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Deep ‘Enjoy Tonight’ Food Discounts Getting Shallower

Canada’s largest supermarket chain is hammering consumers again. This time, Loblaw’s is cutting back its ‘same day’ discounts by 20 percent. Pricing even deep discount items out of reach for many low-income shoppers…

Galen Weston Witness - © 2023 Spencer Colby - CPLoblaw’s head honcho Galen Weston: Not happy to be testifying at
a parliamentary food price commission of inquiry last year…

What’s going on?

I’ve been giving the occasional deep discounts offered by Loblaw’s – and other chains – as much exposure as I can. You can tell them from a mile away. They’re placed up front in the meat and produce racks where you can’t miss them. And they are distinguished clearly from regular items by big bright-orange stickers reading: “Enjoy Tonight – 50 % Off!”

But Loblaws, for one, is cutting back on these money-saving cuts. Now the maximum discount will be 30 percent off. Even as the items reach their Best Before dates.

The cutback will also take effect at other Loblaw’s-owned regional chains, such as Valu-Mart, No Frills and Zehrs.

What folks are saying

Consumers are making their bitter disappointment known in the social media:

“Price gouging and greed not enough?”

“Day old bread / pizza / etc. now 30% off down from 50% off. Shameful. Galen Weston your greed is boundless!”

“Canada can always count on Galen Weston being the poster child of Greed. Thank-you for letting us down again.”

“WTF is actually wrong with Loblaws? Do you not realize people can barely afford to eat as it is? Do you not feel guilty at all? You’re just farming peoples money, and you’re a multi billion dollar company!”

“At a time when people are struggling more than they have in the past 50 years, Galen Weston & his cronies have eliminated the 50% [off] stickers that SO MANY people depend on & replaced them with 30% off stickers… Cause Loblaw’s profits aren’t high enough.”

An observation…

For the first time since food prices began to soar, and supermarket chains started to take serious flak from consumers, Galen Weston, the top dog at Maple Leaf Foods, owner of Loblaw’s, is taking blistering personal heat.

A Loblaw’s spokeperson (not Weston, who is apparently lying low at the moment) told Yahoo! Business: “We’ve always offered a range on these types of items from 30 to 50 per cent, and are now moving toward a more predictable and consistent offering, including more consistency with our competitors”

So… Loblaw’s is justifying reducing the clearance discount from 50 to 30 percent because its competitors are doing it? And what in the name of gobbledygook does ‘a more predictable and consistent offering’ mean?

My take

Loblaw’s move – like the online payment processing fee on consumers walked back by Toast Inc. last week – isn’t being received without significant push-back by consumers.

I really think the 1 percent at the top of the economic pyramid have lost touch completely with the masses beneath them. Did ‘Weston and his cronies’ really think desperate consumers would just accept a hurtful cut in clearance discounts? Weston and Co. can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to have to budget. Or shop the specials. Much less go hungry so their kids can eat. Or choose between food and the electric bill.

Time for Weston and the other supermarket Big Dogs to bite the bullet. It’s time for the rich to start sharing with the poor. So we can all survive the climate crisis, the food price crisis, the sustainability crisis, and the coming mega-shift to an Asian-inspired model for eating, relying plant-based foods almost exclusively.

Ask yourself, Mr. Weston: Do you want to be remembered as a saint or a satan?

~ Maggie J.