Tag Archives: checkers


6 Apr

While walking out of Checkers Hyper the other day, I spotted their bookshelf. Excellent attention to detail once again:


Checkers Complaint

27 Feb

This is a complaint letter I’ve written to Checkers Hyper in Tokai. I’m hosting it here because the character limit on Hello Peter does not allow me enough room to fully express myself. That short complaint links here. So this is really for the Checkers person, but feel free to use this complaint letter as a template for your own troubles with stick blenders and automaton management styles…

To Whom It May Concern,

I recently purchased a ‘Platinum Design’ stick blender set for my wife’s birthday. I used it once to make a milkshake (noting that milk gets in behind the blade-plate and can’t easily come out), and my wife used it once to try and chop some milk chocolate. It broke instantly, because the drive-shaft exerts all its power on a little plastic rotor less than 1mm thick. All this is to say it’s a stupid product designed only to look like one that functions, and cheap or not, you shouldn’t be selling it. Some things are cheap and good, and some things are cheap and nasty. This item is barely good enough to qualify in the ‘nasty’ category, and its awfulness reflected badly on my present-buying skills and more generally on me as a husband.

This is not yet my complaint with you.

Feeling like a chump, I set out with the kids to return the item and hopefully to replace it with one that is designed with function in mind. Due to traffic and no parking, I arrived as an unhappy customer in a bad mood. Your staff, fortunately for them, offered no objection to me returning the item, but I then suggested a solution to the problem that would have been of mutual benefit: because I bought the item on special, and because I was now going to have to replace my wife’s present at a significant cost increase, and because I had to travel all the way back to you on a Saturday to point out what garbage you sold me, I asked whether your returns manager person would be able to offer me a better price on the upgrade item (which is a lot more than I was hoping to spend). I didn’t ask for something free; I didn’t even ask for something at cost price. All I asked is that I be allowed to spend more money at your unhappy-making store in a way that is mutually beneficial to us both.

In response, she kindly said, ‘Sorry, we don’t do that sort of thing’. So, instead of ‘thinking’ or ‘managing’, she pleaded policy. The-computer-made-me-do-it arguments make me extremely angry, which is why I am writing to you, because having a human brain is supposed to equip us to act with reason and empathy, and brains are supposed to override policies when it is clear that it is in everyone’s interest to do so. I was asking to be made into a happy customer (having already been made into a chump by your low-fi product), and I was asking to spend money in your store. Instead, I got invited to take my money and go. Where do you think I bought the somewhat-too-expensive but much-loved Kenwood upgrade that we now have? Hint: it was not at Checkers Hyper.

And why, I ask you, why annoy me? Why have a manager at all when a policy book will do? Sometimes a refund is not good enough. Sometimes it’s your wife’s birthday present and it worked for 20 full seconds before breaking. Sometimes it’s Saturday and you had to haul two small kids through traffic to return the shameful item. Sometimes you just want someone to do you the credit of listening to how they can help before telling you ‘no’.

Yours Sincerely,

Jordan Pickering

A Complaint Letter

17 Jan

The following is a complaint letter that I’m about to send to Checkers.

Change to Checkers?

They say that you should never shop hungry. That’s because one’s more primal urges over-ride one’s better judgment. Well I went to Checkers absolutely ravenous, and I left with nothing. Not a sausage. I had to struggle even to leave with the money with which I came, but I’m getting there.

I work very close to a Checkers, and so I’ve been persuaded to go inside for food twice in the last week. The first time, I tried to buy something labelled R8.99, and when the bakery lady scanned it, it was R9.99. I was already cross from the post office that day, so I was not in a forgiving mood, and I left empty-handed.

Some minutes ago, I left your shop angry again, but this time it was all you.

The choice between heavily-garlicked and vastly overcooked couldn’t tempt me to try your bakery again, so I took a loaf of bread marked R6.95, some cheese sausages above a R21.95 label, and a bottle of hot sauce also at R22. That should add up to about 50 bucks.

Getting quite keen for my lunch now, I got to the till and handed over my 50. I was twenty-something rand short, says the lady. My maths is patchy, but it’s never been that bad. I look at the slip, and it says that the sausages are actually R37.99 or something — nearly double the list price. Now I’m thinking, if I was at Pick ‘n Pay, their policies would force them to give me the item for free; why didn’t I go to Pick ‘n Pay?

What does the Checkers lady say? ‘Here’s a refund.’ She sends another employee to ‘go find these’, but tells me nothing about the implications of this for me. With a growing queue behind me, and without any lunch solution, I start to get angry.

‘But now I have nothing to put on my bread,’ I point out. ‘Must I go and get more sausages?’

‘Yes, go and get something else.’

So I take my change, and leave the two items for which I have now paid with the till lady at the counter. On the way, I look at the till slip and notice that the R6.95 bread actually cost me R9.99. In case you’ve lost count, that’s 3 incorrect prices out of 4 — all of them higher than advertised. I collect the R6.95 bread price-tag from the bread shelf and hunt for different sausages. I notice that the price under my original sausages was not for that brand, but something else. And although two varieties of the sausage brand that I had originally bought are stacked on the shelf, none of the price tags on any of the shelves relate to either variety. None of the prices anywhere in the mystery meat fridge are R30 or higher. I would argue from this that it is your intention to deceive.

I see a good price on smoked viennas and try to find these. There are red viennas above the price-tag. I hunt around for the smoked ones and eventually find them above the red-vienna tag (the red viennas are more expensive, if you were wondering).

Getting cross now, I return to the till, and there is a long queue now. I flag down the managerly person who had previously refunded me, and start my story. She listens and then points out that she’s not a manager, she’s a supervisor. Oh. She points me to the manager’s office in the corner. I ask her to take me. She doesn’t. I go to the office in the corner and there are two doors. I knock, and it’s the wrong door. The manager’s office is not quite in the corner. I ask if the lady is the manager, and she says yes (but in a bored, huffy way, of course). I begin my story, and she interrupts me after the third or fourth sentence. ‘I have to deal with this lady first,’ she says, about four sentences later than she should have. So she calls someone else to deal with me.

After a wait, I start my story for the third time, and the ‘fresh-produce manager’ (viennas are fresh?) and I return to the till. The stuff that I had already paid for — bread and sauce — are not there. After a whole lot of umming and ahing, no one knows what’s become of it, so I’m standing with the change from my R50 — the wrong change — some viennas I’ve not paid for, and an empty space where my purchases should have been.

Getting extremely sick of all this, I ask for my R50 back. I’m very hungry, though losing my appetite, but I can skip a meal without fainting, and I’m now beyond spending money at this establishment. The manager, sensing that he’s about to lose a customer permanently, says a weak ‘sorry’, but does nothing except agree to give me my R50.

The till lady, however, decides that it inconveniences her to give me R50. She first has to finish ringing up someone else’s groceries before she can get to it (I assume it’s not like you can just open a till). And then when the supervisor lady from before sees that she’s about to shut the till again without acknowledging my existence, she points out that I’m waiting for my R50. Till lady wants to have a discussion about it, despite two of her superiors having agreed that it is a good, short-sighted solution to my problem, and so she won’t give over. Remarkably, the supervisor feels that a discussion is an appropriate course of action, and starts a rambling explanation. I preferred raising my voice at this point — a medium-volume shout, I’d say — because I’m extremely busy at the moment (though not too busy to write to you — it’s not like I have to waste any time eating today), and me not getting lunch had already taken a good half an hour. Till lady started to see my side of the story. I took my money and left.

Please allow me to point out that your ad campaign at the moment argues that you’re really quite cheap, and you have more kinds of cheese than any store in the known world. For these reasons we ought to rest assured that our lifestyle won’t have to change if we ‘change to Checkers’ from an unnamed store (Woolworths). If I was just at Pick ‘n Pay — supposedly a sideways step from Checkers — I would have had free lunch, an escort to the manager’s office, and someone dealing with my problem with me, instead of sending me back into the shop to try again while someone nicked what I had already bought. How on earth do you expect to compete with Woolworths if you can’t even cover common-sense service, let alone the extra-mile stuff?

I vowed never to use Shoprite again some years ago — you really have to hate yourself to suffer that kind of ‘service’ — but I thought Checkers was slightly more customer-oriented. I seems that I was mistaken. You see, your (ex) customers are also prone to the odd mistake!

Hungrily yours,