K-Mart

K-Mart has never been my favorite store. The one in New York isn't any better:

To Whom It May Concern:

Hi, my name is Leigh Cambre. I just recently relocated from Texas to New York. I wanted to share with you my experience at the K-Mart located on 250 West 34th Street in New York, NY. After purchasing $153.11 in merchandise, I am shocked at the treatment I got.

Coming from Texas, New York City already has the reputation for being a rough city. The expectation is bad customer service, unhappy employees, and impatience galore! Though I've been surprised to see many exceptions in my time here, my experience at K-Mart confirmed the negative stereotypes to be true.

After discussion of our many options, my roommate Lauren and I chose to spend our money at K-Mart because we thought the products you can provide at the bargain prices you offer would be worthwhile! As expected, we were happy with the variety of products we saw and satisfied with the prices.

We arrived at around 9 or 9:15 pm, fully understanding that the store closes at 10 pm. Having just moved into a new apartment with essentially nothing and being roommates for the first time, we needed the basics (toilet paper, plunger, soap, etc.) and we needed it for our first night in our apartment.

Starting at around 9:30 pm, Lauren and I recall hearing the "the store will be closing in xx minutes" messages. This being very trite in most stores, we noted the time and continued shopping. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then, at 9:40 or 9:45 pm, another message. And this message was about 60 seconds long. Not only did they tell us the time, but they kept reconfirming that the store was about to close, as if we did not get it when they said the store will be closing. Because we had 15 minutes left, we started rushing to get the last 4 things on our list.

As is our experience in Texas, when you are inside of a store, they let you finish shopping. We understand that everyone inside the store would like to go home. Working in retail myself, I completely understand this and was keenly aware of the time. I even joked with Lauren about how funny it was that this reminder was so lengthy.

Already under the stress of getting everything we need in the last 10 minutes to avoid another trip to K-Mart so soon after (since it's not close-by and we have to lug things via a subway), we were shocked and distracted to hear another FOUR messages from 9:50 to closing. Each message was said in a gradually more demeaning tone, as if we were rebellious children out to annoy the K-Mart employees.

After the final message was announced, Lauren and I started to make our way from the middle floor to the main door. On the way, we glanced down an aisle to see if we could pick up our last item (a nice paper towel dispenser). Immediately, since we were in view of an employee, we were gently scolded and told to go to a register. We started to make our way back to the elevator when a female employee saw us and said, "We're closed. You're not going to be able to check out. We're closed." She was visibly in shock that we were still in the store. This surprised both Lauren and I as it was 10:01 pm at that time. At about 10:02 pm, the speaker came on again to say in an abrasive tone that the bottom floor registers "are cloooooosed."
Though surprised, she guided us to the elevator and wished us luck in getting to check out (though no more help was offered). On the elevator, Lauren and I discussed how unbelievable it would be for them to pass up us purchasing so much. When we walked out and headed straight for the registers, we found that all of the registers were empty except for the customer service desk. Standing there was someone dressed nicely who I would expect to be a manager. My receipt says Shaun, and I understand it to be Shaun Buchanan, indeed a manager, who helped us out (which after our interaction was disappointing to realize as people looked to him for direction!).

When we walked to the customer service desk with looks of concern and confusion on our faces, Shaun greeted us with an annoyed sigh. While we planned on splitting this between the two of us, we definitely felt uncomfortable doing two orders and were afraid of not being able to purchase anything based on Shaun's reaction (and the others there that were taking basing their actions on him). Shaun asked if we were using credit card. Seeing the empty register on the counter, it was clear he was implying that we use credit card or leave everything. I confirmed I could use credit card and he proceeded to check us out. From that point on, not one word was said to us. Not only did he check us out in silence, he was frowning and completely avoided any eye contact with us. During our checkout, he even discussed with one of his associates that, "I am *not* checking anyone else out. There is no way I am checking out anyone else."

Word came around to him while he was checking us out that there may be even another customer still in the store at the other registers. Immediately, he said with emphasis, "We are closed! I am not checking anyone else out. We are closed!!! Say it on the intercom." On his command, another associate got on the intercom and said that the registers downstairs were closed. As our order was finished, the other customer showed up. I can only hope that the other customer was treated with more respect, but I highly doubt it.

After leaving in condemning silence, Lauren and I went home, appalled by our experience, committing to share this with others. For what it's worth, our receipt says 10:06 pm on it! I am gravely disappointed with the service I received, but I am open to communication. I truly hope that Shaun can, at the very least, receive customer service training, though with that interaction, I expect it's more a behavior issue than a one time occurrence. Coming from a company myself that cares greatly about its customers, I can now feel how unappreciated a person could be.

One of the only reasons I decided to write this is because I discovered under your Guides of Excellence the premise of customer service. I did not receive the service you would expect and hope this will be addressed. If not for me, then for the next customer you lose.

Sincerely,
Leigh