Risks of buying large electronics items at CTC
Canadian Tire sells some large electronics items, such as TVs, including some high-end ones, DVD players. The reason I would not buy anything like that from them is because they use clamp trucks when unloading trailers.
A clamp truck is a lift truck, but instead of forks it has big clamps. When a trailer arrives at a distribution center, the stuff has to be placed on pallets, since it has to be processed, entered into computerized inventory and placed into storage before it can be sent to the stores. A normal procedure for receiving is to stack the boxes on a trailer floor and then pick them up with a clamp truck in order to transfer them on a pallet ouside the trailer.
When you pick a pile of boxes with a clamp truck, you have to squeeze them hard enough, so that none falls down. And, of course, it is easy to miscalculate. Once the boxes are on a pallet, a clamp truck driver brings or pushes the pallet to location where it is picked up by a forklift.
There was at least one case when a whole bunch of TVs were crushed, after they have been squeezed with a clamp. It happened when I was working there. I do not remember how many were crushed, but it could easily have been a dozen. They were crushed to the point that there was visible damage. And, of course, you can only guess how many times boxes are squeezed enough to inflict damage, even though you cannot see it. You buy one of those items and then it dies several weeks later.
I have also seen bicycles unloaded with clamp trucks. Bicycles arrive from the manufacturer in boxes, they have to be assembled before they are placed on a store display. And so guys in receiving take a few such boxes with a clamp truck and you can only imagine what is happening to wheels and spikes under all that pressure. (those boxes are rather thin, and so the wheels receive plenty of pressure)
A clamp truck is not always used, it cannot be used when boxes are rather small or when they are heavy, as could be the case with liquids. Such items are placed on a pallet inside the trailer and then a pallet truck is used to move it to location. But in general a clamp truck is a very important power equipment item in a warehouse / distribution center. Accident can also happen for no fault of an operator.
A few times, when operating lift trucks, I had to declare a truck unsafe and call for service, as it was not responding uniformly over the range of control movements (pedal or levers). Normally, you "advance" a control a little, and a truck responds a little. But sometimes nothing happens as you move the control, but then the damn thing "jumps" on you.
I don't know how the trailers are unloaded at Future Shop, Circuit City, Sears or a similar warehouse, but it could well be that they do not use clamp trucks. (Future Shop and Sears sell refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, those cannot be safely manipulated with a clamp truck, as they are far too heavy for it.)
Sears sells high-end furniture, it has to be loaded manually. The reason Canadian Tire widely uses clamp trucks at its distribution centers is because a good part of their merchandize can be manipulated this way. For example, ready-to-assemble furniture is ideally suited for a clamp truck. You can squeeze a box like that pretty hard and not be afraid that it breaks. But then a trailer with TVs arrives and the guys unload it as if it is just as sturdy as boxes with wood.
Plus even if the management would decree that electronics is not to be manipulated with clamp trucks, sometimes you have to reload boxes from a damaged pallet to a good one. There could easily be twenty boxes on a pallet, all wrapped in stretch film. Transferring them by hand is too much trouble, it is much easier to move a whole bundle with a clamp truck. A damaged pallet poses a very serious risk. It can get stuck somewhere at the top level in storage, you want to take the pallet out, but it does not move, as one plank had separated and got stuck in the modular shelving. The pallet may turn, flip and the boxes end up on a floor.
If it is oil, chlorine bleach, paint, solvent, antifreeze, etc, then you can imagine the mess.
Hope this info can save some buyers some trouble