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Loblaws Bathurst/St Clair: cashiers' hours cut? long lines. Mgr: "I don't have to respond to you"

Well, the long, slow slide continues.

Monday, around noon, apart from the usual pile of (well-mannered) St Mike's boys come for their noontime sandwich, there seemed to be a light crowd of shoppers. Because only a handful of check-outs open, and folk seemed to be buying largish amounts, it took me a total of 13 mins - 9 or 10 of them standing in line - and then being processed by a charming but under-trained/inexperienced cashier.

I asked her - while she was waiting for the person 2 ahead of me to punch in her debit number - if she could call the manager to see if some more cashiers could be called on - "we have no way of doing so" she replied. Didn't use to be that way. She said "our hours have been cut," at which I commiserated with her. I then called 411, got the store number, was transferred to the "service desk" and told the same thing - and in turn to an assistant manager, who said the same thing as well, in a cordial way - and made clear it was not he who had cut the hours. NB: not a pro-active gentleman, as I told him what post I was at and he never appeared to do a little PR with me and the surrounding customers - or even, God forbid! - get behind a cash register his very self.

Finally on the way out of the store I navigated through numbers and at ext 301 got "the" manager, who was either having a very bad day or is simply someone who should never be allowed to deal with the public. I told him that three of his colleagues had reported cashiers' hours had been cut - and was this the reason that I and others were languishing in line? He said "absolutely not." I observed that it was strange that three employees of three different levels of the hierarchy had all said the same thing. Surely they didn't ALL have an axe to grind? "They don't know," he observed. "I'm the big guy, you should talk to me." I said, well what's the problem then? - he replied, "I don't have to respond to you, I'm not responsible to you." I agreed - "I am only a customer" and hung up.

Poor employees, poor Loblaws - but poor me too! My US bank in a big and impersonal city gives $5 to anyone who stands in the teller line more than 5 mins. I imagine the local manager has to account to someone in management if he gives out too many $5 bills! Anyway, in all my time there I think I have only ONCE got my $5! I continue to go to Loblaws because it is sometimes convenient and some of their PC items are good. I nearly always leave feeling irritated.

Happy New Year!

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    1. re: prima

      Wow, there's an awful lot of apologies being tweeted huh?

      Are they ever going to get things right? I used to love Loblaw's back in the day. Now, pffft.

      1. re: millygirl

        I find the quality of the service and the goods vary from location to location. I've never had any problems at the Yonge St & Yonge Blvd location, and I've never any issues at the Masonville Loblaws in London. The only issues I've had at Loblaws in TO have been stale nuts at the Bayview Village location (the week of their grand-reopening as a 2 storey store), and relatively expensive skim milk at the Yonge & Yonge location, which hasn't been an issue lately. I thought the Empress Walk location looked a little run-down, last time I was there.
        One family I know, that has lived in the Bathurst and St. Clair area for years, rarely shops at the Bathurst & St Clair or the Dupont & Christie Loblaws locations. As far as I know, they buy most of their produce from some independent produce shops, and buy most of their meat at the Billy Bishop Costco.

      2. re: prima

        Wow, 50% apologies? (Rough estimate.) Scary!

      3. Ahh the wonderful world of Toronto-brand service. Where people are too good to actually serve.


        1 Reply
        1. re: magic

          The work culture is created by the people at the top. If they don't care, the staff won't either.

        2. We live in the area and I try to avoid Loblaws, in fact I go 1/2 hour out of my way to Fiesta Farms for a much better shopping experience. Regardless sometimes you need something small and we ended up at Loblaws late some night last week. It looked like a bomb went off. The shelves were noticeably empty and the line ups for the few cashiers were 10-15 people deep. We've all seen this happen before with department stores where instead of hiring people to serve customers, they cut staff and you couldn't find anyone.

          1. That is truly awful!
            After the whole YoPRO incident, and all that other crap products they put out via foodnetwok - sorry Loblaws, I will bike that extra mile to Fiesta Farms in the cold for my grocery needs.

            3 Replies
            1. re: happycamper

              Thanks for the link, Prima - I am not very technical nor on Twitter - when I hit the link I saw a bunch of messages but not ones related to my complaint - am I missing something, or were you simply illustrating other folks' comments via a different part of the social media?

              1. re: Bigtigger

                No problem. You're not missing anything. As of the time that I typed out this reply, no tweets from Loblaws related to your complaint. I wasn't sure whether you might have let Loblaws know about this via Twitter.

                If you or another Chowhound wants to bring your story to the attention of Loblaws, I'm sure another Chowhound who does tweet would be happy to send a tweet to Loblaws, linking to this thread.

                Another option, is for you to contact Loblaws through their Customer Service Dept http://www.loblaws.ca/LCLOnline/conta...
                There's a form you can fill out, if you don't want to call.

                I discovered some frozen filo I purchased from another grocery store (not a Loblaws store) was moldy. After I let the store know, through their website's customer service form, they sent me a gift certificate for a little more than the value of the frozen filo,

                1. re: prima

                  I once used the online form to complain to Loblaws about an incident that had occurred at the East Mall store. My issue was with the way the cashier and manager(asst mgr?) handled a pricing error for an item that was $3.50, and they offered me a $5 gift card. It's worth a shot.

            2. Yeah, this happens more often than not.

              What I DO is ask the manager, with my full basket or cart, if he is going to open another cashier line. If he said "yes", I wait, if he said "no", I just leave my basket / cart right there and say "Thank you have a nice day."

              We reward or penalize with our pocket books. Instead of feed back forms, online surveys, I like the direct approach.

              1 Reply
              1. re: stv

                A friend lives near the No Frills at Oakwood, and he's done that very thing: standing in a long line with only two cashiers open, and one *closes her till*. He put his basket down, and walked out of the store.

                Now, he's not a very confrontational sort, so he would not have made the direct appeal to the manager (I'd have done what you did) but hopefully, the abandoned basket gets the message across.

                And I don't really fault the cashier for closing when her time comes- sometimes she's in overtime and not being paid, sometimes a girl's really gotta go to the can. But I DO fault the management for not providing enough cashiers. I have a few problems with my local ValuMart, but lack of cashiers is fortunately not one of them.

              2. I always wait at this one, even in the express lines. So irritating. A world of difference from the carlton location

                1. wow, nothing more insulting (to your MONEY as a guest-customer of the for-profit business not to mention YOUR TIME and enquiry) - while i am a part-time fan of Pres Choice products - and i do buy them - does Mr Galen Weston of those somewhat stupid PC adverts on TV / Internet know of this. The way you describe how you felt treated hardly fits in with that recent "happy happy" advert that played over and over about some sort of street party in some place in Newfoundland and put cheesecake lollipop things in their pockets?! What?! I know many of us are up for a party but really?

                  in all, i notice in all my travels in USA and Cda ... and shopping in various supermarkets (Safeway, Luongos in TO, Grocery Outlet (which i highly recommend if you're in the USA) IGA, Super Valu, the infamous Trader Joes, Ralphs (which is Safeway in So Cal), Albertsons, SuperStore, Urban Fare/Save On etc) -- the morale and service level seems to be up to the site manager and then the duty manager ... i am a repeat customer at many of these shops and i notice (i used to work in consumer marketing)

                  i wish you had an alternative and i hope that Mr Weston is alerted to this.

                  I for one, looked for those products he was promoting this past season and was told by my local Pres Choice store out west here that their order was stuck in Saskatchewan - what? And then they discontinue w/o notice and so forth. I am not a Loblaws guinea pig - i am their customer, i pay money that i work hard for.

                  I would be willing to read a reply from a rep from Loblaws here on this site. thank you.

                  1 Reply
                  1. With Target coming in soon, and other competition nipping at the heels, it might be time to short Loblaws stock soon.

                    They've had issues for years. Supply chain. Customer service. Super tight margins.

                    I actually like the RCSS, Zehrs' stores as well as PC products. But Loblaws stores always seems to have some issues.

                    A couple of stock downgrades and market underperforms from these analyst folks and it's only a matter of time till they wake up.

                    1. I was in NO FRILLS (a Loblaws subset) and noticed a box of frozen croissants at $8.99 and thought I would get the bargain. Luckily I checked my receipt and the croissants went thru as $18.99. I went o customer service to invoke my five dollar freebie for miss labelling on the shelf vs the cash register. Customer service lady went to the freezer and came back saying there was no mistake, a white sticker from a previous listing was covering the 1. I asked for a refund and also asked who would be removing the sticker obliterating the 1. She said no one would remove th esticker as they didn't have any authority. I suggested this was corporate fraud and asked for the manager. "Laurence" who is NOT the manager, just a shelf stocker, came over and made sure I had my refund but refused to do anything ekse. Standard Weston operating procedure I guess.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Danybear

                        Does anyone here ever shop at the Loblaws at Bayview and Moore? I've a had few opportunties to browse the aisles and pick up a couple of things there the last couple of weeks, usually around early to mid-morning. I don't know it manages to stay in business. There was barely a soul in the place each time I was there. A lot of nice stuff, all very super tidy and clean, but no customers. I felt bad because they seem to making a solid effort to create a pleasant shopping experience.

                        1. re: Brain of J

                          Since the Longo's opened, traffic has deteriorated. Saturday mornings used to be quite busy, over the last months, you can pretty much shoot a cannon in the place. The store always seems to be out of stock in merchandise we like.

                          It likely stays in business because the land/building is owned/paid off and fixtures/building fully depreciated - not like it has had a reno recently. My own cynical view of the world is that it will be a condo building in the next years (not sure if zoning allows)

                          (In fairness, the Longo's has taken traffic from the Metro at Yonge & Eg as well, and I think that is the most productive store in Metro;s entire network)

                          1. re: CocoaChanel

                            I was in the Bayview-Moore Loblaws recently and was ultra-annoyed to find much of the produce packed away at least 45 minutes before closing.

                            The store whose future I wonder about in that area is the Sobeys north of Longo's along Laird. Often dead when I've gone in there, and recently notice their hours have shortened.

                            1. re: jamie

                              I also wonder about the Loblaw's on the west side of Laird, north of Overlea.

                              1. re: pakmode

                                That one was always empty, even pre-Longo's. I have no idea why it is still open. Maybe for the Joe Fresh?

                        2. re: Danybear

                          Thats annoying, but I put up with it if it happens. Usually its like that at No Frills. The Loblaws at Queen West and Bathurst is great...they always have way too many cashiers. I mean I'll go to the checkout and there are four empty cashiers. A bit overkill, but they are always staffed to the max.

                          I've found the loblaws at North York Center also always has a lot of cashiers, but not as many as the Queen W store.

                          1. re: szw

                            Was going to write this also - the Queen and Bathurst store is always rammed with cashiers, it's awesome to see. It never had any basil or sriracha though. And almost everything there is premium priced due to the area. I love the shopping experience though.

                          2. re: Danybear

                            I completely understand your annoyance in this situation, but, for future reference you would have gotten back $10 with SCOP... I am surprised that the cashier was so strick, but, according to the SCOP rules, if the label was tampered with (obviously, you didn't do it) then the rules don't apply:
                            1.5 The Item Free Scanner Policy does not apply if the barcode or shelf label for a given product has been tampered with."


                          3. They appear to listen to direct contact to their Customer Service email address...
                            This is basically what we wrote to them recently and their response below:

                            Had a poor experience at the Loblaws on Redway.
                            On January 19th ,at this location I reported to the Customer Service desk that there were expired cheese packages on the shelf,I took several of them directly to the Customer Service desk. In fact, then the packages were mostly expired Dec 2012, but there was one that was actually dated November 2011. So not only was it expired, but it was allowed to remain on the shelf for over a year. Yes, this is not a typo it was November 2011!.Had I not have been in a hurry that day I would have taken a photo such as I did tonight as I figured no one would believe that there was something expired that long ago, still on the shelf .

                            The young clerk at the counter took them from me at that time, also stating that she was disgusted , apologized and said she would have someone check the shelf .

                            Feb 17th, I come back to find out there are still expired packages on the shelf. This time, I left them still in the cooler. Do I even know that the ones from the last time were not just placed back on the shelf rather than being disposed of? Obviously taking them to the Customer Service desk the last time wasted my time so what would be the point of doing so again this time.?

                            A letter was sent to Loblaws and a reply received:
                            Dear XXXX,

                            Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

                            First and foremost, please accept our apologies for any inconvenience and undue concern we have caused you. We are committed to providing the greatest assortment of fresh, quality products to customers who shop in our stores, and it was disappointing to hear that you are not finding this to be the case.

                            Any issue involving the quality and safety of our food products is something we take very seriously. What you describe in your letter should not be happening, as all perishable items are subject to very strict and frequent inspection protocols. Accordingly, this has been addressed with the store manager, Carmen Palumbo so that they can take any necessary actions to correct the situation.

                            XXXXX, thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We are committed to getting better every day and your feedback is one of the best ways for us to do that. We sincerely hope you will continue to give us the privilege of serving you as one of our valued customers.


                            Maha Halaby