Tag Archives: Loblaws

Posted in Business

Canadian Tire still doesn’t wave the flag in Quebec

Canadian Tire’s Quebec flyer for this week: Mentions Canada Day, but no Canadian flag on sale

I guess we should be used to it: Canadian Tire is still downplaying its Canadianness in Quebec.

I wrote about this a year ago when someone spotted that the chain was running different flyers inside and outside this province, with the ones inside the province being noticeably less patriotic. At the time, the company said it wasn’t hiding its Canadianness in Quebec, even though the bilingual flyer outside the province had “Canada Day” on it and the one inside didn’t.

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Posted in Business, Uncategorized

Minute Maid’s frozen juice ripoff

Old 355ml (right) and new 295ml Five Alive frozen juice can from Minute Maid

If, like me, you went to the grocery store recently and thought that frozen juice can felt a bit odd in your hand, it’s not your imagination. Minute Maid has decided to reduce the size of its frozen juice cans as a cost-saving measure.

The move is, of course, not being announced. There’s no obvious indication on the cans that their size has been reduced (the only real difference is that the logos have been rotated so they’re upright when the can is standing), and at least one major grocery store isn’t selling it for cheaper. On a trip to Loblaws last weekend, I confirmed that both the new and old size of can (the old ones were still in stock) were on sale at $1 each (the two have different bar codes, so it’s not a technological limitation).

And, in case you’re wondering, it hasn’t just been ultra-concentrated like those liquid laundry detergents. They still recommend emptying the can’s contents and three cans worth of water to mix the juice. So now instead of getting 1.42 litres of juice, you get 1.18 litres, a reduction of 17%

When asked about the change, Minute Maid (which is owned by Coca-Cola) said this:

“With the increase in commodities, rather than pass the total cost on to the consumer, the decision was made to adjust the package size to offset some of the increase the consumer would have had to pay if this adjustment wasn’t made.”

I then asked why this change wasn’t made clear to the customer. I didn’t get a response.

Loblaws also didn’t respond to a query about why it didn’t make the change clear to customers and why it was charging the same for both sizes of can.

I can understand commodity prices, inflation and the increased cost of doing business. One could even make the argument that some of these frozen juices could stand to be diluted more, mainly for health reasons (I usually dilute them to a full 2 litres, and even then they’re quite sugary). But households aren’t going to reduce the size of their juice jugs or how much they drink, so this move seems strange to me.

Except when you consider how subtle it is. When you see it in the context of tricking the customer into buying less and expecting more, it all makes perfect sense: It’s a ripoff.

At least a few posts on Minute Maid’s Facebook wall (which is otherwise clogged with posts from people who joined under the apparently false impression that doing so would get them a coupon) agree. None of those posts got a response.

Minute Maid’s brands include Five Alive, Fruitopia and Nestea. Other brands (including No Name, which is still at 341ml) are unaffected … yet.

So if you’re at the store and you’re about to grab a Minute Maid concentrated frozen juice, check the can to see if it’s actually smaller than you think it is. And if you see a 355ml can (especially if it’s still on sale for $1), stock up, because they won’t last.

Posted in Business

Canadian Tire not so Canadian in Quebec

Canadian Tire bilingual flyers for Ontario and Quebec

It’s the latest chapter in Canadian companies playing down their Canadian-ness in Quebec. (Remember when Tim Hortons cups here didn’t have maple leaves on them?)

For this week’s flyer, Canadian Tire produced different versions for Quebec and the rest of the country. This is partly because the flyer is for a week starting June 24, and the flyers in Quebec can’t show Friday specials since stores were closed in Quebec on Friday.

But there’s also that big special on a $10 Canadian flag. It’s not in the Quebec flyer, not even on the back page. And while the bilingual flyer on the left (for Alexandria, Ont.) notes that the specials are for Canada Day, the one on the right doesn’t mention it.

Maybe there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. The Quebec flyer covers both the Fête nationale and the run up to Canada Day, so maybe Canadian Tire didn’t want to be seen favouring one holiday over the other. The inside pages reference both holidays at the top. And you’ll notice the product shots in Quebec have Quebec flags in the background.

Or maybe, like Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire thought it was best to play down Canadian patriotism so it doesn’t piss off the separatists.

Montrealer Ted Duskes, who spotted this, writes:

Talk about pandering. This is the second year in a row that they have pulled a similar “disappearing flag act”.

Are they really “Canadian Tire” or are they planning a name change to go along with the missing “Canadian Tire” that they have removed from their red triangular logo. Maybe the new logo is blue, with a fleur-de-lys, but only for Quebec.

They really know how to annoy a 45 year (formally) loyal customer.

I’ve contacted Canadian Tire to ask for an explanation. Here’s what I got back from Communications Manager Sébastien Bouchard:

Canadian Tire has a long history in Canada, including Quebec, and we are proud to be a true Canadian retailer. Our country spans from sea to sea and, like other retailers, our customer marketing vehicles vary from one region to another. This year, in Québec we decided to use a red background with white maple leafs to create a color theme that clearly reflects the Canada Day long weekend. True to our roots, this year’s flyer was definitely designed to celebrate life in this great country of ours.

In other words, a non-answer.

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Posted in Business, Montreal

Loblaws offers free* green bin

Loblaws green bin

From The Gazette’s Green Life blog: Loblaws is giving away free green shopping bins to people who buy at least $60 worth of groceries (not including alcohol and other non-food stuff) and have this coupon, until April 30.

As a regular user of the green bin, I can attest that it’s the most convenient way of hauling a medium-size load of groceries home (so long as you don’t use the stairs too much). My only quibble is that if you’re spending $60 on groceries, you’re probably not going to be able to fit it all into the bin (or if you do, it’s going to be really heavy).

Posted in Business, Opinion

Loblaws could do better

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ve noticed Loblaw’s's new ad campaign promoting locally-grown fruits as part of a green strategy. I applaud Loblaw for embracing greener policies, but there’s still a way to go.

Take, for example, this bike rack outside the Loblaws at Jean-Talon and Park. Notice anything odd about it? The fact that no bikes are attached to it? The fact that it’s at an odd angle? Well, that’s because there’s nothing anchoring this bike rack to the ground. Seriously. Go there right now and just walk off with it.

Instead, everyone hooks their bikes up to the solid railings nearby. Although that keeps the bikes relatively secure, it also interferes with anyone wanting to use the railings to help them up the stairs.

This has been going on for weeks now, which means Loblaws is either lazy or just doesn’t care.

Underground, meanwhile, is a large parking lot that can hold over 250 cars. It’s free for shoppers up to two hours.

I was surprised to find, at the far end, parking spaces for bicycles. No signage exists anywhere else to point cyclists here, which is probably why it’s empty in the middle of the day (while bikes are locked to railings outside).

For a store so close to Park Extension, Villeray, Rosemont, Mile End and the Plateau, areas where bicycles are perhaps the most popular in Montreal, this store could make even a small effort to make cyclists feel more welcome.