Real Canadian Superstore once again in the spotlight after denying customers redemption of points

I’m really starting to wonder what kind of a company Loblaws is after a recent experience where I and other customers were told we could not redeem our points on the PC plus card. Time for another grocery shopping rant.

Groceries unloaded, I hand my points card to the cashier, and tell her I’ll be redeeming 30,000 points, which equates to $30 off. She told me that if I wanted to use this weeks coupon to receive 25,000 points, I couldn’t redeem them. Knowing the coupon states the purchase must be over $250 AFTER all coupons and redemption’s, I told her the order would definitely be over that with Christmas shopping, so it would be fine.

She tells me, no, that even if you are over, you cant redeem any points or you wont get the new points. In other words, if I wanted to redeem the points I already have, I would have to forgo the coupon bonus points! I wasn’t about to argue with her, and thought perhaps she simply misunderstood the coupon, so I asked her to call a supervisor or manager, which she did.

This is the coupon, and the policy.

superstore flyer






It’s very clear on the coupon what the policy is. In fact, a customer must redeem a minimum of 20,000 points AND have a purchase of  $250 after that redemption( plus any other coupons ) to get the new points. Both of which I met.
In waiting for the manager, another woman said she had been told the same thing, and not allowed to redeem any points on her purchase because she wanted the extra points. This might not seem like a big deal,but if you are working on a budget and you are counting on a $30 reduction on your bill, it matters at the till.

The manager shows up, and I explain what the cashier told me, and that it’s clearly incorrect,and show her the coupon. I expected her to agree and tell the cashier  it’s fine, but she looks at the coupon, looks at me, and says: “Oh it doesn’t matter what the coupon says, it’s not working like that.”

I ask her why, and she says it’s misprinted and that you cant redeem any points to get the new ones. Then she tells me that other customers have tried it and they don’t get the points.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this, and I believed it the first time and chose to get more points instead of redeeming current ones, but this time I wanted to find out what was going on.

I showed her the wording – and she clearly read it herself- and then she was silent. There was another cashier with her who was looking nervous. I told her that if the store was denying customers their redemption’s-which would add up to a significant amount at this time of the year- that was really unethical.

The cashier beside the supervisor then blurted out:  ” They told us to say that to everyone, no matter what.” Her face was red. I felt so bad for her.

The supervisor looked at me and said..”Oh,look, the coupon does say that, I guess they re-worded it. Let me go call upstairs” So off she went, and made a call upstairs.

Then she called the cashier and said “Go ahead and redeem the points.”

So, I got the $30 off the bill, and the new points showed on the bill of course.

There was no computer glitch. There was no mistaken understanding.

The cashiers had been told to tell every customer who wanted to use the new points coupon for over $250 they couldn’t redeem any points at all to use it, in direct contradiction to the coupon itself that says you MUST redeem points. When someone decides to redeem anyways with a purchase over $250, believing what they are told, the store wins because no coupon is used, and therefore no points are paid to the customer.

At 25,000 per customer order over $250, the store saves $25.00 every time a customer falls for this.

I spoke with her after, privately and she said it wasn’t her direction to do that, but from higher up. She didn’t know if they were doing it at other stores, or just this particular store. I called the next day to speak to the store manager, but apparently he was very very busy all day.  He also happens to be the fellow I found taking off the dollar daze stickers before the sale was over…

What really bothered me more than the unethical direction, was that the store would put their front line workers, those amazing cashiers, in a position like this. It’s just not right – it’s not their fault.

I’d like to hear if anyone else has had this issue in other stores, or if it’s just this one rogue store where the spirit of the Grinch lives on at Christmas.

And it seems Loblaws is under scrutiny for its pricing practices with suppliers as well.

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , | 21 Comments

Kiewit-General “committed willful and serious safety violations” in Washington state accident, fined $150,000

I noticed some interesting and heavy activity yesterday on my blog, from a US source using Level 3 Communications out of Maryland, U.S. – a company that interestingly enough, was spun off from Kiewit Diversified Group, a subsidiary of Peter Kiewit and Sons. The interest was very specifically focused on the posts I’ve written that involve or feature Kiewits work in BC, and most recently on the issues with the retaining walls along the Sea to Sky Highway. 

This prompted a bit of digging around since often traffic like that can lead to a story or a related story. And sure enough,something popped up.

“The contractor building a new 520 floating bridge is accused of willfully putting the lives of workers in danger by ignoring safety warnings related to cranes being used on the project.

Kiewit-General will receive a fine of more than $150,000 for willful and serious safety violations stemming from an accident at the site in Aberdeen where pontoons for the floating bridge are being constructed, according to a source with knowledge of the incident, which led to an investigation by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

On June 21, 2014, a 13,000-pound concrete counterweight being lifted off a construction crane fell to the ground, narrowly missing two workers. Five workers were on the crane at the time, and could have been seriously injured or killed if the crane had collapsed, according to the source.

KIRO Radio has viewed video of the incident, during which the man filming seems to have anticipated an accident of some kind.

“And that’s why I was filming,” he said.

The video was sent to L & I, which led to an investigation.

State inspectors found that a steel hook attached to the top of the counterweight, which is used to lift it, broke free from the concrete and steel frame it was cast in.

The accident led to serious revelations about Kiewit, including accusations that the company knew for nearly 10 years that the steel hooks could be faulty, but failed to take action.

The hook in question, called a lifting eye, was the subject of a manufacturer’s bulletin in 2005 and again in 2011. The bulletin indicated that the steel lifting eyes could fail and should be inspected. If irregularities were found, the manufacturer provided a set of guidelines that companies should follow to fix the lifting eyes.

Kiewit, before it joined with General on the 520 bridge project, owned several tower cranes that used the questionable lifting eyes. Instead of repairing the lifting eyes as the manufacturer recommended, Kiewit attempted its own repairs or, in some cases, didn’t attempt any repairs, the L & I investigation found, according to the source.

The source said Kiewit had, on multiple occasions, disassembled and then re-erected tower cranes in Washington state without replacing potentially faulty lifting eyes when they had the chance.

As a result, Kiewit-General, as a joint venture, will receive willful violations for failing to follow recommendations from the crane equipment manufacturer, failing to address the hazard, and putting employees in direct danger of a tower crane collapse. The company also received serious violations for using a worker that wasn’t qualified to oversee crane disassembly at the Aberdeen site, and for allowing that worker to develop procedures they were not qualified to develop.”


Read the rest of this story,listen to audio and video features showing footage of the crane accident HERE:

This particular bridge project has been plagued with issues, which I covered here after Dave White of News1130 broke the story in BC- this is a *must read* refresher:

Of course, all this talk about bridges,crane collapses and safety violations brought me back to the very big crane mishap that happened on the Port Mann Bridge during construction.

I did a bit of research but couldn’t find any reports detailing the results of the Worksafe BC investigation into that accident, and after going through the archives on the Worksafe BC newsroom site, I called their media room to ask what the findings were or if they were released.

I was told they were not available and that I would have to file an FOI ( Freedom of Information request) to find out. I asked if it were possible to simply find out if any fines or infractions were issued without details, and again, told to file an FOI. (This has already been done by a source and the results will be shared. )

One would think the results of a WorkSafe BC investigation into a very public accident on a public project would not be a private or personal matter.  It is possible to report the findings without naming individuals.

***Update 2pm Dec 19/2014 :

From our dear friend NVG ( virtual fist bump here)  in the comments below, a link to a story from The Sun where it mentions the reason Worksafe BC might not even have anything to FOI – they allowed Kiewit/Flatiron to do their own investigaton. Shocking excerpt :

“What made the gantry collapse? Al Johnson, Work-SafeBC’s regional director in charge of regulating construction, said the two companies that designed and built the bridge, Kiewit and Flatiron, were best able to answer that question.

“Sometimes we do our own investigation, but in this particular incident our officers felt that (the companies) had the engineering expertise – and they brought engineers in that knew specifically about the truss,” Johnson said. “So we were satisfied that they had the right engineers on the job to evaluate what occurred, what went wrong, and how to prevent that … from happening again.”

WorkSafeBC met with the companies on Nov. 7 after their investigation was finished.

“They were using the truss in what they call an ‘unconventional’ way,” Johnson said. “In this cantilevered position, the truss is sitting on two short front legs and two larger back legs.”

When the 90-tonne segment was moved out to the end of the cantilever, the front supporting legs began to bend.

“It would be sort of like if you had a table with very simple legs, like a card table, and you had short legs on one side and longer legs on the other side, and you started to push it forward,” Johnson said. “The front legs collapsed.

“Their engineering design hadn’t given consideration to all the different factors of using it that way.”

Kiewit has a long history of being one of the contractors favoured by the BC Liberal government, along with SNC Lavalin and Macquarie, but one with a questionable track record.

Their safety record was detailed at length in this excellent piece by Tom Sandborn in the Tyee last year:

The ministry of Transportation has yet to respond to the questions asked in this post:


** In February 2014, BIV noted that Kiewit/Flatiron general partnership had filed suit with regards to the segment dropped into the river during the Port Mann bridge incident, alleging the defendents ” failed to “specify and deal with the risk that the main truss might slide during span-by-span erection of segments on a slope.”


Posted in BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Commonsense Canadian gets to the heart of the matter on Site C approval.

There’s really not much I could add to this, Damien Gillis has wrapped this up so well – I highly recommend reading this fine post. Here are some excerpts:

” …the Liberal Government excluded the public’s independent energy watchdog, the BC Utilities Commission, from reviewing the project. The regulator was built precisely for this purpose: to examine proposed energy projects and plans based on their need and value to taxpayers and ratepayers. “

“… the Liberal government set the rules for the review process, then broke them as soon as they became inconvenient.”

“At first, Site C was to power BC’s homes, but when we became a solid net exporter of power in recent years – according to BC Stats – the rationale morphed into powering energy-intensive LNG projects. But BC Hydro undermined that statement during the JRP hearings, saying it was instead to export excess power to California – likely a money-losing proposition for BC.

Then, just last week, Christy Clark went back on her LNG argument, admitting that Site C was notin fact required for that industry. “

*Read the rest of this post, HERE:

My only addition would be to ask these two questions that I put forth yesterday, online:

Why is it that the province has the money for a project toppling the $8 billion mark, when mayors have been forced to propose an increase in the provincial sales tax in order to fund transit improvements?   ( meanwhile seismic upgrades to schools haven’t been completed, it was pointed out) 


Considering it has been accepted that temporary foreign workers would need to be used in part to build any LNG projects in the province, who exactly is going to be filling the alleged 10,000 jobs the premier has promoted this project would provide? 

Posted in BC Liberals, BC Politics, LNG/fracking, LNGindustry/fracking, P3 projects in BC, The Environment | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

There is no defence – period.

I missed an interesting story  yesterday with my focus on waiting for the Site C announcement – I’ll have a blog post on Site C soon, but I’ve received quite a few messages asking what I think of this:

here to start… how about a little history? CFOX is not a news station. It’s rock station with a lot of shock-jock radio. The Jeff O’Neil show is famous (infamous?) for the stunts he and his co-hosts pull,along with games like this one. Kind of like a milder Howard Stern. I’d never heard of this game so I did a bit of looking around on the net. Clearly, it’s not intended to be a literal game, and one most people would imagine played in drunken college stupors during frat parties ( I see online it’s also played by teens as well) but what happened yesterday just ended up being wrong on many levels.

1.How it came to be that someone at CKNW figured that their regular listeners would enjoy the Jeff O’Neil show – even with guest hosts – is frankly, beyond me. Having been a guest on NW many times, I can assure you that if CKNW listeners wanted to hear CFOX, they would be already tuned into CFOX. If this was an attempt to draw in some new listeners to CKNW, it failed miserably.
2. It is implausible that anyone who has listened to the Jeff O’ Neil Show, or previously been on his show could claim to be shocked or surprised by anything said,done or asked on his show.Everyone who guests on his show knows very well anything could happen, and this isn’t the first time Global hosts have been on the show. To claim otherwise is disingenuous. If you don’t want to be put in an awkward position, don’t do it. He is not going to tone it down for anyone,or another station.

3. Freedom of speech protects every Canadian, barring hate speech or threats – implied or real. The Jeff O’ Neil show is definitely not my thing, yet it clearly has had lasting power with their audience. Fine. I make the comparison to the really bad TV shows out there that end up lasting forever like Big Brother- I don’t watch them either,but I get there is an audience for it. Had this not been simulcast on CKNW, likely no one would have noticed because the audience doesn’t cross over.

4. The situation was made worse by defending it in the face of very real outrage by women and men alike who have never heard of this game( including myself, until this) and consider it unacceptable and misogynist. Joking about any politician being eff’d, killed or married isn’t funny, especially with newscasters who report or deal with said politicians.

Violence against anyone is a sensitive and very real issue. We’ve just endured the Ghomeshi revelations and subsequent confessions of women around the world. Ironically, just the day before this segment aired, Global aired this story of violence against women and the sobering stats of how many women have been killed in BC this year alone by a partner:

“There have been 20 murders, seven attempted murders and nine perpetrators have taken their own lives in murder-suicides.”

It shouldn’t require an explanation of why this game is offensive to many, but if you needed one, that link above tells you why.

I think for the Global hosts involved – who regularly report stories on politics, or violence and present those to their audience – it’s a problem when you knowingly guest in another venue that might put you at odds with your regular role. Lesson learned.
CKNW apologized, and Global has done the same. Jeff O’ Neil will likely still keep playing pranks and games like this, and it can’t be said by anyone who might appear from this point on that they didn’t expect whatever came at them.

They too, have offered an apology

Like it or not – and I don’t- that frat house stuff is his shtick.

It’s often twisted,but if his listeners didn’t like it, he wouldn’t be doing it. As mentioned above,had this not been simulcast on CKNW, likely no one would have noticed because the audience doesn’t cross over.

Global morning host Sophie Lui was on earlier this year, played the same game, was given the names of some of her colleagues as choices and no outrage… but then it wasn’t simulcast on CKNW.

Our right to freedom of speech comes with responsibility.

Part of that is personal judgement on what is appropriate for an age group, a venue or a certain audience – much like the way movie ratings are done to protect children from inappropriate content.

We don’t consider that censorship, we call it common sense –  something that was missing on several fronts in this event.



Posted in Laila Yuile | 11 Comments

Every pundits worst nightmare – Mom calls the open line.

Tis the season to be jolly…unless you happen to be these two pundits who are brothers when they realize it’s Mom calling to bawl them out live on C-span for bad behavior!

The looks on their faces are priceless – some comedic relief from the news of the day.


Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Transit tax penalizes the poor.

This week’s topic: Is a 0.5% increase in the provincial sales tax a good way to fund transit improvements in Metro Vancouver?

Let’s face it, for most people tax is a four-letter word. Say it and people scowl as if you’ve said something offensive and inappropriate. However painful it is to hear, the truth is that taxes are a necessary evil. For every level of government, from municipal through to federal, taxes are vital revenue streams that help pay for the services and infrastructure we rely on.

Having said that, I don’t think an increase in the provincial sales tax within Metro Vancouver to fund transit improvements alone is the solution.

It’s been said that a no vote in this referendum will set back transit a decade and there is no other way to fund transit that is as fair as this proposal, yet a tax that penalizes those who can least afford it is anything but equitable.

It’s estimated to cost the average family approximately $125 a year, and the poorest families, $50.

Without a doubt, we need to get moving on transit in Metro Vancouver, but we are also facing some big challenges as a province. Highways and other infrastructure are in disrepair. Hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed. The list goes on, yet we keep hearing there is no money.

Read Brent Stafford’s column here.

I can’t help but feel it’s terribly short-sighted to approach the funding solution for transit on its own when the province is clearly in need of a solid revenue stream for all of these challenges.

While the premier often boasts about our low tax rates, the cost has been steep. What isn’t mentioned is that the series of cuts to both personal and corporate taxes since 2000 created a devastating hole in provincial revenues that has never been adequately replaced. We’ve been left with a regressive tax system that hurts the people who can least afford it – just like this sales tax increase…

READ the rest of this weeks column, comment and vote at


HERE is the link to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives paper on progressive tax solutions:

And here is the quick look at page 8 where a portion of the reforms are listed – many of these options could potentially provide enough revenue for transit improvement ( dedicated much like the portion of this sales tax revenue proposal) as well as bringing in additional revenue for things like healthcare and education,as well as restoring cuts to justice services programs etc.


Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

World Vision offers Feed a Hungry Family in Canada gift option.

In July Canada made it back into the  UN’s top ten list of developed countries, but looking at the World Vision gift site, you might think we were a third world country. While this might shock some, the response to my recent posts on the Loblaws chains decision to pull back the 50% discount on nearly expired product in favour of a 30% discount indicates there are a lot of hurting families, seniors and singles out there.

World Vision is most well known for supporting children,families and communities in third world countries. That they are now offering the option to help feed a Canadian family isn’t something we, as a nation, should be proud of.



Posted in BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Federal politics | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Update:79 comments and zero response from Loblaws on about to expire product discount rollback at Real Canadian Superstores across Canada

If there is one thing I have to shake my head at, it’s when a corporation can’t, or won’t take ownership of their decisions. Case in point, my recent post:

Inundated with both comments and emails from readers right across the country who are feeling the pinch of the lost discount, I sent an inquiry off to Loblaws on Saturday December 6th.

I received a nameless reply on December 8th,indicating a response was forthcoming:

lopblaws responseNicely surprised, I waited. And waited.

Nothing. I have heard from two managers who’ve asked not to be named for obvious reasons, that it was a chain decision and that it’s impact will be unsold product.

In the grand scheme of things, Loblaws doesn’t have to be accountable to anyone but their shareholders – least of all, their customers. But the customers are speaking and they aren’t happy about this. And it’s pretty appalling when you see something like this, tweeted by a  fellow in Peterborough Ontario:



Seriously Loblaws? Sticking 30% stickers on top of the 50% ones? Talk about leaving a bad taste in your mouth…and it’s not the nearly expired product!

Merry Christmas, Mr. Weston. Your ads this holiday season tell customers to start a new tradition…and they might. How about shopping somewhere else?

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , | 23 Comments

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Schools need ethical investments

This week’s topic: Should universities be forced to divest from fossil fuel investments?

In an era where more people are investigating the importance of ethical investing, it’s not surprising to hear that two groups are now pushing Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia to divest themselves of all fossil fuel investments.

Sustainable SFU, an “independent, student-led not-for-profit society working toward a sustainable future at Simon Fraser University campuses,” recently launched a campaign called Divest SFU. According to their website, they are asking the university to immediately freeze all new investments in fossil fuel companies, end ownership of these companies within five years, and disclose the potential greenhouse gas emissions of those investments.

At UBC, a group of students, staff, faculty and alumni have also started a movement to urge UBC to undertake similar divestments to the SFU action. This isn’t a new movement and it follows in the footsteps of many other major universities and cities. As people become more engaged in the events and changes in the world around us, the social and moral choices we make as consumers and investors become evident and important.

Every investor becomes a part owner in the companies within their portfolio, whether it’s a pension fund, RRSP, or another type of fund, with the ultimate goal of making a good return. Where the ethical or socially conscious investor differs is in examining how those companies make their money.

Read Brent Stafford’s columnhere.

If the values or the manner in which that company makes a profit is not in line with the values of the investor, it can be a personal conflict. For this reason, many people choose not to invest in companies that produce weapons, profit from tobacco and, in these cases, the fossil fuel industry.


READ the rest of this weeks column, vote and or comment at

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, LNGindustry/fracking, The China Connection, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Who’s the scrooge at Real Canadian Superstore?

With the cost of groceries continually rising, and the number of families and singles feeling the pinch because the income doesn’t magically rise accordingly, shopping at places like Real Canadian Superstore is par the course for nearly everyone these days.

Even with weekly sale items and lower prices, I’ve still really noticed an increase in the number of people buying about to expire items that have always been priced with a bright neon pink 50% off stickers. Both the Superstore on King George Highway and on Scott Rd. in Delta use them for non-meat items usually dated to expire that day, or within a couple days.

However as I was waiting for some luncheon meat at the deli counter in the Scott Road location this evening, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between a senior couple shopping nearby. They were looking through all the deli salad items with pink stickers, but couldn’t find any that said 50% off – they all said 30% off instead and that made a big difference in their buying ability. It was a big issue for them clearly as they discussed how much money they had.

So I started looking around and sure enough every food item in the discount bins, or about to expire, was no longer 50% off, but 30% off -Not a 50% sticker to be had, anywhere.

While paying at the till, I asked the cashier about it and she nodded her head and shared with me quietly that indeed, the 50% stickers were no more and everyone was talking about it.
She also said store employees predict the amount of product about to be wasted is going to go up and this new change was just recently implemented within the last two weeks. People buy it at 50% off, but not at 30%, it makes that much of a difference to them. So the store is willing to take that chance and maybe toss product,than leave it at the 50% off mark and offload it to someone who likely really relies on it.

What I don’t know yet – I’ve sent off an inquiry – is if this is a chain decision, or just these stores – if you’ve noticed the same change in your local Superstore, I would like to hear about it!

Now, this may not seem like a big deal to the average reader, but I know for a fact that a lot of low income seniors,singles and families seek out those pink sticker items to make ends meet. If they could buy something fresher, or more expensive, they clearly would.Those stickers can make the difference between having cheese and not having cheese, or bread or whatever.  I have seen people with entire baskets full of 50% off discounted items.

It’s sad enough that there are so many people hurting that relying on discounted items is a necessity, but it’s even sadder that a company that has been busy making strategic acquisitions in order to increase profits and dividends feels the need to target discount items in order to improve their bottom line. Sure it’s their right, but seriously?

Now those seniors I mentioned in the beginning? I watched and they didn’t end up getting any of the items because for them, there is clearly a big difference between 30% off and 50% off. On a limited income, every single cent counts. And to make this change just weeks before Christmas is a move even the Scrooge would think twice about.

Real Canadian Superstore gets two thumbs down for a scrooge move hitting those with the least to spend, right as the holidays hit. It’s no wonder the lines at the food banks are so long.

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , | 83 Comments