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Jan 8, 2013 11:38 AM

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
                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.