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My wife and I own a giant creature. His name is Charlie and he is a 9 month old 120 pound Newfoundland with a healthy appetite for destruction.

With that being said, we need a brand that can fulfill our need as consumers. Petsmart was fulfilling this need, until November third of last year. Petsmart previously had the best return policy of any pet store around. They would accept anything from their store that didn’t hold up to the pet it was purchased for. So having a dog that destorys leashes, this concept was very compelling to me. Charlie is now on his fourth leash since I have been taking care of him. Leash number 3 was purchased at Petsmart and lasted 11 days before plastic pieces started to crumble off and eventually led to it’s demise. So, two weeks seemed a bit crappy to me. We tried to take it back, and at first the cashier assisting us was going to accept our return and told us pick out what we needed and come back to the counter when we were ready. A few moments later, she finds me in the store and tells me that her manager said we could not return it because it had visual damage. To which I said, “I know, that’s why I’m returning it.” She said I could speak with the manager. So I did. For purposes of this story, we’ll call him ‘Dick’. Dick tells me that he cannot accept said item because it has visible damage and that they have a new store policy because of “Economical Difficulties”. At this point, I give up and say thank you and leave the store.

Very bothered by the situation, Kelly and I call the store and talk to Dick immediately after leaving just to tell him that we understand the financial hardships of our nation, and we felt we were treated unkindly in his store. We then told him that we will not be returning to the store, because the petsmart brand had been tarnished for us and we would rather support a local business anyway and since petsmart could no longer offer us a guarantee that would make it financially smarter for us to shop there then we would use a more localized source for our pet needs.

At this point, Dick recanted and told us that he would accept the return in order to keep us as customers. Kelly and I agreed that it was little too late for that, and we ended the conversation. We don’t hold Dick responsible for the new policies of his company.

Moral of the story: When your company falls on hard times you shouldn’t allow your brand standards visual or personal to fall by the wayside due to financial difficulties. My family bought all of our pet needs from petsmart (leashes, dishes, treats, grooming, and a 40 lb bag of dog food every 3 weeks). Now we don’t. We shop local now, which is a good thing. If you offer a guarantee that no one else offers, in this troubling time you can’t afford to change it. My father also owns a Newfoundland and has also sworn off Petsmart (in a much more angry way than I, but still). I can only imagine that most would and will do the same as they discover this new policy. Is it more cost effective to destroy your brand and save a few dollars or maintain your brand and save a few followers?

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3 Comments

  1. I worked for PS for 3 yrs. I think- and I am surely no expert- that the return policy they had was so abused by many people they had to put a stop to it. I saw cages that sat out in the elements for months being returned for new ones and the store mgr unable to refuse them. I saw so many ways this return policy was taken advantaqge of. We even had shoplifters come in and then return the products they stole for cash back! If only people were honest!!!!!

  2. I’m sure it’s just like any store where they have problems with people abusing the system.

    For me, the return policy was the only reason I shopped there because nobody else could touch it. Many people feel the same way, I’m sure. As a company if I offer something no one else can offer then the last thing I would ever do would be to cancel that service.

  3. I agree with you 100% but I guess it got cost prohibitive to keep that policy up. Now, if corporate had a brain, they would give the store managers the authority to make the decision on an individual basis, instead of having an across the board, unflexible policy. but that is not the corporate way!


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