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This is an angry rant about Bunnings warehouse.

By thy_dungeonman - 5 September 2012 64

Why does Bunnings warehouse promote customer service so much in their ads when really it is totally crap at the actual stores?. This is my experience anyway. Prepare for a long and boring story and feel free call me a typical Canberra whinger and ask if I have taken my medication (I didn’t when this happened).

So I went to Bunnings in Tuggernong to get 2 things, a foam floor mat and a rack with hooks to hang tools from the wall. First I went to the tool section, which works in the following way: There is one person at the counter who is young and knows absolutely nothing about the tools, they simply scan bar-codes and crane their necks helplessly to find the the person who does know about tools but is usually busy performing some task or helping someone else (since he has useful information he is high demand). He told me they didn’t have much in the way of tool racks but that they would be next to the tool belts. They weren’t there, there was nothing remotely resembling a tool rack near the tool belts so I went into a random aisle and I found another teenager who racked with self doubt told me it might be in homewares.

There I found lots of shelving units but no hook boards or racks. Despite the fact that one aisle listed “garage storage” on the sign it was full of bedroom wardrobes. I briefly gave up on the racks since I had found the floor mats although they weren’t the kind I was after so I sought someone nearby to question about mats. There were lots of people pushing pallet jack full of stuff around but the didn’t seem interested in helping me. Twice employees popped out of an isle behind me and said hello but disappeared before I could reply.

I finally found a random employee in an aisle and he was able to tell me that they had pegboard in the timber section. On my way I found the foam mat. When I got to he pegboard I found that it only came in unliftable sized sheets so I went to find a trolley, I found one of the standard ones but there were also other trolleys designed for sheets but these seemed to be only in use by employees to cart around things for shelving. I hoped that if I found an employee they might use one these to help me but the guy I found just put it on my trolley and took it to the end of the aisle unsuccessfully avoiding hitting everything on either side of the huge board. Given that Bunnings is such a huge store it seems reasonable to expect that customer will want to know where certain things are and whatever department someone is in they should at least have basic knowledge of the other areas.

I realize there were problems with this shop but the incompetence at the (only open) checkout counter, was something amazing. There was no bar-code on the floor mat or the pegboard. So the teenager at the checkout had to phone up homewares and timber to get a price, in the meantime she asked the price of the mat which I told her was $20 and had to ask the lady greeting people at the door what exactly this thing was called. She also joked to the other lady that “she was really bad at her job” gee no kidding, it took about 20 minutes to get through the checkout. The large sheet of pegboard wouldn’t fit in my car so I wheeled it over to the timber cutting area where I met someone who seemed to genuinely wanted to help and he cut up the timber nice and quick. Overall the whole process was worse than the time I tried to find black eyed peas at woolworths (it took me an hour to get them to tell me they didn’t have them).

What annoys me most is that despite having customer service coming out of my ears on my resume from working in hospitality. I’m finding it difficult to get a retail job because they want retail experience. Yet Bunnings is happy to hire teenagers who haven’t experienced a coherent thought, maybe I should try applying there. I would go to magnet mart but they have equally bad service (that’s another story) and the same limited product range. We really need another brand of hardware store in Canberra. Now go ahead and tell me to take some concrete and harden up, but just don’t ask me to get it from Bunnings.

What’s Your opinion?


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64 Responses to
This is an angry rant about Bunnings warehouse.
Henry82 10:53 am 05 Sep 12

Magnet Mart – http://www.magnetmart.com.au/store-locator

Masters – http://www.masters.com.au/masters/storelocator/store_finder

I don’t think they’re going to be any different though. You could try smaller places, you’ll get better service, just expect to pay more.

http://www.truelocal.com.au/find/hardware/act/canberra-city/

qbngeek 10:48 am 05 Sep 12

May I suggest you pay slightly more, or less on some products, and head to a local hardware store? I go to Home Hardware at Karabar becuase the service is awesome (I have never waited more that about a minute to be asked if I need help), they know what they are talking about, they will help you carry 15 bags of cement to the car and load it and they will get stuff in if they don’t have it.

I only go to Bunnings if Home is shut and I can’t wait, like when the tap seal shat itself the other night and the water ran as if the tap was open.

bigfeet 10:42 am 05 Sep 12

“…..Overall the whole process was worse than the time I tried to find black eyed peas at woolworths (it took me an hour to get them to tell me they didn’t have them…”

Why would you expect to find a successful American Hip-Hop group at Woolworths? Were they even touring Australia at that time?

p1 10:40 am 05 Sep 12

The reason that Bunning hire teenagers is the same reason that they serve you a burger at McDonalds, or scan things at the checkout at IGA. It isn’t because of their superior culinary skills or their eidetic memory for bar codes – it is because on average you pay them a lot less.

As someone said, at ten AM on a Tuesday you are more likely to get adult staff, as the kids will all be at school.

Disposable 10:33 am 05 Sep 12

Bunnings got rid of all the reputable brands of potting mix etc and replaced them with their own inferior mould creating products that you have to add to in order to get decent results and drainage.

Their trade section has some of the most appalling customer service I have ever experienced as well. Their head office doesn’t care when you raise these issues with them as they are making far too much money to care about the little guy.

I was eagerly awaiting the opening of Masters but found their customer service to be the same. They don’t care about their customers and either does their head office just like Bunnings so now I buy all of my gardening supplies from a nursery and pay more.

rosscoact 10:25 am 05 Sep 12

I’m used to Bunnings staff knowing nothing, Magnetmart staff standing around chatting rather than helping and the one time i went to Masters, staff actually running away rather that help.

That being said, I’ve had great service at the two former. I think they probably base their customer service models on Walmart but we’re Australian and actively derail any attempt at inculcating great customer service culture on a large scale.

Which is why I assume, Costco has so many Americans working there.

shirty_bear 10:11 am 05 Sep 12

neanderthalsis said :

The trick with Bunnings is to go there on a weekday when the staff average age and IQ is slightly higher than the mid-teens, which is what you get on the weekend.

Good call.

I tend to think of Bunnings (in particular) as a supermarket with different stuff – great if you know what you want and where to find it; pretty ordinary if you need help.
My experience of MagnetMart is a little more positive, but the days of the old-school hardware store seem to be over. Modern society, in the main, values cheapness much more highly than skill/service.

watto23 10:03 am 05 Sep 12

Yes the grass is always greener at another hardware megastore. I went through the travelling to Magnetmart and Masters, but just like Coles and woolies are the same beast but different colours, so are the hardware store shops.

The best thing about bunnings is being open weeknights and generally a much better time to go there then on the weekend.

Duffbowl 9:56 am 05 Sep 12

We used to have smaller, more helpful hardware stores. Unfortunately, they couldn’t compete with Bunnings and Magnet Mart on price, so many pulled down the shutters and went off on their way.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you trawled back through the Riot Act archives and found readers complaining about how much more expensive the gear was from the smaller shops, and therefore they would only be shopping at the big box stores. Best place in Tuggeranong used to be the small hardware and garden centre at Calwell; that shut down within a year of Bunnings opening.

More expensive and good service v cheap and a supermarket experience. Canberrans voted with their feet, well, wallets.

tommo 9:51 am 05 Sep 12

There’s Magnet Mart too. I’ve had good experiences there.

niftydog 9:45 am 05 Sep 12

Magnet Mart – parking is easier, stocks most of the same stuff, seem to employ older people rather than teenagers.

arescarti42 9:39 am 05 Sep 12

Zeital said :

“We really need another brand of hardware store in Canberra.”

i’m gonna pull you up on the one and tell you that there IS already another one in canberra called Masters out at majura park…..

i was there on the weekend, big range and helpful people and yes much better then bunnings

I’ve always hated Bunnings, they have maybe one or two floor staff with any sort of knowledge and willingness to help, and the rest are totally useless and seem to run the other way when they see someone looking for help.

The one time I’ve been to Masters since they opened, I had I think two friendly staff come up and ask if they could help with anything. The prices seem lower there as well.

Bunnings can go stick it.

neanderthalsis 9:25 am 05 Sep 12

The trick with Bunnings is to go there on a weekday when the staff average age and IQ is slightly higher than the mid-teens, which is what you get on the weekend.

Keijidosha 9:17 am 05 Sep 12

We really need another brand of hardware store in Canberra.

You’ll be pleased to hear that we now have Masters Hardware, however their customer service is no better than Bunnings, which has often been the cause of some blood-boiling moments for me as well.

Zeital 9:07 am 05 Sep 12

“We really need another brand of hardware store in Canberra.”

i’m gonna pull you up on the one and tell you that there IS already another one in canberra called Masters out at majura park…..

i was there on the weekend, big range and helpful people and yes much better then bunnings

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