Customer Service Fail at Wholefoods House

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I've been having a hard time figuring out where to buy, among other things, bulk foods in Sydney at a reasonable cost. So I thought I'd struck gold when I happened upon organic suppliers, Wholefoods House. After my experience there today, however, I will not be returning. Here's why.

So last week I signed up on-line for a Wholefoods House membership. Handy. When the form asked me which of the two locations I'd be shopping at, figuring I live equidistant to both, I checked both. After my form had been submitted, the screen said that my member card would be available in a few days for me at the store I signed up for. Hmm... in theory that's helpful, but now who knows which shop will have my card.

So I pressed my luck, and yesterday I walked to the Waterloo location and explained the situation. The clerk was confused but went to see if my card was in the office. She returned and told me that cards are now being mailed out. Now, given the fact that this was their screw up, any store with good customer service would have offered to give me my member points anyway if I shopped there today. But I was refused.

Figuring I'd already made the half-hour trek over there I figured I'll do some shopping anyway. So I asked the clerk if she could weigh the containers I've brought with me so I can load them up with bulk foods. She then informed that she could not do that, and rather that I'd have to pay for the extra weight.

So here's the deal. I've got five plastic containers with lids. Let's say they weigh 50 grams each, and I buy five items that average out to $12/kg (the cost of quinoa, an item I buy often). That's an extra $3 I pay per visit. And I go through a lot of bulk foods. So let's say I come in fortnightly to re-fill my containers. That's $78 I pay Wholefoods a year for bringing my own containers - a practice that's not only better for the environment but saves them money on supplying packaging.

Needless to say I walked out empty-handed today and do not plan to return unless this ludicrous policy is revoked.


Mandee said...

That is terrible customer service and really stupid as you are doing your part for the environment and saving them money on packaging.

You'd be better off at Alfalfa House or the uni co ops where they don't charge for the extra weight of your own containers.

Sharon Troy said...

Yeah, the reason I went here instead of Alfalfa House was that it's close enough for me to walk to. If I have to take the train out to Newtown, that doesn't really save me any money.

I'm going to send an email to Wholefoods Hosue and see if maybe I can get them to change their policy.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, that is ridiculous. Maybe call the other store and speak to the manager explaining your situation - they might have a much better staff at the other location? I bet if you contacted their HQ they would sympathize.

Wholefoods House said...

Hi Sharon,

Eliot Rickards from Wholefoods House here.

Thanks again for sending that email earlier this year to bring my attention to this. I'm sure your readers would like to know that I was also surprised and disappointed to find out about the issue you raised in your post - it is certainly not our policy.

As you know this was sorted out as soon as we got your feedback and all staff were retrained and a written procedure made available for them.

We're a small family business and we pride ourselves on good customer service and will always be open to feedback and suggestions, so keep them coming.