Monday, 8 May 2017

Horrible Experience at Groom House Daycare & Pet Salon




I rarely write negative reviews because I am quite easy to please. But today, I have experienced some of the worst service I've ever encountered in my life, no kidding.  I've been going to Groom House Daycare & Pet Salon  (2722 E 41st Ave, Vancouver) opened by Anna, for 4 years now, long before she opened a commercial space and was grooming in her own house. I liked Anna, she had reasonable pricing and I like to support self-startups. So even after she moved to a shop that's out of my way, and has increased her price by quite a bit, I still chose to stick to her, especially because Coco is used to her grooming. 

Today, I arrived at my appointment on time before heading to work and handed Coco to her. Anna called me soon after I reached my work, and yelled something like Coco had been barking, which disturbed the other dogs, and wanted me to return immediately to take Coco back. I tried to tell her I cannot just leave work (like any normal responsible working human being), but without even listening to me or letting me finish my sentence, she JUST HUNG UP. I then called her back 3 times unsure of what was happening, no answer. To be fair, when I first walked into her shop with Coco, ALL of the dogs, around 6 or 7 of them, were barking, and Coco was the only one that wasn't.

Anna called me back a while after, and I explained to her I cannot just leave work because I have planned out my schedule according to the appointment. She told me she will let me know later how things are. Couple hours later, she messaged me and said Coco was better, but her previous barking made two of her other dogs poop, and so she would have to groom them again, hence no time to groom Coco, and demanded I pick Coco up ASAP. I had no choice but to leave work early and rushed to her as soon as I could. Believe it or not, up until this point, I was not angry at all, but feeling only apologetic from what she blamed me and Coco for. She sounded very angry on the phone, I kept apologizing, and I felt bad for making her feeling that way. It did not occur to me that I did nothing wrong. 

What angered me tremendously was what happened after I arrived at Anna's shop : My first sight upon arrival was Coco being locked in a crate WAY TOO SMALL for her size. The crate literally framed her body. There was no space for her to move, to turn, to lay down,  AND THERE WAS NO SPACE FOR WATER BOWL. Again, as I walked in, many dogs started barking, AND COCO DID NOT BARK. She sat silently in the crate, panting. I walked in and said Hi to Anna. She completely ignored me, looked resentful, opened the crate's gate, and walked into the back room without speaking or even looking at me. I was very confused. What did I do to deserve such attitude ? I walked out with Coco, still in shock, and found Coco EXTREMELY DEPRIVED OF WATER. She was panting so hard, severely thirsty, and drank the entire bottle I brought her in one breath. 

NOW, I WAS FURIOUS.

First of all, it was extremely foolish of Anna to treat a loyal customer of a couple years this way. I was so shocked by her behavior to react on the spot. Being in the service sector, providing at least a pleasant attitude is the bare minimum she could do. She failed at that horribly. 

Secondly, it only showed her incompetency that she could not deal with difficult situations. To be honest, I cannot completely take Anna's words for what truly happened. Unfortunately, our dogs can't talk, so she took full advantage of that to make the story one sided. But the situation seemed odd, Coco has been grooming with her for the past 4 years and never had an issue. Something must have happened to cause Coco to bark. Plus, Anna knows Coco for years, she knows Coco is normally not like that. If Coco did bark abnormally, she should investigate on what was wrong - maybe she needed to pee, maybe she needed water ? Maybe she was scared ? 

What's worse, Anna even went above and beyond, to blame Coco for causing two other dogs to poop, making that the reason to kick Coco out. Sure, some dogs poop when they are stressed, but how could she even made that absolute assumption that Coco caused it ?! What if they just needed to poop ? 

Regardless, Anna's job revolves around dogs, she should expect situations where dogs bark. She should know dogs don't know better, THEY ARE DOGS. All kinds of variables can happen in a job, especially when it's animal related, does she solve all by kicking her customers out ? She should be sorry that she couldn't handle the situation and hence couldn't do her job. She should be the one who feels apologetic. 

But no, she chose to blame on Coco and me, and decided to reject us - paying customers who obliged to our duties - only because Coco caused her inconvenience. She vented her anger on me; got mad at ME ! ME, THE HUMAN THAT WASN'T EVEN IN THE SHOP, HOLY JESUS SUPERSTAR. I was the one who arrived at the appointment on time, left work early to adjust to HER FAILURE to handle her clients, even apologized repeatedly for NOTHING. What did I do to deserve her treatment ? Sounds a lot like the animal version of the United Air incident, isn't it ? 

Most importantly, her lack of compassion and patient for her animal clients surprised me to no end, as she portrays herself as a dog loving person on social media. In retrospect, Coco was always shivering in fear every time she arrived at Anna's Groom House. I thought that was a dog's natural instinct to be scared of groomers. I was only told today by many friends that, this shouldn't be normal. I am actually glad that I found out her true temper before anything more serious happen to Coco. In this money driven society, it is sometimes difficult to see the true nature of things. Because our fur babies cannot communicate with us their experience, we often review a grooming business by the result, and ignorant about the process. It is hence so important to find a trust-worthy dog-sitter / groomer to avoid any potential abuse. 

I waited to see if she would come to her senses and perhaps text me regarding today's situation. She did not. She did not apologize for wasting my time, causing me to take time off work, and kicking me out from my appointment because she could not handle a dog's barking, in a dog's grooming shop. She did not apologize for her attitude and behavior. She mostly likely did not even acknowledge the condition she forced Coco in.

She did not apologize for being extremely unprofessional. 

She did not consider the fact that, she's not a perfect groomer, not even close, she's not. She often forgot to trim Coco's nails, clean her ears, caused coco's toes to bleed, etc, and I never complained. One major reason I kept going back to her was because I had been going to her for years and wished to stay loyal to her business. She did not consider the fact that she has lost not just one long term customer, but a great referral, and an image as a business and as a person. 

She has forgotten the fact that, in the service industry, you are not merely completing a task. In order for a business to grow, you need to also nurture your brand, your reputation. You need to provide your customer not just a product, but an experience. You need to be genuine. I was greatly disappointed of what I wholehearted supported for numerous of years. 

*An upsetting update : Coco returned home and had a multiple of diarrhea throughout the night. I did not feed her anything out of the ordinary, so I googled. Search results showed dog diarrhea can very likely be caused by trauma or stress. I don't want to speculate anything, but I cannot help but wonder if this has anything to do with her experience earlier, which is something we will never found out. Anna did eventually text me to apologize after I texted her to tell her how I felt. But sadly, I no longer feel comfortable bringing Coco back, ever again. 

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