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This is an angry rant about Bunnings warehouse.

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.


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64 Responses to This is an angry rant about Bunnings warehouse.
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jimbo41 4:39 pm 05 Aug 17

I wanted a sealant for my truck tailgate.
Went to bunnings for a sample bit of rope.
as no customer service i got my knife out and cut a 10cm piece.
When i walked out i was stopped by a anti theft guy and
ordered to go back inside (or call the cops).
I ended up paying for the bit of robe for a whole 10 cents (wesfarmers made $2 billion in 2016).
Another time i wanted a length of carpet cut.
Laid down on the carpets and fell asleep for 3 hours (my phone woke me up).

steeltrojan 6:49 pm 09 Sep 16

Easy as don’t shop there they only care about profits…

DayJen 5:01 pm 18 Oct 15

It is from my observation that Bunnings routinely employ the least experienced staff for the job and persons who have no experience in customer service.
I have loads of customer service experience from running my own retail business but I never even got an interview at a new Bunnings store.
The staff they employed are very rude and discriminatory.
I suppose the pay must be really low that’s why they are disgruntled employees.

Brucee 4:36 pm 18 Sep 15

Bunnings is just as bad in New Zealand. Paid for two sets of ceramic taps they had none in store took 3 days to get from another store. Soon found out they were not ceramic, they said not a problem they will get me some inserts for the 4 taps so I can fix them as long as I take the other inserts back. that was another 2 days. First time I have ever had to repair new taps. Not sure if I should take the other parts back to them not like I will ever shop there again.

Djswish101 11:34 pm 13 Jul 15

Right, I myself am an employee of bunnings in tamworth nsw. I am a 57 year old bloke who grew up on a farm. I recently have been employed by bunnings and whilst in the early stages of training, 16 teenagers joined the team. Then along with me have had the words teamwork and respect driven into us! There is a regular training regime at every store and annual appraisals. I am sorry to hear about your experiences and hope you see the bright side to bunnings

Sandman 8:25 am 06 Sep 12

Your kidding yourself if you go into a major hardware store looking for advice. You can blame society for that. Everyone wants a huge range at cheap prices. As a side effect of that the store will no doubt try to minimise training and staffing costs by having non qualified staff to keep costs down.

My standard response to “can I help you with anything?” is “no thanks, I’ve got a smartphone.”

FoMoCo 12:27 am 06 Sep 12

There is also Gasweld in Fyshwick if you are after tools. I have been a little disappointed in Fishers of late, half their shelves are empty, it’s almost like they are going out of business and selling off all their floor stock.

As for the chains Bunnings, Masters, Magnet Mart, I treat them all with the same attitude.. They are stupid until proven otherwise, I Google info beforehand or talk to people that know and only go there to buy said items, along with the time to wander the isles until I find which illogical place they have put it, or which place the night fill person decided was the best place to put it, cause behind the actual label doesn’t seem to be the correct place. And with this attitude I have no issues, well very few, cause sometimes they even drop below my already low expectations.

puggy 11:22 pm 05 Sep 12

gazket said :

Bunnings suck

They sell metric nuts and bolts but only sell imperial size washers to fit the nuts and bolts. Washers are either to big and loose or too small and don’t fit. I asked the salesman why this was the case , he said that’s the way Bunnings does it.

Specialty Fasteners in Fyshwick if you’re after good stuff.

I bought nuts and bolts from Masters, where there are only self serve checkouts. Two problems: scanning 16 bolts individually (they do have a bar code) and scanning 16 nuts that don’t have a bar code. It took me a full 20 seconds for the “assistant” to realise why I had a problem.

EvanJames 10:42 pm 05 Sep 12

I loathe how Bunnings (Fyshwick) has a door greeter, who stands there while people stand in loooong lines. Shops who let their customers stand in long lines have no respect for their customers.

I was in Masters the other night and after buying a lamp, had an assistant walk me up to the other end of the shop where the lightbulbs were! And then two off-duty staff, who were searching for a Tastic bulb to take home for their Tastic, scurried around helping me find the right lightbulb. So-far, Masters are only guilty of over-service. I spend most visits shoo-ing the staff away.

gazket 9:34 pm 05 Sep 12

Bunnings suck

They sell metric nuts and bolts but only sell imperial size washers to fit the nuts and bolts. Washers are either to big and loose or too small and don’t fit. I asked the salesman why this was the case , he said that’s the way Bunnings does it.

dpm 9:07 pm 05 Sep 12

Sorry to bring this up but can I remind people that, much like reading a map or asking for directions when driving, real men don’t ask for help in a hardware store! 🙂

RB78 7:37 pm 05 Sep 12

dph said :

Slightly off topic but am I the only one who couldn’t give a rats about ‘customer service’. For anyone that has never worked in retail, ‘customer service’ is a fake, disingenuous, load of s***.

Here’s how customer service training works for any & all major retailers… Stereotype ALL customers based on age & appearance. Strike up fake, awkward conversation & ask the bleeding obvious… “What are you up to today?”… hmmm, shopping perhaps? Finally, up sell & add on anything & everything in the store… “Gee’s that belt would look really good with those jeans. How about a pencil case & a pair of thongs too?”

Op, I sympathise with you & understand how frustrating it can be to shop at places like Bunnings. My advice, don’t ever go into any major retail store with the expectation that they’re there to do anything else other than to have you spend money.

‘Customer service’ simply doesn’t exist within major retail chains. It’s a myth.

I spent a number of years working as a Service Manager for a Supermarket chain. If you think customer service doesn’t exist, you’re not shopping at the right places.

Unfortunately having worked that job, I can’t help but critique the service in any business I walk into. It’s a curse 🙁

Innovation 7:20 pm 05 Sep 12

As per other posts here – it really depends on when you go in. Late weekday evenings are pretty good for getting help but not if you want to be left alone to think about how you will complete a project or just have a browse for ideas (then they all seem to want to offer help). Bunnings is also good for specialty orders via the net.

I agree that some of the young ones haven’t got a clue and some of these are quite lazy and rude but there are some helpful ones too. One young lady recently walked the full length of the Belco store to show me where an item was even though I said I was quite happy if she just pointed me in the right direction.

I think you need to remember that these people probably don’t get paid much and have to put up with some rubbish. I recently saw a customer in Fyshwick – who obviously wasn’t well – go absolutely beserk in the store and had to be managed very sensitively by staff.

I’ve been to Specialty Fasteners twice – referred there by Bunnings – and gave up because the queue was ridiculously long.

Ko. 5:46 pm 05 Sep 12

PrinceOfAles said :

If you hate Bunnings so much why don`t you open your own hardware store? You`re either part of the problem or part of the solution.

Yep. That’s clearly the most realistic way to solve your problem.

JessP 5:39 pm 05 Sep 12

Bunnings = sausage sandwich.
That is all.

PrinceOfAles 5:29 pm 05 Sep 12

If you hate Bunnings so much why don`t you open your own hardware store? You`re either part of the problem or part of the solution.

MelonHead 5:25 pm 05 Sep 12

I have been to Home at Karrabar. Good service there. Also Specialty Fasteners for, well, fasteners. Fisher Discounts, or maybe Gasweld, for tools, and almost any plumbing supplies for taps etc.

This can be a bit inconvenient, so someone has worked out a solution. It’s called Bunnings/Masters.

rhino 5:00 pm 05 Sep 12

I quite enjoy bunnings actually. All things considered, it is an improvement over a few decades ago when it didn’t exist. Back then, it wasn’t realistic to try to acquire a nice garage full of tools and do a lot of decent home renovating for normal people. Today, many many more can afford decent tools and equipment. It’s also down to an increase in overall prosperity, but bunnings played a part for hardware.

I agree that it is sad that you can’t go in and ask a question, but realistically if there was a store selling your tools for $40 instead of $25, you are NOT going to pay $15 for a question or two to be answered. At most you would ask the question and then go nextdoor to buy it at bunnings. So it is inevitable.

They also have a much larger range than was previously possible. And if you go at the right times or you find older men working there, you can get some quality advice still. Obviously the teenagers have no experience and are cheaper, but they do hire some middle aged men who work outside of business hours to meet the mortgage payments, and they will be the ones with some knowledge.

This is basically ideal for hardware. Do your research online before coming into the store, that’s what the internet is for these days. Then you just compare the many products available.

All you are going to get from now onwards is either a bunnings-type store or an online store.

Although not being able to find something is a legitimate issue. I’ve found them to generallly be good with that sort of thing though, or I can guess from related aisles.

thy_dungeonman 4:51 pm 05 Sep 12

dph said :

Slightly off topic but am I the only one who couldn’t give a rats about ‘customer service’. For anyone that has never worked in retail, ‘customer service’ is a fake, disingenuous, load of s***.

Here’s how customer service training works for any & all major retailers… Stereotype ALL customers based on age & appearance. Strike up fake, awkward conversation & ask the bleeding obvious… “What are you up to today?”… hmmm, shopping perhaps? Finally, up sell & add on anything & everything in the store… “Gee’s that belt would look really good with those jeans. How about a pencil case & a pair of thongs too?”

Op, I sympathise with you & understand how frustrating it can be to shop at places like Bunnings. My advice, don’t ever go into any major retail store with the expectation that they’re there to do anything else other than to have you spend money.

‘Customer service’ simply doesn’t exist within major retail chains. It’s a myth.

Well that’s the thing, I wanted to spend money there and they didn’t want to help me do it. If I was less patient I would have left after 15 minutes and spent nothing.

mezza76 4:34 pm 05 Sep 12

dph said :

Slightly off topic but am I the only one who couldn’t give a rats about ‘customer service’. For anyone that has never worked in retail, ‘customer service’ is a fake, disingenuous, load of s***.

Here’s how customer service training works for any & all major retailers… Stereotype ALL customers based on age & appearance. Strike up fake, awkward conversation & ask the bleeding obvious… “What are you up to today?”… hmmm, shopping perhaps? Finally, up sell & add on anything & everything in the store… “Gee’s that belt would look really good with those jeans. How about a pencil case & a pair of thongs too?”

Op, I sympathise with you & understand how frustrating it can be to shop at places like Bunnings. My advice, don’t ever go into any major retail store with the expectation that they’re there to do anything else other than to have you spend money.

‘Customer service’ simply doesn’t exist within major retail chains. It’s a myth.

And the mystery to why everyone is ditching retail for online shopping is solved… (and the 50% markups help that too).

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