ALDO vs. The Bay: Who’s Putting Their Best Foot Forward?

Every once in a while a man needs shoes. It’s not often. It’s not rare. But it does happen. And I mean nice shoes, not those $30 or less type. We can accept that as males that there are occasions to look a little prettier…and that’s the situation I found myself in. I hadn’t gone to ALDO or The Bay for a while but on this particular day, I found myself at both.

First, I made my way to ALDO at the Bay Centre. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been to ALDO, and I’ve definitely never been to the one in Victoria. I was looking for some trendyish canvass shoes and there they were. The store was fairly busy and I only saw two people working initially (two more came later…must have been on a break). A guy with a British accent helped me as much as he could, and actually did quite well under the busy circumstances. I tried on two types of shoes, in three sizes. I thankfully found the ones I wanted and left.

The Bay was the next stop. There was a pair of dress shoes I had bought months ago for $100 and they were now down to $60. Old ones were done so new ones were needed. I found them, found a cashier, found my size and found my way out of there.The usual steps to shoe shopping.

ALDO: A couple of things really stood out for me with the store. I was impressed at how helpful the staff was regardless of how busy the store was. He couldn’t give me his undivided attention but I understood that. He still was able to help me and make suggestions enough that I didn’t feel I was being ignored at all. Also, the style of shoe I wanted…they didn’t have the colour I wanted. This is where that “suggestion” thing comes in. He got me to try on the same shoe, different colour, and had the shoe ordered in. Two days later, I got a call to say my shoes were in. Well done and you made it easy for me to spend my money there than some where else.

The Bay: Oh sure I found my shoe. The cashier? No where to be found. Actually that’s not fair. When I first went into the shoe department, she was moving shoe displays a few inches to the left and right. I looked at her a few times…no eye contact at all. No acknowledgement nothing. I would have made a game out of how long it took her but she left to go to the back again. When I finally had the shoe I wanted, it took me some sweet time to find her again…and when I did, and asked for my size…get this, sheasked if I wanted to try them on.  Wuh? When has any shoe fit the same way? OF COURSE I WANT TO TRY THEM ON. I may actually want what I pay for. I’m funny like that. And you’ve given me nothing that even remotely looks like customer service, don’t blow the one chance you have to provide some. Thankfully the shoes fit and I didn’t really need her for anything further.

ALDO Conclusion:

Going steady
– This could be the beginning of something major.
You gave me just enough attention to keep me interested. And when what I wanted wasn’t exactly there, you still made sure I left happy…even if I had to return. You and me? Oh, we’re good.

The Bay Conclusion:

Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by. Sorry, you’re just not there when I need you. Are you off talking with a better-looking, younger customer? I don’t know. And when I finally get some time with you, you go through the motions with no effort. I think this is going to have to be an open relationship.

Service Rating System:

Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.”
Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.

The Tip:

There’s a saying my dad introduced me to that I’ve brought up on my blog in the past and I thought it bared repeating. It’s a direction that all businesses should be very aware of.

Make it easy for me to spend my money.”

Put enough staff on the floor to help me. Make your website user-friendly. Give me suggestions that could guide me to spend more money.

This isn’t rocket science (though sometimes I think it might be). I’m a person that’s walked into your store or gone online with the express purpose of handing over my wages to you Mr./Mrs./Ms. Businessperson (cover all my sexist bases). Do not be the reason I don’t spend my money. I’m already there, just show me how to spend.


  • I’m surprised you bought the shoes at The Bay. I think (and this is not meant as an insult in any way) that the reason they have the poor service is people make the same decision you do; in that the selection and/or price wins out over service.

    I suppose if good service is not required for a purchase, then it doesn’t matter.

    I can’t remember the last time I bought something at The Bay…

    • I completely disagree. I understand stores where you’re spending the higher prices should come with an added level of service, however, it doesn’t matter if I’m pay $4 for a Happy Meal or $60 for shoes at the Bay…the basic levels of service are (and need to be) standard. (i.e. eye contact, a smile, availability).
      I don’t think you can dismiss an experience based on price point.
      Should price dictate service? Good question.

  • I stopped shopping at Aldo years ago because of their low quality shoes and hand bags for high prices. I appreciate a “hello” and a smile when I walk into a store, which Aldo usually provides, and the Bay usually doesn’t, but I’ve never bought anything from tbe Bay that is as low quality as Aldo, and their prices are very similar.

    If I had to choose, I would far rather have quality in a product than quality service. It lasts longer. Try Town Shoes – in my experience they give you the best of both worlds.

    • Town Shoes? Will do. As a boy, I only need a finite number of shoes but I’ll keep them in mind for the next pair.

  • Right, but my point is that you still shopped there, so what incentive does The Bay have to improve its customer service?

    • So you are defending Bay’s bad service? They shouldn’t improve their service because I purchased from there? What about retaining customers?
      Since I’ve told this story, I’ve been recommended to 3 other shoe stores that have great customer service. Good service is about building a relationship/experience, not about the short-term.

      • No, no, not defending at all. My point is even WITH the bad service, you still purchased from them. And because they got your money, they have no incentive to improve.

        Companies will only do things that improve their bottom line…and if you (et al) give them money, why should they spend money to improve.

        The best way, IMHO, to get them to understand, is to bring up the poor service right there and then leave without buying.

  • Remember: Aldo staff are paid by commission and The Bay is not. Most people will work harder for $$$

    • I wasn’t aware that ALDO worked on commission. If that’s the case, everyone should be on commission! I have no problem with how good customer service happens as long as it happens.
      I understand $$ is a motivator but it’s not the only one. And frankly if an employee can’t do the job, which includes customer service, they shouldn’t work there.

  • dougbrowncreative

    Commmission sales doesn’t always lead to better service, just more intense service. I can spot a commission seller a mile away because they piss on me at the door to mark their territory to the other sales staff. Who wants to that?

    • I agree, commission doesn’t always lead to better service nor does the level of wage determine effort. I think it really boils down to a work ethic that the employee has or doesn’t.
      I have actually stopped going to stores because the commission based sales approach was overwhelming. Could I look at some merchandise before you try to get to second base with me?

  • dougbrowncreative

    I’m sorry to contaminate your blog with two typos in a comment by the way.

  • I’ve found the Bay to be consistently lacking in the staff department. By that I mean you just can’t find any staff to help you out! My husband once yelled out “I have money and I want to spend it – someone PLEASE come help me spend my money here!” After we searched about 10 minutes for someone to help us. After that display someone came from another department, but couldn’t help us, since he didn’t know the stock.

    • I may love your husband…that’s fantastic. It is tough balancing staffing levels…I get that. But, if I go into a store and it’s always short staffed, that’s a problem.
      Hey, maybe we just tend to go when everyone has their break scheduled? (yes, I’m coming up with excuses for them).
      Do you still go back?

  • Commmission sales doesn’t always lead to better service, just more intense service. I can spot a commission seller a mile away because they piss on me at the door to mark their territory to the other sales staff. Who wants to that?

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