Interesting ideas, Jacomplus.
Certainly there are pre-sales and post-sales customer service problems with any large retailer, as you said. The question is this: are things worse at Canadian Tire than at other retailers? A report on CBC not long ago ranked major Canadian retailers. Now, surely some CT stores are better than others, with some likely very good, and some very bad. But, over-all, Canadian Tire came in second-last, with Zellers taking the bottom spot. With Zellers gone, that means CT is now rated the worst! That wasn't CBC's opinion: it was an independently conducted poll of Canadians.
Another issue is return polices. Canadians often assume that all major retailers are going to be about the same. But a little research will reveal that Canadian Tire has the worst return policies of any of them. There are many items that are "exchange only", meaning the store's policy is "no refund". In fact, there are lots of item, many of them quite expensive, that are "repair only", meaning "no refund, no exchange". And, most shocking of all, there are quite a few that are "no warranty", meaning "no refund, no exchange, no repair". No, some stores have been known to go 'above and beyond' the bare minimum required by the corporation. But their policies say they don't have to, if they don't want to.
There is also the long tradition of improper automotive repairs, or over-charging, or even unnecessary repairs. There are lots of new reports on this, as well as a frequent barrage of complaints on the Canadian Tire Facebook page. We are in the midst of one, right now.
Oh, and let's not forget their well-deserved reputation an "China Tire", because of the array of crappy, low-quality products they sell, at ridiculous mark-ups (until the monthly 70% off" sale rolls around once again).
Do other stores have similar problems? Sure. But not nearly to the same extent.
For the above reasons, Crappy Tire is uniquely positioned as the worst major retailer in Canada.
They are basically coasting on nostalgia and mis-guided patriotism.
We shall see how long they can keep up the charade ...