane02-Jun-01 02:48 AM EST 6a   
Deirdre02-Jun-01 07:36 AM EST   
andy02-Jun-01 09:58 AM EST 5   
02-Jun-01 10:32 AM EST 3b   
andy02-Jun-01 11:09 AM EST 5   
Carol02-Jun-01 04:36 PM EST 5a   
02-Jun-01 05:17 PM EST   
Ed02-Jun-01 09:40 PM EST 5a   
03-Jun-01 12:20 AM EST 3   
Arne03-Jun-01 12:54 AM EST 8   
03-Jun-01 10:42 AM EST 3   
Brenda03-Jun-01 07:28 PM EST 3a   
Marianne04-Jun-01 03:29 PM EST 3   
Dave W04-Jun-01 04:12 PM EST 3a   
Donna04-Jun-01 07:29 PM EST 3a   
Diane04-Jun-01 10:58 PM EST   
Jeanie05-Jun-01 06:55 PM EST 6   
peggy06-Jun-01 12:25 PM EST   
Suzanne White07-Jun-01 09:45 PM EST 6a   
glen08-Jun-01 09:43 AM EST 3   
JoanneS08-Jun-01 03:57 PM EST   
Dave08-Jun-01 06:57 PM EST   
Annie D09-Jun-01 09:53 PM EST 5b   
Linda10-Jun-01 12:23 AM EST 2b   
Debbie10-Jun-01 01:21 AM EST   
Karen11-Jun-01 10:44 AM EST 6a   


Subject: rude garden centre staff
From: Diane
Zone: 6a
Date: 31-May-01 10:30 PM EST

Anyone ever been treated rudely by garden centre staff? I find that most of the big-box garden centres have the most ill-informed staff of all. I've been told that "annuals grow forever dear", most of their stock is either overwatered (drowning)or starving for affection, and "the person that really knows anything about plants isn't working today." Too bad there isn't a column in the local paper to rate these places like they do dining establishments!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Debbie
Zone: 8a
Date: 01-Jun-01 12:57 AM EST

Diane..All I can say is YES !! We hear a story a day from our customers about just those very same complaints. Sorry but I really have a pet peeve about box stores and instant Nurseries. Daily we get phone calls from people saying that they bought something at Art Knapps or superstore etc and would like to know how to take care of it. We tell them nicely but shake our heads. Had to laugh one day when I saw one girl dunking each flat in a big barrel to water whether they needed it or not. But what do they care..just toss them and order more.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Donna
Zone: 3a
Date: 01-Jun-01 01:24 AM EST

So why not start rating them here! There are some wonderful garden centers out there and I am sure all the new gardeners would appreciate hearing who is good to buy from and who offers helpful and accurate advice!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Debbie
Zone: 8a
Date: 01-Jun-01 01:49 AM EST

You know what Donna..I think that would be a great idea. Like you say there are some good garden centers out there. One that even though it is a box store here in the Comox valley is Canadian Tire. The staff are knowlegable and they don't under sell the nurseries to bad. *LOL* Plus their stock is in good condition. BTW Donna..welcome back and I think Tom missed you!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Donna
Zone: 3a
Date: 01-Jun-01 10:04 AM EST

It would seem that he missed me...but not too much 'cause he was in NJ when I got home! Glad to be back, my garden looks great because of the rain and the tour was just incredible!!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Alison
Zone:
Date: 01-Jun-01 10:18 AM EST

Hello!

I think that the rating service is an excellent idea, but I think that it would have to be done every season, just because of the transient nature of many of these employees. . . here today, gone by the end of the season, or sooner. Some are just here for the major buying season, which is three months in my area.

There's no sin in being ignorant, but you can learn, and a lot of these people don't even have the sense to know that a lot of the people asking them questions are new gardeners, and if they are extremely ill-advised and everything dies, then they waste alot of money. Based on this bad (and often expensive) experience, they may give up gardening, and that means (duh) a loss of profits, and a loss of jobs. Some people can't grasp concept like this. Maybe I should do a flowchart. . .

Unfortunately, I see alot of this "I don't get paid to do all of that," attitude in retail, period.

A lot of it is laziness by mangement. How can you work for a garden centre and not know that annuals don't "grow forever, dear"? What exactly did the management teach these people during training class?

So, good luck on your review service. I think also that there should be a rating of catalogue services, for price, quality, etc.

Happy gardening!

Alison


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: marg
Zone: 5b
Date: 01-Jun-01 11:53 AM EST

This really happened to me at a small nursery in the couontry. We were driving around and we had our dog in the back of the pickup. She was tied in so she couldn't even reach the sides. We saw this nursery so we decided to stop. A lady walked up to us and told us we would have to park out on the road because we had a dog in the truck. She said she had 4 dogs walking around the nursery grounds and didn't want to take any chances with ours. Not wanting to cause trouble, we did park on the side of the road. While I was walking around the nursery, one of her dogs actually took a bite at me. The lady then acted like I had done something to torment the dog so we left and haven't been back. I did warn the people coming in (they had kids) about the dogs.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Debbie
Zone: 8a
Date: 01-Jun-01 12:19 PM EST

We have 2 dogs running around our nursery. They love people and greet each and every person with tail wagging excitement. It's getting to the point where 1/2 of our regulars show up with cookies for them and they are starting to recognize thier cars. We often have customers ask if they can let their dogs out to run around and we usually say yes. The reason being that most people have common sense enough and know their dogs temperment and so far we have never had a problem.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: JoanneS
Zone: 3a
Date: 01-Jun-01 12:54 PM EST

Okay, here is my rating of Apache Seed in Edmonton.

Excellent family-owned business. Been in Edmonton for decades. Staff are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. If I ask for something special, they will track it down for me. Prices are very reasonable - not expensive.

Over the years, they have taught me a lot of what I know about gardening. They recognize me when I come in and they know the names of my children - and I only come in 3 or 4 times a year.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Ann
Zone: 4b
Date: 01-Jun-01 08:12 PM EST

Another true story: I asked garden centre staff if they had any Ajuga, she said they hadn't. I walked over and pointed to 20 flats of them that I just noticed. "Oh those things" she said. "Puffs" Help.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Diane
Zone: 6a
Date: 01-Jun-01 11:51 PM EST

Whew! Intersting answers in under 24 hours! So, Donna, ready to set up a spot for rating garden centres, nurseries etc.? It ought to be quite interesting! I'd be willing to help out, if you need any. It's understandable that many garden centre staff are "seasonal" but if they're ill-informed, it still reflects badly on their employer. On the other hand, there's a very large family-owned local nursery near me (they don't hire outside the family for direct-customer-contact, only gtunt work). At the ckeckout counter, one of the female members haughtily informed me that "they're annuals ya know, ya paying cash fer this or what?" So sometimes, even the owners can be winners of the "rude and/or ignorant" award.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Jude
Zone:
Date: 02-Jun-01 12:35 AM EST

I agree with Joanne that Apache Seed is great in Edmonton.

I was out to Greenland in Sherwood Park this evening and had outstanding service. I had gone to pickup a clematis that I had been informed (by email) they had in stock (Vyvyan Pennell).... only to find out they didn't have any. But as much as that sounds like a negative, in all fairness to them it was Monday that they told me they had it in stock & I didn't make it out there 'til Friday. But what REALLY turned this negative into a positive was the fact they had not just one, but two staff members who scoured all the clematis (and they have a lot), trying to find me one. They also apologized constantly and told me they would get one ordered for me right away. But with the price of gas the way it is and being unemployed right now, I couldn't really afford another trip out there, but for sure I will be back there next year to get it.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From:
Zone: 3b
Date: 02-Jun-01 12:48 AM EST

Well, that was a nasty incident with the dogs, I agree. Now from the other side...some nurseries train/educate their staff, some do not (sometimes training is 'cashier training' only). And some really demand 'hands on' knowledge from their staff. Having worked in 3 local non-big-box nurseries over the years I can tell you that unless you are the manager you will make $7 - $7.50/hr with a long list of demands from both employer and customers (we get uninformed, cranky, rude customers, too!!). Employees may get a discount on plants, or not, but at $56/day... At this kind of wage, the friendly, knowledgable staff are usually 'in it' for other than monetary reasons!! They have an interest in plants and their employer has an interest in them! As I read above, some people (employees /customers) can really make or break your day and we're all human. Garden centre managers/owners may be way too busy to read how they are rated on this site at this time of year, but if they have a personal interest in their business they WILL care. But staff who face abuse, disrespect and 'deaf' customers often do not have a personal interest in the business. Don't get me wrong, I get frustrated when I shop, too, but there are always TWO sides!!

P.S. I love gardening!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Diane
Zone: 6a
Date: 02-Jun-01 02:48 AM EST

I agree, we all could be more civil to each other in everything we do, But, I reiterate what I said at the beginning about "rating dining establishments" and this is done for rating vacation resorts ... just about anything! Maybe we could talk about/rate the quality of the merchandise the store has and throw in some comments about the staff. But, if you're a new customer, whether you're buying a flat of pansies in a nursery or ordering a nice bottle of Merlot in a restaurant, the staff can sometimes make or break the relationship the proprietor wants to make with the customer.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Deirdre
Zone:
Date: 02-Jun-01 07:36 AM EST

I can certainly relate to this thread topic. This does not pertain to the Garden Centres that pop up seasonally - I figure with those you get what you pay for, and actually have not had too many problems with them. My concern is with the staff at a very large, locally owned family-run organization who seem to go out of their way to hire unsmiling, borderline rude staff, particularly for the check-out station, each year. Even the knowledgeable long-time staff are difficult to deal with. I find them patronizing and impatient, and as it is a high-end nursery, with top price stuff, they seem to cater to the clients who look as if they may be spending ++, but overlook those like myself, who are on a budget and have to shop very carefully. I have a $100.00 gift certificate from there that is now 2 years old, and each time I go in to check what I could buy with it, I end up leaving empty-handed, and determined to not go back again. Frustrating!! On the plus side, there is a centre, also a little pricey, but a joy and pleasure to just visit and look around - Mori Gardens on Highway 55 in Virgil, Ontario - and they carry some unusual items as well.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: andy
Zone: 5
Date: 02-Jun-01 09:58 AM EST

It's the same with weekend staff at Canadian Tire! All they're there to do is stock the shelves.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From:
Zone: 3b
Date: 02-Jun-01 10:32 AM EST

Did anyone ever learn the Golden Rule? It is still an ideal to follow. The weekend staff at Can Tire makes $6/hr, has zero training, probably can't afford to buy the merchandise on this limited income alone, and NO time but to stock the shelves, price the merchandise, etc., etc. They lose interest in demanding customers just as anyone else (better garden centers take more time to encourage 'putting on a happy face'). They're under the gun from the top to get this, this, this and that done before you leave for your l0 - l5 min break, if you get one. That makes the best of us cranky!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: andy
Zone: 5
Date: 02-Jun-01 11:09 AM EST

Hey, the Can Tire staff on the weekends are 99% KIDS! Lighten up already. Demanding customers? Customers like me who ask where the "Tire" irons are in the Can "Tire" store? And are those better garden centers that take more time to encourage 'putting on a happy face' in Walmart? Don't get me wrong, we all worked for minimum wage when we were kids, and I don't really remember caring all that much about the job either. "He who has the gold makes the rule", right?


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 02-Jun-01 04:36 PM EST

Anyone who works in a service industry knows that attitude is everything, and customers can always shop somewhere else. My favourite garden centre is Holland Valley Nursery in Newmarket, Ontario. Since I started gardening 4 years also, the staff have been knowledgable and helpful and willing to answer my many questions. Everyone is consistently pleasant, no matter how busy they are, and if they don't know the answer, they will find out for you.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From:
Zone:
Date: 02-Jun-01 05:17 PM EST

I just came back from Farmer's Market in Halifax where I was helping a friend sell. I am also an gardener. As one that is on both sides of the flowers, it works both ways. As a salesperson, I find that nice customers will more apt to get a dollar or two off if buying in volumne - or look like they have falling in love with the product and just need that extra prod, give extra tips, and offer to bring the next week if they are looking for something you do not have there, as well as help to the car - and it does not matter if they have the $$$ or not. Rude ones get service but no discounts, and you do not bother with advice, or go that extra bit. As a customer, I buy from people I feel care about their product, trust, and are reasonable polite. For the person with the gift certificate - spend it or give to friend, you are only letting the owner made extra profit by not spending it. Sometimes,it does not matter what you do, but I find a smile and a sense of humor gets you farther ahead, no matter what side of the flower you are on.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Ed
Zone: 5a
Date: 02-Jun-01 09:40 PM EST

Many years ago when I was a weekend helper at a nursery, a customer handed me the bill of a purchase made the previous year and demanded a refund. The purchase concerned a boxwood that had not survived the winter. On enquiry,he revealed that it had been planted in a window box and carefully maintained during the growing season. My explanation that the name boxwood had no relationship whatever with container planting, came as a shock to him, but did little to shake his resolve to claim a refund. In the end, management supported my verdict that no refund was justified, on the basis that he had acted entirely on his unfounded assumption.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From:
Zone: 3
Date: 03-Jun-01 12:20 AM EST

He who has the gold makes the rule - how sad but true today. Not a light thought at all! We can go ahead and rate garden centres but I'm not sure we're going to boost some employees' morale, which may partly answer for their ignorance/rudeness/crankiness. No one, even the 'have nots' (no gold!) , is happy working for peanuts or little respect from the 'haves'.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Arne
Zone: 8
Date: 03-Jun-01 12:54 AM EST

Speaking from the nursery owners point of view and one that I am sure is generally speaking the view of most serious nursery owners is that whether or not the customer is right he is!!! We have an exchange policy at my nursery which is " If you bought it here and something is wrong with it, bring it back within one year so we can look at it and we will exchange it "! We do this as it ensures our selling staff informs the customer of all the critical information about the plant right from how to plant it to watering and fertilizing. I also tell my staff if someone has a problem then you refer it to me or my better half Debbie. Our staff is there to sell or help out in any way they can but not to make decisions that deal with the public's ire! Now on to Canadian Tire and other large box stores! (walmart, overwaitea, super stores, and the like) Not one of them should have th right to call themselves a garden centre or garden nursery! Yes they buy plants (from in most cases very good wholesale nurseries)but it is what they do with them after they buy them that irks me. They have no idea as to the care needed to keep plants in good condition as is evident by the lack of qualified staff who are dealing with them. It takes a minimum of three years to become a Horticulture Technician with the knowledge most gardeners require today. What there is, is a staff or underpaid and in most cases over worked young part time school kids who are either trying to save money for collage or to make this months payment on their new Dodge 4x4. Don't blame the staff in these places ...blame the management because if they were really serious about the wishes of their customers they would have qualified people in charge. I know I have a biased point of view when it comes to chainstores but it is not without reason and in a lot of cases customers can get good plants at fair prices, providing they get them as they come off the delivery truck right from the wholesalers.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From:
Zone: 3
Date: 03-Jun-01 10:42 AM EST

Right on Arne! Several yrs ago I worked at a large family-owned garden centre outside of Edmonton. A very knowledgeable, seasoned co-worker (in the unenviable position in the customer service booth!) was let go after a series of incidents involving rudeness to customers. Let go fast. I guess the customer, ultimately, is always right. Among a variety of customers I love the ones who have lots of info/tips to share, and the serious but uninformed ones, too! Serious telephone enquiree to male co-worker: 'Do you have any clitoris?' (clematis!) Co-worker: 'Gosh, no! But I'll get you some one who has!!!

Would it be more productive, direct and pro-active to deal with poor service at garden centres to approach/contact the manager and COMMEND excellent service or, in the interests of promoting better service, expressing your dissatisfaction with poor service? After all, isn't that what we all want, no matter how much 'gold' we have? Any garden centre worth its salt will listen to you!! Experienced gardencentre connoiseurs already know which ones they are.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Brenda
Zone: 3a
Date: 03-Jun-01 07:28 PM EST

My FAVORITE greenhouse in Edmonton (near Sherwood Park) is "Greenland Garden Centre".

Their staff are FRIENDLY, knowledgeable and, more importantly, WILLING to want to help you. If the person you talk to does not know the answer, they will try to find out for you.

Gardener's who buy at the "big box" stores (with seasonal gardening areas) PAY FOR WHAT THEY GET.

I have bought some things at these stores but accept the fact that I must rely on my own research and knowledge. I don't even bother asking the staff.

With these types of stores, rudeness is sometimes confused with ignorance; that is, the staff have been hired to stock shelves and work a cash register - NOT to know about gardening.

The rudest treatment I have received (on several occasions) is at one of the largest garden centre's - Holes in St. Albert.

Based on my experiences, I find their staff to be knowledgeable, however I often feel that many of them (not all) avoid making eye contact because they might have to help you! Perhaps "rude" is not the correct term - but the enthusiasm and interest in the customer is not often present. I can't ever remember being asked if I needed help (I am asked constantly at Greenland).

Another complaint I have of "Holes" is that you can no longer get directly in touch with "perennials", "trees & shrubs", etc. You must talk to the "expert" at the information desk.

My main business will continue to go to Greenland!

P.S. Salisbury is also excellent (good overall selection of everything with a 2 year guarantee on trees/shrubs). I know of no other garden centre that has a two year guarantee.

Happy Gardening!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Marianne
Zone: 3
Date: 04-Jun-01 03:29 PM EST

While shopping at Revy in Calgary, hubby and I stopped at the sign that said "your Pond specialists" for a pump. When we were asked the size of our pond, and told the sales woman the size, she said "NO IT'S NOT!" so loud she drew a crowd. Who was she to tell me my pond was too big, I live on an acreage with lots of space! PMS? I'm a woman too with the stess of running a business, household, yard, etc. Will NEVER step foot in that store again. Should have talked to the manager but I was too mad.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Dave W
Zone: 3a
Date: 04-Jun-01 04:12 PM EST

WOW what a great thread to get the forum growing!

My own rules to live(garden) by:

1)You get what you pay for.

2)If you want credible info-go to a knowledgable source.

3)If you know what you want, how to use it and what the results will be - shop by price.

4)If your not happy - speak to the person who can make you happy (ie. manager/owner). Always follow up with a letter (good or bad).

5)Always know the name of the person you are dealing with. Can be very helpfull with #4!

My experiences have convinced me that professional nurseries/garden centres are the way to go. Lets not kid ourselves, there are good and bad staff working in ALL companies. The challenge is to "weed" the poor ones out and "cultivate" a relationship with the good ones. If we accept mediocrity and do not voice our concerns/expectations - we really have ourselves to blame.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Donna
Zone: 3a
Date: 04-Jun-01 07:29 PM EST

Interesting...I was in a garden centre yesterday and was delighted to hear that they had already read this thread - they were also happy to hear that they were a part of it! Hopefully more companies are interested in what consumers have to say about service...and will make changes if that service is negative.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Diane
Zone:
Date: 04-Jun-01 10:58 PM EST

i'm very heartened by all the different viewpoints and responses to my subject. When I started out gardening, I presumed that anybody who had anything to do with growing and/or selling plants (including garden club members)was a person worth knowing. Well, experience has shown me otherwise! Gardeners are no better than anyone else; we all have our faults, some of us are nice people and some of us are just plain grumpy and ornery all the time. Maybe I should start a subject on that - bad experiences with garden clubs and gardeners!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Jeanie
Zone: 6
Date: 05-Jun-01 06:55 PM EST

Hi Everyone, I have just been enjoying your comments and noticed that most of you are in Canada. How long is your growing season there? I guess that was a dumb question, huh? Anyway, I had to comment on the difference here in the states, at least my experience. The little tents that go up in the parking lots, is, I guess what you are speaking of. I have been to 4 of those, at least 7 or 8 times and they are the friendliest and most knowledgeable. The larger year round nurseries are too busy to talk or even see you! And rude doesen't come close to the welcome I get! I would rather buy my plants there, but I will not give them my business, just for that reason. Anyone who wants to stay in business, should make sure their employees are at the very least...nice and pleasant to their customers. Thanks for letting me invade your conversations. Happy gardening to you all!!! Jeanie


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: peggy
Zone:
Date: 06-Jun-01 12:25 PM EST

have been following the garden centre rating debate with interest & as the mom of a garden centre employee I have a few comments of my own. My son is a university student working at a large family run business north of Edmonton for his fourth summer. Over the dinner table he & his siblings trade horror stories about their summer jobs & I am constantly amazed at the rudeness & lack of courtesy directed at the younger employees. I regularly cruise the aisles where he works & have seen some of my fellow gardeners in action. It is not my sons fault if you planted your rose bush in the ground in its pot & expected it to live. Do not call nursery staff four letter names (esp in front of your kids) or assume that because they are younger than you they don't know anything.If you drive a 2 door sports car don't expect the nursery staff to load your 9 foot tree without difficulty. As my mom used to say, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar!!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Suzanne White
Zone: 6a
Date: 07-Jun-01 09:45 PM EST

What an interesting conversation! Just to add my bit I have recently moved from Whitby in Ontario to south of Picton. I left 4 of the best garden centres and have,since then, been searching for some replacements down here. Anyone in the Durham area should check out Vandermeer's, Pine Ridge Garden Gallery, and Marjorie Mason-Hogue's garden centre. There you will find friendly, knowledgeable staff. As far as Canadian Tire goes it makes my heart cry to see the state of their plants by the end of the season - however, I did pick up some great deals there last fall. They had some huge pots of plants on sale for one or two dollars. With some TLC they made it through the winter and now are doing beautifully - even after being moved from my old home to a new one! So, be educated, go to the people who know what they are doing and use the "big" not true garden centres for cheapies at the end of the season.

Happy gardening! Suzanne


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: glen
Zone: 3
Date: 08-Jun-01 09:43 AM EST

Suzanne you bring up a peeve of mine regarding those clearance plants. Yes, I got some great potted roses and a dogwood shrub and after a couple of growing seasons you would never know they were 'abused'.

I would warn people, however, don't buy it unless it looks alive. If it's July and the store has bareroot roses on clearance with no sign of life on the rose, chances are it's dead. Don't laugh, I've see it happen. I almost felt like getting a felt pen and writing on the clearance sign "dead roses". The same goes for those bulbs and roots they sell in peat moss in those little bags, look for signs of life before you buy.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: JoanneS
Zone:
Date: 08-Jun-01 03:57 PM EST

Jeanie_ra, just to answer your question. The growing season depends on which part of Canada you are in. In the Yukon, a lot of gardening is done in raised beds, out here on the prairies, we put our our bedding plants (annuals) the Victoria Day weekend, May 21st, in southern Ontario they are probably similar to you in zone 6, and in Vancouver it rains all winter, and rarely snows. I don't know much about the weather in the maritimes, but again, it would depend which part, north or south.

Happy gardening.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Dave
Zone:
Date: 08-Jun-01 06:57 PM EST

After being in retail sales management for several years, I've found this string both entertaining and all too real. Employees always ask "Where are all the good customers?" and the customers ask "Where are all the good employees?" Canadian have a reputation of being polite but I'm not quite sure. Overall employees want to do an average job and the employer unknowing sets this level of performance for all employees by accepting poor levels of service from a few. Also, customers often have a chip on their shoulder which then gets the employees back up. I've found if you have low expectations and a kind word, employees generally do the best they can. And sometimes this is amazing service because they appreciate your patience and kind words. It is true that family run business give the best service but the deep discount prices and sometimes excellent selection at the big box end of season sales is often unresistable. I try to treat all employees as if they are my son/daughter and it is surprising how well most respond. With the lack of training, lack of supervision and pitiful wages the temp employees receive from the big box stores,it's no wonder they may be short on knowledge and service skills. I've found that waiting for 'poor service' garden centres to go out of business because I've boycotted them is a long rarely, successful process.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Annie D
Zone: 5b
Date: 09-Jun-01 09:53 PM EST

Suzanne,I moved from Whitby to Brighton, 2 years ago and miss those garden centres you mentioned, especially Vandermeer's. I haven't found anything on par yet in this area. I had a clerk in Walmart insist my hanging plant was a bleeding heart and not a fuschia. I didn't even ask her for help but she overheard me talking with a friend and decided to join in!


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Linda
Zone: 2b
Date: 10-Jun-01 12:23 AM EST

All garden staff are working for low wages. The work is seasonal so it is hard to train staff and keep them year after year.

Big box stores are bad because they use plants as a way to encourage people to come to their store. If you aren't there when the stock comes in it is likely dead or close to it in a few days. the plants they bring in aren't always suitable for the climate, or come too early to the prairies as they are ordered at head office in zone 6 or 7.

On the bright side I have tried some of these plants because they are cheap and had good luck planting them in a very sheltered spot.

The big boxes are much needed competition in some areas. It helps to keep the other guys honest.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Debbie
Zone:
Date: 10-Jun-01 01:21 AM EST

Box stores are not much needed competiton for anyone. They hire part time staff so they can pay the lowest wage, less benefits etc. This puts a strain on every business from your local family owned clothing and furniture store to local nursery. Take THE GREAT (hmmph) CANADIAN SUPERSTORE..they sell everything from clothes to oil for your car. It has a drug store, a subway and it's own bank on residence. Hell, they decided that even walking in the door should be so welcoming that they greet you with staple gun and a roll of tape so that you can not shop lift. Then as your leaving they ask you how many bags would you like and as your bagging up your own groceries that you payed full price for they tack on 4 cents for every bag you use. Can you phone them up and say " I bought a chicken at Safeway..how do I cook it?" We get constant phone calls asking us where how and when to plant certain things they have bought at these chain stores and we tell them, but it makes us shake our heads.

You wouldn't go to your local nursery to buy that chicken so why should you go to a grocery store to buy plants. Much needed competition....why not ask your local nurseryman the next time you drop in, and as HONEST as he can he will tell you what he thinks.


Subject: RE: rude garden centre staff
From: Karen
Zone: 6a
Date: 11-Jun-01 10:44 AM EST

I agree with the argument that poor service is not the fault of the employee but of management. I'm sure most of us have worked for minimum wage at some point in our lives. My first job paid $3/hr. The rate didn't seem bad to me because I was 15 and had no expenses-this was before kids "needed" cell phones and 150 CD's. All the same, my boss would not tolerate rudeness or laziness under any circumstances. He did not accept applications, preferring to ask around about the local teenagers. (It was a small town.) Based on the comments he heard, he hand-picked his staff. My best friend also worked at the same place, and now almost 20 years later we still talk about the great work ethic our boss instilled in us. We both shake our heads when we come across slow, rude teenagers who seem to resent their summer jobs. I realize I sound like one of those "kids-these-days" curmudgeons, and I'm really not. I reiterate that it is up to management to screen their employees, train them properly and give them a sense of responsibility and job-ownership. Lifelong work habits are learned on these jobs. Expect more and you'll get more.

K.


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