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.
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. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/supplier-squeeze-loblaw-in-the-spotlight-over-pricing-practices/article22168960/