Michaels - Broadway Cambie

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Michaels.  There are several locations in Metro Vancouver, and the different stores vary significantly.  The company as a whole is mediocre.  It’s an average store with average supplies and slightly higher pricing than what one can find online.  I never make a purchase at Michaels without their 40% off coupon.  If I ever need to pop into a store for to pick something up quickly and know what I want, this is usually where I’d go.  I hardly ever go in and browse, the aisles and shelves are often quite sterile and is lacking in imagination.  The most common items I get: glitter, polymer clay, acrylic paint and card stock.

Location Specifics:

Vancouver – Broadway and Cambie
665 W Broadway

This is by far the most disappointing Michaels I’ve been to.  Customer service here is near non-existent.  Almost all the other locations I’ve been to, I have at least have someone occasionally ask me if I need help finding anything.  I have never been asked that at this location, and even when I am wandering around looking lost and someone is at the end of an aisle stocking shelves, they avoid eye contact.  The cash register is often understaffed and and long lines form.  I’m never impressed with the stock they have on the shelves and some items (especially the polymer clay) are perpetually understocked.  The layout of the store is annoying, as well.  The scrapbooking supplies are easy to find, but everything else is not arranged intuitively.  Unfortunately, this is the most convenient location for me.  I take transit so it’s accessible by a number of buses and the Canada Line.  Parking, however, is not something one should (or even can) consider.  Whatever few parking spaces there are, it’s pay parking and the store does not reimburse.  This is by far my least favourite location.

Richmond – Bridgeport
9711 Bridgeport Rd

This location was my introduction to Michaels so it will always have a special place in my heart.  The staff at this one are friendly, and knowledgeable.  Someone always takes the time to ask if I need any help.  It can get very busy on the weekends and long lines form at the registers, and it’s laid out so that multiple lines form.  So it can be irritating to be waiting in a line and a new register opens up only to have people behind go over and skip ahead.  The stock here is kept up to date quite well and if I stop by to get specific supplies, I almost never have to leave empty-handed.  They have a clearance aisle that have items at highly reduced prices, but the aisle is in a constant state of disarray and it takes a lot of patience to go through the discounted deals.  This location is the only one I’ve been to that has the wooden 3D puzzles.  I’ve gotten three small dollhouses from here and the quality is decent for the price ($9! For a dollhouse!).  It’s not quite transit accessible; one bus stops in front of it, but there is ample parking.  Good for the days when I can borrow a car and want to pick bulkier items.

Vancouver – Downtown
1022 Alberni St

This location is a little awkward.  Awkward in terms of existing in the middle of a busy downtown core with many hoity toity places surrounding it where few people seem like the DIY type (maybe that’s just me being judgmental), and awkward in the way that the store is split into two levels.  The first floor where the entrance is has beads, lots and lots of beads.  Well, beads and other jewelry related items.  Then an escalator brings people up to the second floor where everything else is.  Layout of the aisles on the second floor is like a maze.  Sometimes I have to circle around a few times to find the aisles I’m looking for.  I’ve been offered help here a few times, but not always.  The cashiers are always friendly, though and makes the transaction pleasant.  The line-up for the cash register is confusing, since it’s hard to figure out where it starts and ends.  Often I stand there waiting for a register to open only to find that there had been someone else standing at the other side thinking that was the start.  Awkward seems to be a theme at this location.  Since it’s downtown Vancouver, forget about driving to there for the specific purpose of going to Michaels.  It’s definitely transit accessible though with countless buses going to the downtown core.  It’s a good place to stop by when I’m already in the area and to pick up a few small items.

Michaels website: www.michaels.com/

No online shopping at all.  It’s also irritating that there is no distinct Canadian website (as in a .ca), just a Canadian section of the American site.  There are product pages, but it’s absolutely no indication that it will be available at any of the store locations.  The website is mainly useful for viewing the weekly flyers and figuring out store hours.  They present a lot of project ideas but I find them to be juvenile.  It’s actually quite disappointing that a big company has such a terrible website with such limited options.

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