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Sep 14, 2009 07:29 PM

More stocking/supply chain issues at Loblaw's - getting fed up - lame excuses - foil pans and tarragon !

Others and yours truly have posted before on the incredibly aggravating situation at Loblaws when common - not exotic - products cannot be counted on to be on the shelves. But you won't believe the excuse a store manager gave me today !

I was shopping today to make a shepherd's pie dinner (sorry so pedestrian but the guys like their meat and taters !) for 24 guys at a downtown fraternity house. To contain the delicacy I needed to buy some "lasagne pans" in foil - about the most basic item you can think of. NOT ONE was in the empty shelves at Loblaw's St Clair Market, a flagship store - the clerk unhelpfully pointed me to a stack of "tops" which of course were no use at all, and said something about "computer ordering.". BTW there was only one cake-sized pan and otherwise - nix, naught, nothing !!

As luck would have it (mine, nor his) I ran into the store manager, newly appointed, on the job he said for just a few weeks. I told him that not being able to count on buying something as basic as foil pans was illustrative of Loblaw's much-discussed supply chain problems and frustrating as heck. He allowed that there were many problems, but - incredibly - he said to me that he had been on the job so little a time "just when the ramp up to September shopping happens" which he said was contributing to the problems. I observed, somewhat incredulously, that this is hardly a new phenomenon, and surely his colleagues both at HQ and the store were well acquainted with such a predictable seasonal shift of pattern. This did not evoke much response. Nice guy - seemed way way out of his depth.

Nor was I able to find fresh tarragon. "Oh," said the clerk in the vegetable section, "we're moving to Loblaw's herbs so that must be the reason." Sure enough, the former herb supplier is now supplanted by herbs packaged with a Loblaw or PC logo - but it is not a "reason." I asked whether in fact tarragon had been dropped from the inventory of fresh herbs. I may as well have asked for a piece of moon rock.

Frustrated, I dropped down to Loblaw's Dupont and Bathurst where indeed a splendid display of foil pans existed. But again, no tarragon. The clerk in that store's vegetable section solemnly looked over the herbs I had just searched and turned to say to me "There is no tarragon." That didn't get us far ! "Why ?" I asked. "Is it related to Loblaw's taking over the herb supply ?" (That store also had the new in-house packaging of such herbs as it offered.) The reply ? "Perhaps it is to do with ordering."

No fresh tarragon - hmm, Sobey's always has it. No foil pans at a big store. Hmm, Sobey's always seems to have some. Not a big deal - but another nail in the coffin of the once-dominant supermarket chain. It is to Sobey's for this guy in future,and stupid me for not having gone there today !

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  1. I've had it with Loblaw's as well. I went to the one at Christie/Dupont last week and couldn't find any fresh ginger. I asked the guy in the produce section if they have any, and he looked at me like I was crazy (as though it was some sort of outlandish request).

    I then went to the rice aisle in search of Arborio rice. I couldn't find it, hunted down an amployee, and asked for it. He had no idea what I was talking about.

    Strangely, the No Frills in my neighbourhood (The Junction) always seems to have what I'm looking for.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jakhtar

      Its a trade off: :oblaws is trying to lower prices to get store traffic, but they just go too low, and then can't afford a decent amount of stock. Sobey's on the other hand usually has it, but at a far higher price. The days of doing your shopping in ONE grocery store are over. After the flyers come out, I plan my route: No Frills, loblaws, Price Chopper!

    2. Considering that they are drastically slashing the SKUs they carry and have outsourced logistics, there is really no excuse.

      1. I haven't stepped foot in a grocery store since May since I can get to a farmer's market three times a week. I think I'm going to have an anxiety attack when I have to step foot in a Loblaws come winter.

        1. Brutal! I used to be a regular up to two years ago, and now, I don't even set foot in Loblaws anymore. All the reasons I had for going there specifically: PC Speculaas/Dutch cookies, PC Thai curries in the tin, problems getting PC Crumpets, etc, etc, etc. Oh well, we should be giving the ma and pa stores more business anyway and sticking it to these big box stores. Next thing you know, we need to mail order special ingredients like they do in the mid-west USA.

          1. And this incompetent bunch thinks they can run T&T? More like run it into the ground....

            1 Reply
            1. re: TexSquared

              Yes, that's what I'm afraid of!! This Summer I've been doing my shopping @ T&T, farmers' markets and my Mom's backyard. I haven't been to a Loblaws since probably May?