BJ’s Wholesale “Crisis”

Below is a letter I send to the executive staff of BJ’s Wholesale Pensacola location.

While I realize that during the COVID-19 panic stores are having a difficult time keeping items in stock — you’d think that a major retail (or “wholesale”) outlet would also realize this and not exacerbate the problem by sending out advertisements which do nothing by try to drive individuals into their locations and sell them whatever they might find (rather than what they went for).


BJ’s Wholesale
25 Research Dr
Westborough, MA 01582

ATTN:  Christopher J Baldwin, Executive Chairman

SUBJ:   Poor Customer Service

Sirs,

Yesterday evening I visited the Pensacola BJ’s Wholesale club location (for the first time). Like any “new” facility, it was clean, and appeared well maintained; however, like lipstick on a pig, there’s little that can be done to cover over a culture that lacks customer focus.

Let’s start at the beginning…

On 13 Oct 2020 I signed up for a membership, taking advantage of the offer for “coupons”, gift card, and two membership cards.

I received electronic information with my membership number, and started receiving email and postal offers.

Sometime later my secondary membership card arrived in the mail, and I gave it to my sister for who I’d ordered it.

When the facilities gas station opened, I applied for (and received) a Comenity Bank BJ’s Master Card and took advantage of a discount offer on fuel.

Last Sunday I received an email offer for “free” breakfast items… of course I still haven’t received my membership card _or_ my gift card.

When I arrived at the store around seven last evening there were none of these items in the offer to be found.

I went up to the membership store, and spoke with a fairly pleasant agent, but I simply wasn’t satisfied with my conversation, so at my request she called for the “MOD” – she had to call multiple times, and I waited for quit sometime before the “MOD” arrived.

From the instant he arrived it was clear from his lack of enthusiasm and body language that he wasn’t interested in hearing anything I had to say.  Even though I paused before saying anything he didn’t introduce himself, nor did he ask what seemed to be the problem. When I queried him about why offers for goods you had no stock of were sent out – he stated that these were manufacturer’s offers prepared several months in advance.  While I understand that many marketing campaigns are prepared potentially months in advance, they can be halted in a near instant.  Then he indicated that these items should be available at 9:30am (in limited quantities); and made the statement that “it’s a crisis, the beaches are closed”.  That statement, to me, indicated that he’d much rather be at the beach than working at BJ’s (since it had zero relevance to the conversation at hand).  At the end of my “conversation” I ask him how long I had to get a refund for my membership – to which he replied, he could refund my money right then.  Not the question I ask, and I underscored that to him.

Clearly your “MOD” had no interest in talking with me, and certainly wasn’t listening to me… he simply compounded to the utter waste of my time a trip to BJ’s had been.

I left the store as I’d come – purchasing _nothing_ except with a commitment to spend my money elsewhere.

BJ’s continues to send out advertisements for items which they do not have in stock, have clear knowledge that they cannot satisfy demand created by such advertisements, nor can they realistically satisfy the number of time-limited “coupons” they send out.  Since BJ’s is in fact still sending out emailings and postal mailings with “coupons” this may be a violation federal and state laws.

Irrespective of your intent, your actions say a great deal about the type of culture your company is built on; and it speaks to greed rather than to building a solid foundation of customer loyalty and trust.

You certainly haven’t engendered any trust from me – and honestly I’d rather drive an hour to a Costco than shop at a BJ’s (you realize the Pensacola store is the _only_ store within 300 miles of my home – a radius filled with a number of Costcos and Sams).

Sincerely,