I don’t know how many of you take time to read comments on the blog here, but if you do, you will see Dollar Tree is probably the hardest store to coupon at. I read forums, I have read comments on other blogs, I read their Facebook page all the time. A lot of it is related to couponing, as many stores who don’t have good management seem to think they can make up their own rules, or they just plain and simple don’t understand couponing. But, I think the issue goes deeper than that. I expected that it would be hard in the very beginning to use coupons as there was a learning curve with the cashiers, but the problems don’t really seem to be about couponing as much as they do about customer service. Here is my theory:
In the 1800′s, most people lived on farms and grew their own food. As time went on, and cities became more appealing, less and less people were self sufficient and farmed and relied on going to the store in town for their necessities. Those stores were run by the local grocer, butcher, tailor, etc. Instead of one large chain of stores found in every city, each town had their own family run store, with an owner who could make all the choices about what happened in their store. It used to be “The Customer is Always Right.” Stores knew their patrons had choices, and they made every effort to keep their customers happy. They could do that. There weren’t any giant corporations with policies, it was what the owner said. And they knew if they wanted business they had to keep their customers happy. Some store owners were really, really good at what they did. They had the best, cleanest store with the best prices and options. People chose their store over the others, and in the “survival of the fittest” manner, the best stores grew and opened new locations, and the other stores faded out. In a way, this is a good thing. Companies like McDonalds, Wal Mart, and GE started this way. They all have one original location where it all started. Then they just did everything better than the competition and grew their business.
I feel like that while this is good, it has hurt customer service. Instead of the owner being there at the store and available to talk to, you get a manager. And depending on that managers personality depends on whether or not they care how you are treated. Now, corporate would want their employees to be decent people, but they’re not the ones hiring and interviewing. So, while they sit there in their offices and pretend they have 100% customer satisfaction, they don’t actually see what is happening on a daily basis.
The whole point of this mini novel is to just be empathetic to everyone who shops at Dollar Tree. I will be honest, I have never seen such a lack of care for customers as I have in that store. My phone service is with Verizon (who used to have the worst rated customer service), and I have HORROR stories from doing my wedding registry at Target, and I will still say Dollar Tree is the store with the worst customer service I have been to. Both in store, and with corporate. At least at other stores when you call corporate they pretend to care and try to make it right, but at Dollar Tree you just get voice mails and a phone tree that doesn’t go anywhere. There is such an attitude of, “You are lucky to be shopping in my store.” The real attitude should be “I realize you have options, and we are glad you are here. If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t have a paycheck.” Instead, if an employee treats you like crap, and you tell the manager, more than likely the manager is going to treat you the same way and ask you to leave the store, too. In one extreme case, the manager punched a couponing customer in the face, and as far as I have seen, no one seems to know how that has been resolved. I don’t know why Dollar Tree allows managers and employees to treat their customers so badly. I see it all the time though in comments and occasionally with my own eyes. In the last month, I have been in 5 different states and visited Dollar Trees in all of them, and I am getting the same feel and seeing what many of you are talking about. Most employees of Dollar Tree do not care about the customers. Now, there are exceptions of course, but the overall attitude of Dollar Tree is that they simply just do not care.
I am sorry that so many of you have such rough experiences. It is hard. And I don’t blame you for your frustration and lost desire for shopping at their store. There are just a couple solutions I have for you:
- Call your regional managers (Dollar Tree Contact Info).
- Call corporate and share your stories 1-877-530-TREE (8733).
- Leave comments on their Facebook wall.
- Most of all, make sure you are an ethical couponer. By that I mean make sure YOU know the policy and are following it, your coupon is for the correct item, and that you are always polite.
I love Dollar Tree. I love their prices, I love the deals I get there. And I am not saying that EVERY single store and employee is this way. I am just so sad that the general feel is that they don’t seem to care about their customers, and it makes me even sadder to hear so many stories about how people have been mistreated. I feel like it is one thing to not accept a coupon, but it’s another thing to have managers and cashiers say nasty things. Maybe if they get enough phone calls dealing with customer service they will acknowledge that this is no way to run a business or to treat their customers. I know it’s possible to change, and I just hope they can see this is a problem and it needs to be fixed.