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Oct 19, 2013 01:19 PM

Why I won't go to What-A -Bagel, 3515 Bathurst St.

I was sent to What - A- Bagel, 3515 Bathurst St (a franchise) for a double rye bread. I was told that it was $3.50 and to watch the change. There had been short changing problems before.
I gave the cashier a $5 note and got back 50 cents instead of $1.50.
I contacted head office and spoke with the son of the owner of the franchisor and told him the story.
The wife- owner of the store called me subsequently. I told her the story. She said that she goes "unconscious" from time to time in the store and makes a mistake making change 4 or 5 times a day.
Further communications with the franchisor head office.
The husband owner of the store called me. He said that he has never heard of a complaint of short changing in the 20 years that he has owned the business. He was aggressive and hung up abruptly; the wife was at least polite.
Further communications with head office.
The husband owner called, all friendly. He asked me to come in to identify the clerk who had made change. This is a peculiar request because I had described her in the earlier conversation and there couldn't be many like her. She was obviously in charge, and in charge of the cash. She was short and overweight. And her hair was dyed (a fashionable gloomy) red.
Anyway I went in, didn't see red hair in the store but did see a woman in charge who had the same size, shape and hair style. I also saw a clerk argue with a customer about money. The customer was truly a little old lady. She was small and bent over and with her walker. She looked in her late eighties.
She wanted to buy a bag of bagels; I think were yesterday's bagels.
Basically. Her argument with the clerk was that she had told her that it was $1, the clerk had taken the dollar, and now the clerk (who had come back from the counter on which was the cash register the customer who was at the bagels across at the opposite wall of the store) said that it was $2. The customer submitted, paid and left.
I went out after her. I asked her what had happened. She told me the story. She had no indication of mental impairment notwithstanding her age. She seemed entirely competent and certainly was sensible. She ended by saying , "I paid because what can you do? I won't go back."
What I had seen in the store corroborated her story. I had seen the clerk come from behind the counter to go to the opposite wall where the racks and the customer were and immediately start the argument about the extra dollar, which I overheard .
More communication with head office. I was told that the business (the store ) wasn't his (it's a franchise). He had never heard of a complaint of short changing, why I am doing this (emailing etc.). He cut me off in mid story, politely told me to fuck off and hung up.

No more.

Incidentally, the rye bread that I had bought was no good. It tasted like mix. It was small, more like a big sub bun than a double rye. The bad baking could not be attributed to rainy weather. It been a nice day for baking, and for me until I got the bread.

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  1. That What a Bagel location sucks! Bought there ONCE, received poor service and very poor quality product. When I came back to complain, I was told it was my problem. Actually it became theirs as I tell whoever I can to never buy from this location.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pizza Lover

      Living pretty close by, I end up going to this Whata frequently, usually with a kid or two in tow. It's 50-50 whether they get a free cookie or something, unlike Isaac's which is always friendlier that way. I have never noticed a short changing problem, but I'll pay more attention now! I must say, however, that there's an almost comically cranky woman in charge of the falafel/schwarma zone many days - don't you dare try asking for the "wrong" toppings! Nonetheless, I'd rather deal with her than deal with the lineup at Tov Li across the road for a falafel...

    2. I don't understand why you didn't immediately point out to the cashier, at the point of sale, that you'd been short-changed a dollar.

      Aside from that, I'm always wary of a franchise head office that dismisses complaints about a specific franchise operation by insisting that, because it's a franchise, head office has no control over how the various franchises are run. Nonsense. When you franchise your name, you bear responsibility for how the franchises are operated.

      Mind, in that part of town, that $3.50 price for a double rye you mention is more likely the price of a SINGLE rye. Which is often substantially smaller than a double rye. About the size, as you point out, of a big sub.

      8 Replies
      1. re: juno

        I hesitated for a moment when I got the change because I forgot. The clerk walked away. I opened my hand and saw I was short changed. So I called back the clerk, pointed out the shortage and she gave me back a dollar. In silence.

        Bakeries aren't famous for posting prices with their product, but no baking at WAB was priced.

        A double rye in the area ranges from $5.25 at Isaac's (kosher) to $4 at Richmonds (kosher). Bagel World is $5. All these breads are much bigger. BW and WAB are not kosher. Kosher must cost more because of the extra costs associated with keeping kosher. Not in making of the bread, but in the cost of supervision and all the days that the bakery is obliged to stay closed.

        Haymishe was not cheap but it was worth it. I don't mind paying a premium for bread. The bread needs to be treated with the same respect as the filling in a sandwich and the wine or orange juice that you drink with it.

        Haymishe had rye bread like the old days, which made it the best rye probably in Canada. WAB is the worst that I ever have had. Also the smallest.

        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

          Next time you're in the neighbourhood, try Bagel Plus, at Bathurst and Sheppard. All prices, you'll be happy to learn, are clearly listed on a blackboard. Not kosher. A single rye or pumpernickel is $3.35, and it's mighty tasty. Can't recall the double price - I've never ordered it - but I suppose it's around $5. Bagel Plus also does a pretty good cheese and onion chala (weekends only), and the bagels and onions rolls are also good. As you doubtless know, best to go early (most of the bakeries open at about 6 a.m., 7 a.m. on weekends) for the freshly baked goods.

          Oh yeah, and I've never had a problem getting the correct change at Bagel Plus.

          If you did indeed get the correct change, eventually, from the cashier at the point of sale, I'm puzzled as to why you bothered to call What-a-Bagel's head office to complain.

          1. re: juno

            There's also Kiva's. A location just opened up @ Yonge and Eglinton. IIRC, it's right by Jedd's Frozen Custard.

              1. re: kwass

                I'm not sure why, but every time I go to Kiva's at the new Yonge location, the bagels are hard as a rock. I don't know if they toughen up during the travel southbound, but they just aren't the same.

                I can't wait for Haymishes to open......if they do?

                1. re: franpelyk

                  I've only had the bagels from the original Kiva's, but they've always been my favourite bagels in the city.

              2. re: juno

                I am as conceited about my knowledge of breads as the stereotypical wine snob. And as generous with my knowledge and as obnoxious.
                My great mistake in life was in not pursuing amorously the daughter of one of Toronto's leading bakers. We would have rolled in dough. But in those days I was interested in just a slice, not the whole loaf. (Well, not really in the particular case.)

                The reason that I called What -A- Bagel's head office to complain about the short changing was that this wasn't the first time that we had a short-changing problem. I figured that head office would want to know.

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  I've never minded the bagels but like you, never been a big fan of their breads. Good tuna salad though! Have you been to that other bakery further south, Grodzinskis, or something like that? Looks nice and clean.

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