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

 

superstoreexplanation

 

 

 

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.

https://lailayuile.com/2014/12/05/whos-the-scrooge-at-real-canadian-superstore/

https://lailayuile.com/2014/12/11/update79-comments-and-zero-response-from-loblaws-on-about-to-expire-product-discount-rollback-at-real-canadian-superstores-across-canada/

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/

27 thoughts on “Real Canadian Superstore once again in the spotlight after denying customers redemption of points

  1. There is always the possibility that the manager (or someone) is keeping those points for themselves!? You don’t HAVE to be a politician to be crooked, ya know?. Wouldn’t be the first time. I have little time for corporations because they are so ‘unthinking’ and ‘unfeeling’ (sociopathic) but I have learned over the years that, when forced to by facts and written words (contracts), they generally do the right thing. Bottom line: this is likely just a local scumbag. Perfect counter: send head office all the proof (copies). Get ten others to do the same. Maybe put up a petition and voila! Scumbag has been ‘outed’. But the faster way is to simply tell the scumbag what you are going to do if there is ever a problem like that again. “I am going to make checking up on you my hobby!”

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    1. Laila

      No,not allowing people to redeem their points doesn’t transfer them to anywhere else, they remain with the card holder.I’m guessing the lack of redemption on that coupon shows up on their bottom line somewhere? I dont have a clue.

      Like

      1. Any redemption not filled, would count as a “bonus” for the company wouldn’t it? A financial agreement where they offer something for your “loyalty” and then they don’t pony up… I’d say that someone is making a damn good bonus as that “savings” has to go somewhere to balance the books?

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      2. NOT arguing (Can’t. I don’t do points.) But I recall the mgr of one store (when asked for a delivery favour) said, “OK, but can I have the points?” There just may be a way…………maybe….

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  2. John

    It’s worse than unethical…..if you wrote them a cheque for your groceries and you knew it was non negotiable or you had no funds in your account and they accepted it in good faith well, there’s a word for that.

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    1. Laila

      I was stunned. She could not refute what is written on the coupon- I am guessing no one has ever challenged them on it. I just don’t get it – the points are still on the card for a future redemption,so how does it help the store by trying to keep people from redeeming them?

      I was certain the cashier was simply mistaken at first, thinking perhaps my order was under the $250 required. Still too many questions,because this isnt the first time I’ve experienced it, as I wrote. The first time I honestly believed them when they said there was some glitch and it wouldnt work if I redeemed points. But is it just this store – just one managers decision?

      I’ll be checking back to see what happens the next time this coupon offer comes out.

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  3. Julie

    Canada has become a cesspool of corruption. There are no checks on underhanded tactics and the wealthy robber barons, are permitted to thieve with impunity.

    I have noticed, goods are in smaller packages at the previous price. Some meat has very nearly doubled in cost.

    Too many of us have been brought up in, the good decent democratic Canada. We must change our mind sets. There is no honesty, deceny, ethics nor morals left in this country, what-so-ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katharina heitzmann

      bought cereal at shoppers. 2 boxes of same cereal, however the size of one box was bigger than the other. one would assume that there was more cereal in the bigger box and therefore grab the bigger box – not – the smaller box had more cereal by weight. I agree with Julie, there is no honesty, decency, ethics nor morals left in this country. very hard for honest employees to work under these conditions.

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  4. e.a.f.

    stores feel they can get away with things like that because really who are you going to complain to? Is there any one left at any government consumer protection agencies?

    the store maybe also relying on the fact they are dealing with a less sophisticated customer. People who are in a hurry, English not the first language, etc. What benefit they derive from this is yet unknown, but they may simply be testing something, in terms of customer reactions, to try the next phase of things. I don’t trust chain stores. There is always a bottom line and its not the customers.

    It would be interesting to have something like this put up on a face book page and see what others have to say. Talk to Linda Steele at CTV and see what she can find out. It may be the chain is trying to get away with something and as long as they are not “outed” they will continue to get away with it.

    I personally don’t do the “points” thing. It simply a method of tracking people shopping habits. of course I realize many need those points to make ends meet. Some one is making something on this policy, we just may not know what it is yet.

    Good work. Back in the day the Vancouver Sun had a columnist called “Penny Wise”. She used to take on things such as this. It was most effective. about all we have now is Steele on your side at CTV. It would be nice if one of the papers or CTV expanded their segment on this. As things get more expensive and incomes fall, people will need all the money they can save.

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  5. workforfun

    We didn’t spend $250 on Friday but did redeem 20,000 points to get $20 off of our bill. I need to check the receipt if we still have it, to see if we were credited with the bonus points as per offer.
    There is a lot of mis-information bandied around in the supermarkets and mistakes happen. I watch closely when the goods are read by the scanner at the checkout as I have often found the checkout price is not the shelf offer/sale price. I also tell the cashier to wait until we are ready before passing our things through the scanner – mainly so I can read what is on the display screen. If not sure, I will always ask if that price is correct etc. – you would be surprised how often the price isn’t correct (computer information not updated properly).

    Thanks for catching that bonus points scam – that is all it is. We just have to watch the dodgy buggers is all 🙂

    Not exactly the same subject, but I was asked if I would like a PC credit card – get $50 of free groceries. A store employee took my particulars while I waited in line and entered them into a portable device (computer ?). About a week later I received the PC credit card in the mail and along with it was the first statement. On the statement was written, “thank you for taking out this insurance for $10.00 or something similar. In other words they were charging that amount of money per transaction or a month, for the privilege of using their card. I didn’t agree to anything and this made me mad. I sent the card back in pieces and cancelled my account. Just thought I would mention this as an example of how generous and customer oriented this company is. It is bad enough that I have to shop there, it doesn’t mean I have to like them.

    Funnily enough just the other day, the wife and I were discussing using other food outlets where we feel the prices will be better. That will be done after the holidays, when things quieten down a bit.

    Thanks

    Like

    1. Laila

      What really irks me is that if people are told they cant use the coupon if they want to redeem their points.. many might choose to redeem and forgo the coupon points bonus they are entitled to… and that saves the company a lot of money.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. workforfun

    I forgot to mention that we live midway between Prince George and Quesnel and do on occasion, shop in Quesnel. The Extra Foods store in Quesnel often has prices 20% or more higher than in Prince George – yet the Save-On Foods prices are about the same in both cities.
    So yes, Loblaws, Extra Foods, Superstore are not the most honest or ethical of stores – one only has to look around.
    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I applied for a credit card a few years ago, after being approached in an aisle, by an employee. After I found out that people making over a certain amount, (Was it 50, 55, or 60 thousand? I can’t remember now) qualified for a lower interest rate than people making under the specified amount, I cancelled my card. Went right in to the credit department (just a little space with 1/2 walls) and cut my brand new unused card up in front of them, and tossed it in their waste paper basket while explaining why. I still buy what suits me, price-wise, but my feelings about PCSS have changed, and as far as I’m concerned, they can take a giant leap.

      Like

  7. Scotty on Denman

    It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve put frontline workers in a fix: we had a cashier who seemed to be in distress, wincing with pain and welling with tears; she could barely speak when I asked her if she was ok. I said, “You look like you should go to the walk-in clinic [which is actually in-store].” To which she replied, “I can’t, they’ll fire me…please, just move on, ok?…”
    “Don’t you have a union?” I ask.
    “Oh, please! Don’t get me in trouble! Please, I’ll be fine…Next!”
    I mean, I didn’t really know what the circumstances were, nor her employee relationship with the boss, but jeez… Everyone could see she was suffering.
    Loblaws is hard. I’m not really surprised to read about their recent cheap-outs here, just more disappointed than I already was.

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  8. henry

    their union has been dictated to by the store . so they don’t really have a union only to pay union dues . the store has all the power and there is no support for the workers. My wife used to be employed by superstore. She was due for a raise and was denied it because she transfered stores. She quit shortly after.

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  9. Jan Saysette Wood

    This also ties in with the recent articles about meat re-labeling. Grocery stores (apparently most) are changing the “use by” date by 1-3 days to extend the shelf life. We ended up with 2 lamb chops on 2 separate occasions that had gone bad from Superstore just recently. The smell was awful and I threw them away. Wow; all about corporate greed and the bottom line. And we consumers suffer.

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  10. G. Barry Stewart

    When our kids were young, one of them thought we were calling it “Stupid Store.” The name has stuck with our family… and now seems to be fitting for all to use.

    I sympathize with the service staff at food stores, who are disrespected and poorly paid. When we were back east this summer, our B&B host in northern Nova Scotia told of her single-mom neighbour who worked at Sobeys and was given a promotion to “produce manager.” Now, rather than working for minimum wage, she got a $1.00/hr increase… but was under pressure to put in extra unpaid time to make sure her department was being properly planned and prepped.

    Like

    1. Laila

      Front line staff bear the brunt of customers outrage,wrath etc… it’s never right to take out frustrations on them. Best way to deal with it is to the floor supervisor or manager.

      I’ve heard the same from cashiers who wouldn’t take a supervisory position for the very same reason – it simply isn’t worth the stress and time.

      Like

  11. Debbie McBride

    Happy New Yea to you Laila and your wonderful readers. You do a great job of “keeping ’em honest”.
    My husband had bought a “fresh” turkey from Thrifty’s a few days before Christmas.. Fortunately we intended to cook it Christmas Eve. The Best Before date was Dec 25, so I thought we were safe. When we cut open the packaging the rotten smell was overwhelming. We took it back and were immediately given credit for what we had paid. From the cashiers demeanor I don’t think this was a unique complaint. .
    Since I needed a turkey I could cook that morning I selected another “fresh” turkey. There were still quite a few “fresh” turkeys there and were quite a good price. i had noticed in the small print that these turkeys had been previously frozen. No wonder they were so cheap. To make matters worse though, I started looking at the best before date and noted that most of those dates were from Dec 20 to Dec 24. I managed to find a turkey pushed way at the back with a Dec 28 date.
    I pointed this out to staff but I don’t know if those expired turkeys were removed
    Sometimes eating something that has passed its best before date is okay, but not previously frozen poultry.
    I wonder how many people ate those turkeys that weren’t as rancid as the first one we bought and ended up with the “flu” later. I thoroughly washed the turkey with salt and vinager just in case.
    Everything we see and hear about poor business practices in our food chain is the result of the Conservative government’s lack of oversiite. Unfortunately big business is usually incapable of maintaining best practices, preferring instead to place profit over people.
    Until that business culture changes, we need people like you Laila, and your readers, to expose them.
    Nice work. Once again.

    Like

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