Moncton — Canadian Tire stores in the Maritime provinces are nearly as ubiquitous as Tim Hortons. Despite this, sales have been slipping as the franchise steadily loses customers to even better-known chains that supply similar items, such as Walmart or Costco.
Earlier this month Canadian Tire stores across Atlantic Canada held a massive brainstorming session in Moncton where long-standing team members came up with ways to ensure the company’s continuing viability. After much debate, one idea struck a chord with all in attendance.
“I think people appreciate honesty these days, especially with all that ‘fake news’ out there. Everyone calls us ‘Crappy Tire’ — they always have. I know it, you know it, they know we know it,” said Moncton store manager Bryce Albright. “Why don’t we stop pretending we don’t hear this, and just, you know, own it? It wouldn’t be only a joke between friends anymore; it would be the actual store name. It’s admitting that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and that we listen to our customers. Trust me, people will like it.”
Some other ideas that were thrown around and promptly rejected during the meeting included eliminating Canadian Tire money, and hiring staff members who know where items are located in the store.
“People can’t get enough of Canadian Tire money,” defended cashier Edith Jardine. “I mean they literally cannot get enough. I’ve never seen someone actually purchase an item with just the money. In fact they usually look a little impatient when I hand some to them with their change. Even still, some things are tradition.
“Just like having team members who never know where anything is,” Jardine continued. “When a customer comes in looking for drain cleaner, they don’t want to be able to just find an employee who will show them where the product is — they can go to Walmart for that. No, what people come here for is adventure and mystery. Will they see an actual living employee? Will they ever find the drain cleaner, or instead end up on the other side of the building looking at bike chains? It’s anyone’s guess!”
While Jardine ranted, the others mulled the possibility of the store name change.
“Any time I’m in the parking lot I hear guys in their trucks, talking on their phones saying things like, ‘Yeah, just headed over to ol’ Crappy Tire’ or ‘Hon, I’m at Crappy Tire right now — do you need anything?'” said Fredericton manager Garth McKay. “Our customers probably won’t even notice the change right away, but I think we should do it. We need one strong, recognizable brand that Atlantic Canadians can be proud of. Let’s make Crappy Tire happen!”
The Moncton store on Mountain Road was the first to make the big switch just two weeks ago, and have reported that zero customers noticed, complained, or commented. Our reporter interviewed a reluctant shopper about the change. “So Crappy Tire is gettin’ a new sign…? Is that what happened?” asked a puzzled Matt Hooper.
“I just came in to get my winter tires. They still got tires, right?”