One of the funnest things to do at Halloween when you own a pet, is to dress them up in a funny costume and take them to get their pictures taken. Never in a million years would you think that this would end up making you cry. We spent quite a bit of money on two of the cutest Halloween costumes for both Nikita and Bella, as Nikita was going to be transformed into a squirrel, and Bella turned into a little skunk, as sometimes she is a little “stinker”, so we thought her costume was quite appropriate.
So, we kept checking online to see when PetSmart was going to hold their annual Howl-O-Ween event, and it was scheduled for yesterday at the Parma, OH store from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. We got all of the costumes packed up, and packed up our usual doggie travel bag with lots of water, a water bowl, and treats so that our doggies would not be thirsty, as we care for the welfare of our pets. To catch you up on what has happened to us in prior years at PetSmart’s Howl-O-Ween event, we had each time blurry photographs that they tried to pass off to us, and we did not want to pay for them, so we got our money back and left the store disappointed and sad with blurry photo in hand. As we headed off to PetSmart yesterday, we chuckled to ourselves and wondered if we would have the same experience again with the photographs, and boy oh boy you won’t believe what happened to us this year!
We arrived at PetSmart a little before 3:00pm and dressed both Nikita and Bella in the car which was a sight in itself and not the easiest thing to try to accomplish, but we got their costumes on them & headed into the store. There was already a huge line that had formed and we were surprised, because prior years when we arrived at this same time, we seemed to be one of the first in line, but that’s ok as we were willing to take our turn in line with the others. Well, we waited in line for about 45 minutes to an hour before we were able to get our photograph taken, and in this time, it was difficult to keep the dogs well behaved because of all the activity around them with other dogs barking (and you know what happens when one dog barks – they ALL bark), the dogs were getting hot in their costumes and uncomfortable and I kept giving them water (which I am sure they had to pee by now) to keep them hydrated.
It was apparent to us (again) that the employees at PetSmart turned out yet another (this is our third year taking the pets up there & our LAST) dis-organized event. Last year, we waited in line only to find out when we got up to the front of the line, that we had to PAY FIRST for our frame & photo (which no one from the store told anyone this), so we had to head back to the register with the dogs to pay, then get back in line. This year (yesterday) we got conflicting information from PetSmart employees on what to do, as one told us that we DID NOT have to pay first, and another employee told us that we in fact had to pay first.
We were at PetSmart about a week prior to this event, and actually spoke to one employee in depth about our thoughts on how they could improve this event, and he told us that he was one of the people who was actually going to be working this event, so we were glad that we were talking to one of the right people to pass along our thoughts. We told this employee, that they (PetSmart) should have an employee stand by the front entrance to greet people coming in with their pets and “DIRECT” them on what to do. If we had to pay first, then this employee would “INSTRUCT” customers to head to register #4 FIRST to pay for their photo & frame, then to get in line with the others. None of this happened, and this year was the most unorganized event that PetSmart has held in three years.
So, while we tried to amuse ourselves in line for almost an hour, keep the dogs in line, hold on to what sanity we had left at that point, we made it up to the front of the line and it was our turn to get our picture taken. We sat down on the bench and had the dogs sit on the floor in front of us, and they took a bunch of photographs. Since Bella is dark in color, it was hard to see her, but that is why they took lots of pictures so we could pick out one of the best. The Store Manager was actually the person who took our photographs. We gathered up our coats and doggie travel bag, then headed around the corner to “WAIT” for our photograph to be printed. Once again, trying to keep the dogs from going nuts from all of the other dogs walking past them, and keep them well hydrated because they were hot with their costumes on. After we stood there for quite a while, I decided to remove their costumes and help cool them off, and this worked as they seemed to settle down and laid down on the floor by us. The lady who was “behind us” in line with her dog Pogo, came around the corner and showed us her doggie photo, so she was off and on her way home now with photo & frame in hand. We still waited. Then after more time had passed, we started asking as to when we would get our photo printed. The two PetSmart employees that were printing the photos looked through multiple memory sticks on their printers and could not find our photographs. What? What do you mean you can’t find them? They took at least five to six photographs of us sitting on the bench! At this point, I got thoroughly pissed, and walked to the front of the store with Nikita, while Roy stayed back with Bella to see if they could locate our photos on the memory cards. When I got to the front of the store, I saw Jane who was at the first register and I asked her to get me a Store Manager to talk to. (Jane did not know at this point what had happened to us) The lady who took our photographs approached me and apologized to me and at that time I did not know that she was actually the Store Manager, but she handed me a $25 PetSmart gift card with her sincere apologies on our experience in the store. I was so upset at this point and started to cry, right there in the entrance to PetSmart, as I was so hurt, disgusted, irritated, and let down AGAIN by the experience we have had over the last three years at PetSmart at this event, and this time, it was the worst ever experience and this has truly changed our mind about ever shopping there again. I told the Store Manager to go back and find Roy and to refund his money that he had paid for the photo & frame, and she did.
This was supposed to be a HAPPY DAY which turned out to be the worst experience we have ever had and now Bella’s first Halloween (and Nikita’s third) was ruined by incompetent employees who deleted all of our photographs off the memory stick. Why in the hell would you ever “delete” any photo off a memory stick while the event was still going on?
Hopefully the Store Manager and the employees at PetSmart will get their act together for future Howl-O-Ween events, and take some of our advice on how to get the word to customers arriving at the store for photographs and what to do, like pay first or not to pay first, and the funny thing that we overheard while waiting yet another 45 minutes for our printed photo was that lots of people walked out of the store “without paying”. This over two hour ordeal that we went through at PetSmart was not worth a $25 gift card that we received, as we would have rather just had the two hours of our life back and had not gone through the agonizing perils that we experienced at this store. Organization is the key to pulling off a simple event like this, and they obviously did not have any of that.
So sorry PetSmart, as you just lost two customers that have spent lots of money in your store over the years. The only photographs that we will remember from this event, are the photographs of us “standing in line”.