Tag Archives: Mystery Shop

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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Games Night—Stay Latte!

Several weeks ago, as the weather turned colder, my family introduced me to great place for food and fun, located in downtown Toronto.

Snakes and Lattes (S&L) is Toronto’s original board game café where you can dine and play games for as little or as much time as you would like.  With over 1,000 games to choose from, there truly is something for everyone!  S&L now has two downtown locations.  The original location first opened on Bloor Street in 2010, and after much success, they opened their second location on College Street in 2015.

Both locations offer guests a dining experience, however, Bloor Street is more of a cafe, while the College Street location has more food and beverage options.  Of course, the food is almost secondary, to the main reason for going to Snakes and Lattes…..to play games.  In fact, if you enjoy any of the games that you play, they also have an area of the store where you can purchase games (I believe they are the only place in the city to buy the popular game, Cards Against Humanity).

The staff are well educated and can suggest age appropriate games for your group and give you details on how to play each game.  This is pretty impressive given the number of games S&L offers.  The games are divided into zones like card games, strategy, fantasy and more.  Some of the games are ones you have probably never heard of but they do indeed exist!

Snakes and Lattes does not take reservations so it is good to get there early, but if there is a wait, they will take down your number and text you when a table is available.  Even if you have to wait, it is definitely worth it!  S&L provides a fun evening out where you and your friends or family can partake in something a bit different than just going out for dinner or drinks.  It’s an especially enjoyable place to go during the cold winter months.  

Don’t be surprised if you get hit by the bug and end up buying a game you played that night….it’s happened to us more than once.  Alternatively, you can also purchase games from their website.

Now back to Monopoly……

Snakes and Latte’s
647-342-9229
www.snakesandlattes.com

 

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Brrrr—Thank you Len!

Photo of Tempasure's Logo

Last week, around 9 pm I noticed that it was a little chilly inside my house and realized that my furnace had turned off.  Being the handy fellow that I am, I poked and prodded at the furnace to try and get it working, but had no such luck, and had to find a quick solution, as it was getting colder by the minute.

Since it was already late, I immediately went on Facebook and asked my neighborhood’s Facebook group if anyone knows a reliable person who deals with heating and furnaces.  Within five minutes, three different people sent me messages with the contact information for Len Minuk, owner of Temp▪A▪Sure.

Temp▪A▪Sure operates 24/7 and helps customers fix issues related to heating, cooling, hot water, gas lines, fireplaces and standby power generator equipment within the GTA.  Regrettably, I was unable to reach Len that evening since he was already asleep (it was after 11 pm), but I heard from him early the next morning and he indicated he would take care of my issue as soon as possible.  Even though Len was extremely busy, he said he would stop by in the morning to at least take a look at the furnace, and if it was a small repair he would do it immediately, or he would return in the afternoon if it required more work.

Fortunately the problem was minor and Len was able to fix it as soon as he arrived at our house.  In fact, Len diagnosed the problem within a couple of minutes of arriving, and had our furnace working soon after.  As the house began to warm up, Len stayed with us for an additional 15 minutes to ensure the job was complete and the problem was completely solved.  Len also noticed we were using the wrong size filter and offered to get me one that was the correct size, as it apparently makes a huge difference.

While a lot of people in the home comfort industry “talk” about service, it is clear Len provides it.  Len cares about his customers and his profession, and takes pride in his workmanship.  He even called me to follow up, later in the day, and normally would call the following day as well, but since this was minor, I told him not to worry about it.

I am so glad Len took time out of his busy schedule to fix our furnace on one of the coldest days of the year, when we needed it the most.  We are very fortunate to have found him and are very glad we did.  We will definitely use him again if we ever need any of his services.

Thankfully I can now put away the extra blankets and give back all the space heaters I borrowed.

Temp▪A▪Sure
416-806-6111
www.tempasure.com

 

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Losing the Pillow Fight!

Photo of people having a pillow fight

This week’s blog is a little different than the normal ones I write about, as I’m going to vent about a new pillow trend that is getting on my nerves… and resulted in me losing my last pillow fight!

Over the last year and a half, I have spent a fair bit of time traveling across Canada and the United States. To my surprise, the motels and inns I have been staying at have updated (or should I say, downgraded) their traditional rectangular pillows with the small square accent pillows you would typically find on a couch (as the decor).

I personally find this somewhat frustrating, if not ridiculous, as these “new” pillows are very uncomfortable and make it impossible to get a good night’s sleep. And if that’s not enough, these pillows create an added dilemma, as one square pillow on its own is too flat and two layered on top of each other are way too high.

How am I supposed to sleep?

I know, I know….perhaps I can travel with my own pillow like Linus who went everywhere with his blanket… but my wife always encourages me to pack light…. so what is a man to do??

While I am not going anywhere over the holiday season, I warn those of you who are to beware of these fluffy, little troublemakers.

Have you experienced this at any hotels over the last year? Is this a new trend? Am I going crazy and just imagining this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

On that note, to all of SQM’s readers and followers, have a safe enjoyable holiday season and a happy and healthy new year.

Sleep well!

 

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Leaside Volleyball Serves Up the Best League in the City

Photo of the Leaside Volleyball Clubs logo and court

Last year my daughter started playing volleyball at the Leaside Volleyball Club.  The league was recommended to me by the Ontario Volleyball Association, so I figured it had to be a good place to start learning about the game.  I was so impressed by the league that I wrote a blog about my experience and wanted to share an update with all of you today.

As my daughter continues to progress in the sport, I realize what a great team of coaches she has access to!  John Child, who played in three Olympic games and won an Olympic bronze medal in 2006, founded Leaside in 2010.  Since then, John has put together a great team of coaches composed of professional volleyball players such as Olympic, Pan Am, and varsity athletes.  In fact, one such Olympian who frequents the club is Heather Bansley, who competed in the 2016 Olympics in the women’s beach volleyball category.

Over the last year my daughter has improved significantly!  Today she is much better at serving, passing the ball, communicating with her team, and bumping the ball over the net to score a point for the team.  I believe my daughter and her teammates’ successes are due to the extraordinary coaches working at Leaside.  Without the extraordinary coaches, my daughter’s skills level would not be where it is today.

At Leaside, the winter season is less busy since some members pick up winter activities like skiing.  This makes it the perfect time of year for beginners to join in on the fun so they can get a little more instruction time and improve their skills before the spring season.  The winter session begins January 8th and I believe the league has already opened online registration.  In addition, they also have a New Years Skill Development clinic from January 2-5, 2017.

For anyone who’s son or daughter has expressed an interest in learning how to play volleyball, or for those that want to take their game to the next level, I highly recommend looking into Leaside Volleyball.

Leaside Volleyball Club
leasidevbc@gmail.com
www.Leasidevolleyball.com

 

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Samsung Just Pulled Me Into the 21st Century

Photo of a Samsung Galaxy S7

Some people might have read in my previous blog posts that I am a big fan of Blackberry. Up to last spring, I was using a very old Blackberry device, and for the most part, while I was with Blackberry, they took really good care of me both with tech support and overall customer service. Unfortunately, Blackberry has changed over the last few years, and it more recent times it became evident that it was time to consider other devices.

During the last few years, I have also put up with a growing list of friends and family who were constantly making fun of my older Blackberry. In fact, my sister-in-law would even make fun of me for using my device because I still called it a phone and didn’t understand the power of what I could do with modern day technology.

A few months ago, after hemming, hawing and researching the subject to death, I finally took the plunge and moved to an android device. In particular, I ended up buying a Samsung Galaxy S7. I know Samsung has been having issues with their Galaxy Note 7 but my research showed me the Galaxy S7 would be a good investment. Within minutes of setting up my device (with the help of my sister-in-law), I realized she was absolutely right! Boy, was I missing out big time… there was a whole new world out there! Whether it’s getting news and sports updates, being able to quickly check the weather, making free long distance phone calls (using Skype and WhatsApp), navigating our congested roads, price matching or finding deals, there is an app for everything!

If my calculations are correct, the amount of money I have saved through price matching and free long distance calls has already more than aid for the phone. In addition to these benefits, the phone is constructed extremely well. It has an amazing camera that creates beautiful photos (who needs a $1000 camera anymore?), is great on speaker phone, looks nice and has an amazing charger that charges my phone quickly so I don’t have to sit there for hours to get my phone up to a 100% charge.

Despite the recent issues surrounding the Galaxy Note 7, I recommend a Samsung product if you are looking to update your phone. For full disclosure, I have done business with Samsung in the past but this had no impact on my decision to purchase the device, or share my experience.

Samsung
1-855-254-4747
www.samsung.com

 

 

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Why Did David Cross the Road… to try Darosa’s Chicken!

Darosa's Logo

I often have to remind myself… you can’t judge a book by its cover, and sometimes have to take the plunge when it comes to trying smaller or obscure businesses.

A perfect example of this is how for many years I drove by a small restaurant called Darosa Cafe, which looked like nothing more than a small hole in the wall with greasy food.

One day when I was stopped at a red light, I noticed Darosa’s was full.  To my surprise, I also noticed they sell Portuguese chicken made on a churrasqueira (a Portuguese barbecue grill).  I was thrilled to discover this because I am very fond of Portuguese chicken.

I decided to try Darosa’s and was delighted I did!  The first time I went there was this past summer during the Euro Cup.  When I went to Darosa’s the Portugal game was playing on the televisions within the restaurant, so  there was some added excitement being in a Portuguese restaurant during the game and I’m sure their customers appreciated this.

Darosa’s is known for their barbecue chicken, grilled chicken, steak and fish.  When you order an entrée, it comes with your choice of traditional side dishes like potatoes, rice, vegetables, salad and fresh baked bread.  Darosa’s also has a liquor license and sells beer and wine to complement your meal.  In addition, Darosa’s provides customers with fast, friendly and polite service.

That said, one of the best parts of this restaurant, is their prices!  They offer amazing value for the money you spend.  A half chicken dinner and pop only costs around $12.00!

Darosa’s attracts lots of different clientele…some looking for a quick bite, and others looking for a longer, leisurely meal.  The restaurant also caters to those wanting to head home, by offering take-out.

One last thing that I love about Darosa’s is that the owner is often working in the kitchen, which makes me feel like the food will always be fantastic!

Whether for breakfasts or a late dinner, check out this delightful restaurant…..just don’t cheer too loudly for a team other than Portugal.

Darosa Cafe – Restaurant Churrasqueira
416-256-4544
www.darosarestaurant.com/

 

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