The first stop on my weekly shopping trips has been the Real Canadian Wholesale Club where I could quickly load a cart with weekly staples – dogfood, cleaning supplies, produce, baking ingredients, and other sundries. By arriving early when few shoppers shared the aisles I was soon on my way into town for 10 a.m. appointments.
Lately, though, since Loblaw’s head office in Brampton decreed shifting things around on the shelves until neither customers nor staff know where many items are to be found, shopping at this store has taken lots longer.
A quick example – yeast has moved from eye level near the front of row 16 to well above my vision on the opposite side at the back.
Short staffing has consistently been a shopping drawback at this store. With so much recent rearranging I find myself invading personnel-only areas for directions to where I’ll find something, or asking someone stocking vitamins or cosmetics for the price of blueberries because she’s the only staffer in sight.
So drastic has been the shelf shuffle it’s become common for a procession of willing customers and staffers to help us look for an item we’ve bought each week but now cannot locate.
For instance, November 24 an older Kitimat couple leaned on their cart, resting, as two staffers and a customer took over their hunt for dried cranberries.
While the search went on, the couple told me of No Frills opening a new store in Kitimat; still they preferred to patronize Canadian Wholesale but the inconvenience of finding things had them reconsidering.
The searchers concluded the store had no dried cranberries.
Some bulk sizes have been replaced by smaller containers. Crisco sold in 3 lb. cans for $7.59, now is available only in one pound bricks priced at $4.29. Or $12.87 for three pounds. Lemon dishwashing liquid sold before as 5 L for $7.28 is now packaged in 950mL bottles at $1.97, an equivalent $9.85 for slightly less cleaner.
Some favourite products have been discontinued – such as the two-inch wide white rawhide strips my dogs enjoyed – while new products appear. Loblaw’s willy nilly cancellation of tried and true products annoys me.
I’ve concluded the store’s head office disregards both the manager’s supply orders and his on-site judgement of the products his customers want.
Wouldn’t the manager be a better judge of what his customers want and what his store can sell?
Produce aisles were clogged December 9 with palettes piled waist high with goods marked “50% off for quick sale”: clamshells of salad; cupcakes and other baked goods many bearing best before dates three days hence. The overstock, I was told, was due to a truckload sale. The result was neither staff nor customers could easily get by.
The following week many salad shelves were bare.
An inability to find things quickly where we expect them so we can plan an efficient circular route through the store is disconcerting and time wasting for both staff and customers.
We are forever bothering staff to point out where items are, to tell us what the price might be (short staffing leads to many prices not being marked, and prices out of date which in turn leads to overcharging at the checkout.)
Always check your cashier printout for overcharges before leaving the store. You may be glad you did.
Until I learn where my usual supplies are displayed I may have to bypass this store if I have an early appointment. Unless I get up an hour earlier I won’t have time to fit in the stop.
Claudette assembles her shopping list in her Thornhill, B.C. home.