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Loblaws I hardly know you....

Thanks for listening to my rant about Loblaws. Here's my latest experience which isn't the worst I've had there, but it will be my last. Is it just me?

• Had to jump out of the way of “cart guy” who was so focused on returning a long row of carts from the parking lot that he evidently failed to see the customers in his path
• Over to the produce area, no basil
• On to the bakery, can’t get near the fresh loaves of bread because baker is blocking area w large, multi-level cart of bread. I say excuse me, I’m ignored though she does look at me…so far all I have in my cart is 2 lemons and a bunch of celery
• Fish counter next. I need scallops. No one at the counter. After 5 minutes and 30 seconds (and feeling at this point someone must be bound to show up), I decided I’d call the store on my cell and ask for customer service. As I’m doing this, someone from the deli comes over, says “I’ll try to help you, she’s on break” Lucky me, I now have scallops...over 7 1/2 minutes after arriving at the counter, even though I was the only customer there
• Deli counter – no capricola, they don’t stock it any more, she doesn’t know why. I strike out on ricotta as well, it’s all past its expiry date. This isn’t the first time this has happened
• Pharmacy area. Only stocks small sizes of Advil Cold & Sinus now. If you want more than 20 tablets, you have to buy No Name….or shop elsewhere …. 2 lemons, 1 bunch of celery and 8 scallops
• Milk is on sale…yay! $1.50/litre. Hope you can use it quick, it expires on Nov 2nd. Pity, I can’t. 2 lemons, 1 bunch of celery, 8 scallops
• Same issue w a pkg of 8 yogurt drinks, they expire Nov 3rd.
• I am now really, really unhappy because I definitely have to go somewhere else to get what I need

I debate whether just to leave my cart w customer service but in the end I use self check-out and head to Sobeys where I found everything I needed, including my new grocery store.

Dear Loblaws, you have been letting me down for almost 2 years now. I’ve watched your stores being re-branded which translated into narrower isles, fewer name brand goods, isles constantly blocked with skids or carts of merchandise waiting for someone to put it on shelves, a deterioration in the quality of PC products, self-bag check-out counters with no room for people and carts, and a charge for bags. Customer service is non-existent and at times, snarly.

The new Insider’s Report comes out next week. I know I’ll look at it and want to try the new products but I just can’t go back to Loblaws.

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  1. The staff at Loblaws are generally oblivious to customers. They'll pile skids in the middle of the aisle while they stock the shelves, chat on their cell phones while they watch you bag your groceries. You get the odd person who's a real gem, but they just make all the other deadbeats look so bad.

    1. Consider yourself lucky; you could have nothing near you except for a Metro...
      -I'd kill for $1.50/L for milk even if it expired in 3 or 4 days; more like $3.50 no matter when it expires
      -LOOOOONG lineups. Especially between 3-7pm; its awesome how there's never more than 3 or 4 cashiers available during rush hour. When I went two days ago after work there were huge lineups and I saw 6 cashiers there when I walked in; guess what happened when I wanted to checkout? 4 cashiers closed at the same time...
      -Weak selection
      -Basic vegetables easily cost 2-16 (yes, sixteen; nice green peppers for .25/lb on Spadina and Dundas vs 3.99/lb for similar quality green peppers at Metro) times the price that you'll find in Chinatown (I realize the quality might sometimes be better at the Metro i go to, but not usually and not 15x better)
      -awful store layouts that make it hard to exit if you decide you don't want to buy anything
      -hot food counter that only sells food that's laced with salt and is overcooked (dark drown veggies, burnt wings, dry chicken, exceptionally salty potatoes, etc.)
      and I could go on....

      7 Replies
      1. re: Shimso

        All I have handy to my office is a Metro and I resent every time I have to go in. Especially for veggies. So much of it prepackaged. And the staff there are so surly and completely useless if you are asking where to find something. They don't even want to try.

        Maybe one day the MLGardens Loblaws will open and I'll have better choice.

        1. re: Shimso

          Loblaws has gone downhill badly, but Metro has become the worst supermarket in Toronto (except of course for Food Basics) since it changed from Dominion. Everything you say is true. You forgot to mention that when they have a multiple buy (2 for $3, etc), they are the only store in Toronto that charges you more if you buy only 1. When they mark down stale bakery goods, they don't mart therm down by half. It's usually $1, then is generally 25%.

          The final straw was when they started expecting you to slice your own bread. I went to see the manager and asked him what the Metro retirement benefits are. If I'm going to be an employee, I want to know my compensation package. This constant downloading of employee work onto customers has gotten completely out of control. I see that Loblaws is starting to do the same thing.

          1. re: evansl

            they are not the only store to charge more per item if you do not buy it in the multiple stated. T&T, for one, does the same thing. Most times, you need to read the sign carefully to see if they have a "buy one" price.

            1. re: pinkprimp

              Loblaws seems to have picked up this pricing from T&T. They did it first. Metro followed.

              1. re: embee

                I've never seen Loblaws charge more for buying 1. Metro is the only major chain that does it.

                1. re: evansl

                  I've seen both Loblaws and Superstore charge more for buying 1. That's the only reason I have 3 boxes of Naturepath's Granola in my pantry right now.

                  I'm not surprised they would use some of T & T's pricing approach, especially after acquiring T & T. The stock of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian groceries has increased considerably at my favourite Loblaws (in London, ON), and it seems to have improved shortly after the acquisition, maybe because their buying power increased.

                  I have noticed over the years that prices can vary from location to location, and from city to city. The Loblaws that used to stand at Yorkville Ave and Yonge, where the highrise condo is now located, across from the Cookbook Store, used to charge an arm and a leg for groceries, with popular items sometimes costing 25-50% more than what other Loblaws were charging in TO. While most grocery prices seem more standardized throughout the Loblaws in TO these days, I have noticed that the price of a litre of milk in TO is often around $3.79 in a north Toronto Loblaws (or the Yonge & Eg Metro), and usually around $3.19-$3.29 at the Loblaws in London, ON. Not sure if the individual store owners, or the regional managers, are working in the cost of rent, or maybe using a "what the market will bear" approach to the cost of milk?

                  What I find even more interesting, is that the Shell gas stations in North TO seem to always charge less for milk than the North TO Loblaws. Although, I have to say, it feels a little strange to intentionally go grocery shopping at the gas station.

                  1. re: evansl

                    Loblaws did not in the past, but I have recently noticed they are doing it now. The price for 1 is specifically mentioned in smaller print, right below the multi-buy sale price.

          2. I am developing a full fledged obsession with the Loblaws at Christie and Dupont. I had some kind of hassle there that made me angry once (I can't even remember what it was) and boycotted. After a year, I decided to give it another chance. I had brought my own bags and it was before they redesigned the checkouts. I am on the other side of middle age, and five feet tall. The counters were quite high because the cashiers stood on a platform and there was no room for self bagging. The cashier whipped through my order, watching me struggle to pack my items while they fell all over the place. She kept turning around to toss the items in a pile and could see I was struggling to reach into the bags. I asked her to slow down for a second. She didn't. So I stopped her from totalling off my order and said I didn't want any of the groceries and that I was leaving. "You can't do that." "Oh, yeah?" And I left while she pleaded for a manager over the intercom.

            About a year after that, I went in again thinking that the passage of time, different glasses and a new hairstyle would disguise my bad old self. Now the bag tax had passed and I figured they would be more helpful to people bringing their own bags. After all, this isn't a discount grocery store. They had redesigned the checkouts and I was hopeful. The guy in front of me bought plastic bags (for shame) and the cashier packed all of his groceries. I got the same treatment as last time, although it was easier to manage with the new counters. So I went to customer service and asked , "What's the deal? How do you determine who gets service and who doesn't?" I started off nicely. The customer service person was very cranky. The conversation went south. Quickly. There was no yelling. No tantrum. But the customer service person just didn't want to deal with me, so he asked me to leave. Can you believe it? Me? Gramma-esque type being kicked out of a grocery store? Having led an exceptionally delinquent and wild life in my younger days, my first thought was to trash the little coffee shop they have near the exit. Or at least do a smash up of the wine store. But I am somewhat in the public eye due to my work, so I left quietly.

            Having cursed the location sufficiently with every drive by for about another year, I found myself there two weeks ago. I decided to use the self serve checkout to avoid the bagging issue. At least the expectation of a "self serve" was a given. Everything was going fine until I tried to scan my 50% off sour cream. It had a special sticker. All the sour cream did. And I was supposed to summon the cashier according to the screen. Which I did. And she shouted, not moving from her spot "make sure the bag is on the thing." "But it's not the bag, I have a discount sticker". She left her post to help someone else and I continued to check out my items, putting my sour cream aside. And then she helped another person. So I waved at her and smiled. And then she shouted something about the bags again. And then a well meaning young woman came from the growing line behind me to explain to me how to scan an item and how the "computer" works. All the while the screen clearly says "Please wait for assistance" when I scan my sour cream. So despite the assumption that I am old and therefore some kind of dotty, luddite pain-in-the-arse that shouldn't be trying these newfangled things, I cancel my last entry, rip off the sticker and pay regular price for my sour cream just to get out of there. I slowed down as I passed the Customer Service desk, deciding whether or not to stop for a chat. But there was a gaggle of staff there sharing a very loud conversation with the customer service person about how "f-ing rude and f-ing ignorant" their boss was, ignoring me as I stood and waited. So I left vowing never to return. But I know I will.

            My sister tells me that my 87-year-old aunt got the boot from Sobeys recently for badgering the manager about high prices. Be forewarned Loblaws. I have a legacy to uphold.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pastina

              Pastina, you are so close to Fiesta Farms...don't put yourself through the torture...

              1. re: EarlyDrive

                Thanks. I am a regular Fiesta Farmer. About once a year, though....I am inexplicably drawn...

                1. re: pastina

                  I love Fiesta Farms but come on, the service is terrible! Surly and indifferent teens lurking sullenly behind the deli counter has been my experience. It's great in so many ways, just not in customer service IMO.

                  -----
                  Fiesta Farms
                  200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

            2. Breadcrumbs, I sympathize with you! I went one time with a list of 5 or 6 items and found only 2 and I ended up abandoning my cart. I figured that since I am forced to go somewhere else for the rest of my list anyway, why bother going through the checkout twice. And this list was very basic items also (pita bread, ginger). Annoying!

              All this having been said though, it is the only place I have been able to find creme fraiche.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chocolatemama

                Fiesta Farms for Creme Fraiche (as always with butter, dairy etc).
                But just realized you may not be referring to the Dupont Loblaws in your post.

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                Fiesta Farms
                200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

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