Loblaws and dodgy paperwork

27 06 2015

A week or so ago, a Canadian supermarket chain – Loblaws – was in the news and being demonised by the media machine.

The gist of the story was that one of their Surrey supermarkets was being re-branded to one of their other lower-end shops. As a result the existing staff were offered a one-time deal to compensate them for the on-going lower package the cheaper brand would pay. The news story was around the fact that Loblaws had over-paid ~20 workers and was now asking them to repay the additional money.

Many of the affected people had already spent/invested the additional money… several thousand dollars on average.

Now, I regularly get my news from the CBC because, like their UK model the BBC, they tend to be more objective and use less hyperbole. That said, and despite the story running for a few days, it was never actually made plain whether the original offer was more than it should have been (in which case those affected would obviously make their decision as to whether to accept or not based on an inflated number) or whether the offer was correct but Loblaws had actually overpaid the stated amount (in which case one has to ask whether the recipients were actually immoral in spending/investing it without checking whether it was an error). Now the dust has settled, it seems the latter is the case, and these people, having agreed to some payment actually received more, spent it, and are now complaining that the company is asking for it back.

Am I missing something? Sure the company might have been a tad heavy-handed in asking for immediate repayment. But, I’m sorry, these employees knowingly cashed cheques for more money than they were expecting… and neglected to question whether, perhaps, possibly, some mistake had been made, and potentially this additional dosh wasn’t actually theirs to have. We’re not talking a rounding error here. I too might not blink if I received a dollar or two more than I’d been led to expect, but we’re talking THOUSANDS of dollars here! This feels more like wilful neglect bordering on knowing theft. Loblaws took the higher ground and backed right off. Hurray for media-led justice. Not.

OK, so enough in defence of Loblaws. One of their local brands is Canadian Superstore. We recently bought a packet of bread-buns. They are magical. They have an infinite best-before date! Miracle food indeed. It could solve world hunger.

Best before... WTF?!

Best before… WTF?!

If – as is more than likely – you’re not as anal and detail-oriented as QE, you may need a hint. Go look at the June page of your calendar. See any date missing? Aha, there you go.

Of course, it might be good until 15th June 2031 which, though not infinitely far away is still pretty good! (Canadian date formats are inconsistent at best due to British DDMMYY history, but US MMDDYY proximity. Japanese YYMMDD is not uncommon, as here, to try and avoid the issue altogether).

So – what have we learnt?

I reckon we’ve learnt that Loblaws are paying rock-bottom wages and as such employ people with only a tenuous grasp on the way time works and what morals are.

 

 

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