Monday, October 18, 2010

Teacher Supply Store Gouges Teachers so they can make a profit

Location: British Columbia, Kelowna
Industry: Education
Annoyed By: Cornerstone Learning Resources Ltd in Kelowna BC

My original email to the company questioning why their prices were so high compared to Chapters bookstore:
As a teacher who purchases her own resources from her paycheck and does not get reimbursed from the school, I am curious how come a "teacher store" is so much more expensive than Chapters for the same items.
I selected approximately 40 books and found all but maybe 6 were cheaper at Chapters.
Each book at your store was marked up anywhere from $1 to $13+ depending on the item. The half a dozen that I did find at your store were simply unavailable at Chapters but I can only assume it they had been, they would have been cheaper.
Why is this? Why do you mark up your products so much that it appears you are gouging your clientele? Do you realize that most teachers purchase materials for learning from their personal funds and do not get any kind of refund from the school or from income tax?
Needless to say I found it very disappointing. As much as I would like to shop locally, I can't afford to.
L. Thompson

My reply from the store (rather than taking any kind of customer service stance like apologizing for frustration or offering a coupon, instead I get excuses and an insult):
Hello Ms. Thompson,
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I am one of the two owners of Cornerstone Learning Resources.
I appreciate your concerns, as I understand that as a teacher, you are required to purchase many of the resources you use out of your own pocket.
We have been operating since April 2005, and about three years ago we had to make an important decision: either compete for the lowest price and reduce our services, OR continue to offer the same services, and pass on the real cost of these services through product sales. We decided on the latter. You see, the cost to provide the specialty resources that you do not see at Chapters is much greater than the other resources. That is because many of these resources are ordered directly from the publisher, from whom just a handful of items are purchased, creating an increased cost in handling the product (receiving, labelling, ordering), and increased shipping costs, which many times exceed 30% of the product cost.
In addition, there is cost involved in finding these specialty products. We have clients ask us for resources to meet specific learning outcomes, and specific classroom and/or an individual child's needs, and we provide at no charge, the time necessary to research and find appropriate products.
So, we are not Chapters, and we do not intend to be. I understand that due to your limited budget, you may need to find the best prices, and that is OK. And for the other products that Chapters does not carry, I do hope you will visit us.
As for your comment on "gouging" our customers, I would hazard a guess that my take home pay is roughly around 20% of yours, hour per hour.
I hope this helps to explain things for you, and please do not hesitate to contact me at 250-xxx-xxxx
Thanks again.

So after being thoroughly disgusted my reply is as follows:
"I would hazard a guess that my take home pay is roughly around 20% of yours, hour per hour."
First of all your comment is insulting. Second of all it's ignorant. It tells me you don't have any idea just how many hours I personally work in a week versus how much I make. The school day may only be five hours long, but I work an additional 3-6 hrs per day that aren't on the books--including 10-12 hrs each weekend.
You think your take home pay is roughly 20% of mine? I'd be willing to bet that you make more than $2.68 per hour--which is exactly what I make if I counted all the hours I work. So based on your comments, no I won't be coming to visit for the things Chapters doesn't carry and will make sure that the rest of my colleagues taking home less than $3 per hour know about our conversation as well.

1 comment:

  1. Wow your a bitch. They are just a small company trying to make it ends meet. Although i have never visited the store I have explored the website and personally can't afford the prices for their products but that is no reason to bash them. Do you freak out at airports, tourist hotspots, ferry terminals, convenice stores and safeway for marking up costs? Everyone has the right to make the money they need by posting the prices higher. What is their alturnative option? Shut down? Small businesses have higher costs then corporations like chapters. I hope your bitchy ignorant attitude doesnt rub off on the poor kids you teach.