Over my last few weeks of deal hunting, I’ve been popping into a ton of carrier stores and getting a feel for what it’s like to shop now that most carriers have locked their doors to help prevent fraud.
Since September 2022, Rogers and Bell have locked down their stores in Toronto to help prevent fraud, but I’ve found that it’s not really a great shopping experience. Most of the stores I visited were around the Toronto Eaton Centre and the Queen West areas, but I also had to travel much further out of the downtown core to test a Telus store since most of its street-front stores were closed.
While having a locked door doesn’t seem like much of a hassle, it makes the shopping experience a bit more involved and doesn’t really leave much room for browsing. In the flagship Rogers store at Yonge-Dundas Square, the policy seems to be that only Rogers employees can open the door. So no matter how much eye contact you make with the security guard standing by the door, they won’t let you in. Once you’re in, a sales rep will immediately help you if one is free, which is nice, but if they’re all busy you’ll be asked to sit and wait. This does give you time to get up and browse, but it also means that you might lose your spot in line to talk to a sales team member.
I was also the only one browsing, likely since everyone else is told to take a seat. I’ll also mention that when I was in this store during peak hours, it had three security guards.
Most of the other stores had the same experience, but less security. Since they weren’t very busy I also started working with a sales associate right away. The only outlier was the Koodo/Telus store in Liberty Village. The doors weren’t locked there, so I was able to just waltz right in. However, it’s worth noting that the Rogers/Fido around the corner was locked.
Some stores do have small signs on the doors to at least alert customers that the store is locked and why, but others, like the Bell Store on Yonge Street, didn’t. You just pulled on the door, peered in and hoped the salesperson noticed you or then you’d have to start knocking.
Locked or not, shopping in a carrier store isn’t usually a great experience. They’re mostly dull and often outdated. Some are better than others, but even then, you have to deal with a salesperson who may or may not actually know what they’re talking about.