I've always loved having animals in my life and being able to go to a pet retailer to buy their necessities (food, frontline, bedding etc.) as well as purchase every little cute toy and teddy to spoil them with. Unfortunately, there are times when your shopping experience ends up being a complete 180 from what you would expect. I have dogs, birds and fish for which I buy all my pet supplies at Pet Smart in Pelham; all 3 of my immediate family members buy all their pets goods from Pet Smart retailers as well. I adopted my Sadie a little over a year ago from the ASPCA in NYC. She's been the joy of my life. During times of stress and sadness she's been one of the few things to make me get through even the toughest days.
Today was the first time I decided to bring my 1 year old pit mix to Banfield Hospital (located inside the Pet Smart @ Pehlam). Let me just say that Banfield is one of the best decisions I have made for my dog. All the veterinarians were extremely professional and showed a thorough understanding for all my dogs' needs. However, the Pet Smart General Manager "Bill," who I have never met before, was one of the most disrespectful and rude employees I have ever encountered at a retail establishment.
While I was at Banfield with my dog for her annual visit and vaccination updates, my mother went shopping throughout the store for the usually supplies. At some point she accidentally set down her keys while viewing a piece of merchandise; in the scramble of things between having my dog registered & vaccinated and my mom shopping she had forgotten where she misplaced the keys. We knew they were in the store though because we drove to Pet Smart and hadn't been anywhere else the entire time.
My mother recollected having the keys in the store so we approached one of the empty cashiers and asked if it would be possible to make an announcement over the intercom asking anyone who may have found a set of keys to bring them to the front register. She replied by stating she needed managerial permission, which was understandable, so we waited patiently for a manager to come over. She than totally disregarded our request, making zero effort to even radio, call or page a manager, and went on to take the next and only waiting customer. My mother took it upon herself to walk through the store isles in search of a manager while in the process of now frantically looking for her car and house keys; hoping they hadn't been lost or worse: stolen.
She happened to find the general manager, Bill, in one of the pet toy isles stocking some merchandise. My mother went on to reiterate the details of what had happened and asked if there was anything he could do to help. His shocking response was: “I'm too busy to help you!” in a very nasty tone. I could tell my mother was a little taken back by his response, but continued to politely explain the accident. He went on ignoring us, but following us, as my mother tried searching for her keys everywhere. Now I approach the manage, Bill, and asked that someone help us find the lost keys if they're unable to use the pager to asks that any lost keys to be sent to the front register. I would think having a few employees help my mother, best friend and I search for the keys for 2-3 minutes in this small store would ensure they'd turn up much faster.
Instead we were treated as if we were attempting to shoplift, because before I knew it, the manager came toward me in a very confrontational manner; even after I repeatedly asked that he take a step back, he still pressed the matter, coming inches from my face where I could smell the faint alcohol reeking from his breath. Shortly after the police arrived and asked me to leave the store because Bill no longer wanted me inside. My mother and best friend remained in the store searching while the police officers attempted to mediate the situation and asked Bill if he could please review the camera and he refused; than he asked to announce it over the paging system and he also refused clearly avoiding any helping scenario whatsoever.
Still keep in mind that my dog is in Banfield, inside Pet Smart, and I have to pick her up in 20 minutes. However, Bill has now told the police that if I am to come back into the store he wants me arrested; essentially dog-napping my pet! I've made repeated calls to Corporate in reference to this horrifying experience and have pretty much been given the run-around scenario. So now I will be explicating the details of my ordeal every and anywhere I can. It wasn't until my dog's veterinarian came to the front of the store to ask me to pick up my dog that I explained the situation to her and she informed Bill that I needed to pick up the dog. I walked back into the store, this time completely humiliated as if I was some common criminal, picked up my dog, paid my bill and made one last walk through the entire store hoping to spot the keys. Finally, a friendly fellow customer spotted the keys and handed them to my mother. We were so relieved and thankful that a customer was willing to help and was successful in locating them, while Bill was unwilling to be of any useful assistance at all.
I also think it need be mentioned that while I searched the store for my mothers lost keys I checked floors, shelves and hangers to no avail, but what I did find was dirt and filth in every corner. Underneath almost every isle were piles of dust, dirt, toys, papers and food making me really question whether or not I would ever want to walk my dog through such disgusting floors again (the street outside was literally cleaner). Despite the fact that I had received such horrible service from the Pet Smart GM and front cashier I was very grateful that Cheny, the Pet Smart hotel manager, and all the Banfield employees were sympathetic to our situation. If it weren't for the simple fact that I purchased a year “Optimum Wellness Care Plan” with Banfield today I would probably never want to walk into that Pet Smart location ever again. Furthermore, even though Bill, the stores GM tried to have me arrested, I ended up spending an additional $200 for merchandise (on top of the $550 dog vet visit) and that's only because it was already in my shopping cart: ALL PAID IN CASH! I understand that there are individuals who use all types of schemes to participate in criminal activity; lord knows my mother, a retired NYC Police Officer, has dealt with her fair share of criminals and is familiar with all the tricks. This was far from our intentions and its a shame that decent, law abiding, citizens would be treated this way for no apparent reason. Was it our color? Race? Choice of clothing? Regardless, one should never judge a book by its cover because my money is just as green as the next customers!
I can't imagine how anyone could treat a customer in such an embarrassing way; humiliating, harassing, chastising and belittling me in front of other customers as if he were my father. Of course you could imagine I became a little irate, but any normal, rational, human being would have reacted the very same way given they were treated as badly by a retail employee: let alone a general manager of a store's location. I am going to seriously contemplate whether or not I will ever spend a single cent at a Pet Smart ever again! I also informed corporate that this is not a feeble attempt at some pathetic gift card or percentage off coupon: I'm not interested in that kind of restitution. What I would appreciate is an apology and that this General Manager, Bill, of your Pet Smart Pelham location in NY be informed on how to treat customers in a respectful and sympathetic manner.