Tag Archives: local stores

Spice Girls Are Not the Headliner Anymore!

If you’re an avid baker, you may have realized that there is a worldwide shortage of vanilla beans. Not only is the price of supply skyrocketing, but it’s also making it difficult to find good quality beans. Since my wife had a recipe that required several vanilla beans, I went on a search looking for beans at a reasonable price. During my research, I came across a store that I used to be familiar with when I lived downtown. House of Spice located in Kensington Market in Toronto on Augusta Avenue.

I called up to find out if they had the product I was looking for, and much to my surprise, they stocked a few different varieties of the bean. The most popular is the Madagascar vanilla bean and while other places quoted as much as $12.00 a bean, House of Spice was selling them for $6.95. My wife and I decided to go down there to check out the quality. Much to her excitement, the beans were fresh and of high quality!

While we were there, my wife started looking around and found a number of different and unique ingredients that she had been searching for. Items like pickling salt, Ethiopian spices, and several different types of coffee were all right there, tucked into the little store. In addition to the wide selection of products and reasonable prices, perhaps what was just as important, if not more, was that the staff were extremely friendly and very knowledgeable.

When it comes to something like simple salt and pepper (this store had 4 different varieties of specialty sea salt and truffle salt!) you don’t need an expert, but with other products you need someone who understands what they are for, and how they should be stored. The employees at House of Spice were helpful, and clearly know their business! Although it is a small store, they manage to stock a lot of different items, so I would plan on browsing the shelves. In fact, why not make an afternoon of it? There are lots of other food stores in the neighborhood, as well as great restaurants to grab a bite.

House of Spice is definitely a worthwhile place to check out for anyone interested. Enjoy your cooking and shopping and remember to invite me for dinner!

House of Spice
416-593-9724
http://www.ehouseofspice.com

 

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No Muss, No Fuss… When It Comes to Returns, Costco Gets It!

This is a photo of a Costco Storefront

As much as I enjoy shopping at Costco, some of their customer service issues really drive me crazy! Whether it’s the frustration of not being able to find assistance while in the warehouse, or how customers have to wait in long lines just to purchase one or two items, I still feel that they have lots of ways to improve their experience. But today I’m going to tell you about the one thing that Costco gets right, and masters, time and time again.

As an expert in the customer service industry, I’m extremely impressed with Costco’s ability and willingness to deal with returns. Costco provides members with a no muss no fuss warranty policy, as I learned, last year, after purchasing a car battery at their Downsview location. Much to my surprise, the battery died after only six months, and despite not being able to find the receipt, I decided to take the battery back to Costco to see what they could do. The associate immediately looked up my receipt via my membership card and exchanged the battery for a new one….no questions asked. Six months later I had the same issue and I took the replacement battery back to the store, expecting an argument, if not at least some suspicious stares, but once again, the employee made the exchange quickly, efficiently, and without asking any questions.

In more recent times, I decided to put Costco to the test after I bought a package of three rib eye steaks for about $40.00 (boy, meat and steak prices have really increased over the last few years!). When we ate the steaks, my wife and daughter complained they were tough and really fatty, and I completely agreed.  That evening I called Costco and told them about our negative experience. The lady on the phone was very apologetic and disappointed to hear what had happened, and with no hesitation, whatsoever, she told me to return to Costco with the receipt and they would give me a full refund on the steaks.

I was so surprised by her gesture, I clarified that I couldn’t give the steaks back as they were already consumed and the lady said, “Don’t worry about it! We want you to be happy and satisfied with the product”.

While I begrudgingly accept some of the customer service issues associated with a warehouse operation, clearly Costco is a company that stands behind their products, and to me that’s almost as important as great customer service. I know that Costco isn’t for everyone but you may want to consider them for certain shopping needs.

Costco
1-800-463-3783
www.costco.ca

 

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