I am writing to complain about a recent visit to your Great Barr store, on Thursday 12th March at approximately 12.15-12.30.
As a disabled wheelchair user and a regular customer, I usually find the store very accessible and the staff very helpful. However, on this occasion, I was left extremely disappointed by the attitude of your staff, including the manager on duty.
Upon arriving at the store with my mum and young son, my entrance to the store was severely obstructed by merchandise which was blocking one of the main pathways into the store. Having eventually overcome this and done my shopping, I wanted to exit the carpark via another pathway which had a dropped kerb to enable access. However, there was a car parked on the path, blocking the dropped kerb and therefore access to the pathway.
Assuming that the car belonged to another customer, we waited for 5 minutes before going back into the store to report the car. We were told that the owner would be located and asked to move the car. Having waited further and when nobody came to claim the car, we returned to the manager only to be told that the store didn’t have a tannoy system. We continued to wait whilst another member of staff came to move the merchandise which was blocking the other pathway. He said he knew who the car belonged to and would go and tell them, although we’d have to wait a further 5 minutes.
The car belonged to a member of staff and when she eventually emerged from the store, she was far from apologetic. She had failed to even realise that she was blocking a dropped kerb and when told how long we had been waiting, she told us that this was wrong even though she hadn’t been there. Her excuse for parking on the path was that there was nowhere else to park and yet, there were plenty of spaces further away from the store entrance. After arguing her case, she eventually moved her car but had absolutely no concern for the inconvenience she had caused.
Due to her bad attitude, we went back into the store to talk to the manager but I was just as disappointed by her response. She asked whether the car had now being moved and when told that it had, she completely dismissed us. As far as she was concerned, the problem had been solved and how I had been treated as a disabled customer was now irrelevant. The owner of the car did then become apologetic, but I feel that her initial response was a totally inappropriate way to speak to a customer.
As I said, I am a very regular customer and have had no problems up until now but I was absolutely appalled by the attitude of the staff on Thursday. They displayed no disability awareness and very poor customer service skills.
As an experienced equality and diversity trainer, I would be happy to deliver some disability awareness training to your staff to help raise awareness of such issues and help improve their handling of them.