Others and yours truly have posted before on the incredibly aggravating situation at Loblaws when common - not exotic - products cannot be counted on to be on the shelves. But you won't believe the excuse a store manager gave me today !
I was shopping today to make a shepherd's pie dinner (sorry so pedestrian but the guys like their meat and taters !) for 24 guys at a downtown fraternity house. To contain the delicacy I needed to buy some "lasagne pans" in foil - about the most basic item you can think of. NOT ONE was in the empty shelves at Loblaw's St Clair Market, a flagship store - the clerk unhelpfully pointed me to a stack of "tops" which of course were no use at all, and said something about "computer ordering.". BTW there was only one cake-sized pan and otherwise - nix, naught, nothing !!
As luck would have it (mine, nor his) I ran into the store manager, newly appointed, on the job he said for just a few weeks. I told him that not being able to count on buying something as basic as foil pans was illustrative of Loblaw's much-discussed supply chain problems and frustrating as heck. He allowed that there were many problems, but - incredibly - he said to me that he had been on the job so little a time "just when the ramp up to September shopping happens" which he said was contributing to the problems. I observed, somewhat incredulously, that this is hardly a new phenomenon, and surely his colleagues both at HQ and the store were well acquainted with such a predictable seasonal shift of pattern. This did not evoke much response. Nice guy - seemed way way out of his depth.
Nor was I able to find fresh tarragon. "Oh," said the clerk in the vegetable section, "we're moving to Loblaw's herbs so that must be the reason." Sure enough, the former herb supplier is now supplanted by herbs packaged with a Loblaw or PC logo - but it is not a "reason." I asked whether in fact tarragon had been dropped from the inventory of fresh herbs. I may as well have asked for a piece of moon rock.
Frustrated, I dropped down to Loblaw's Dupont and Bathurst where indeed a splendid display of foil pans existed. But again, no tarragon. The clerk in that store's vegetable section solemnly looked over the herbs I had just searched and turned to say to me "There is no tarragon." That didn't get us far ! "Why ?" I asked. "Is it related to Loblaw's taking over the herb supply ?" (That store also had the new in-house packaging of such herbs as it offered.) The reply ? "Perhaps it is to do with ordering."
No fresh tarragon - hmm, Sobey's always has it. No foil pans at a big store. Hmm, Sobey's always seems to have some. Not a big deal - but another nail in the coffin of the once-dominant supermarket chain. It is to Sobey's for this guy in future,and stupid me for not having gone there today !