The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

Valid Dissatisfied Customer Concerns At Canadian Grocery Stores : GGC 2018 #5 May 28-June 3

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valid dissatisfied customer concerns at Canadian Grocery Stores

Speak up, Move on or Take it! The choice is yours when it comes to being a dissatisfied customer.


Ultimately the responsibility of a well-run grocery store starts at the top of the chain and trickles down but if policies and procedures aren’t met the customers will let them know. The problem is, not all customers voice their opinions to the right people or at all.

Grocery store employees deal with a variety of difficult customers but then dealing with angry customers over important issues that must be dealt with right away. I find there is a difference between difficult and angry because being difficult means you want something to happen and angry is because something has happened and you want it fixed.


The Dissatisfied Customer


In any case customers often have valid concerns about the places they grocery shop at and I wanted to know from my readers what bothered them the most about our Canadian Grocery Stores. This isn’t a post to bash any particular grocery store rather it is a way to hear what the customers have to say.

Most often customers won’t say a darn thing but they sure as hell think it. Ewe, Yuck, I won’t touch it, disgusting and all for valid reasons but just keep on trucking through the store buying what they want.

As you will read below you may wonder what exactly quality products look like and when is the right time to let someone know that you are a dissatisfied customer. There really is no right or wrong time but there are obvious times as you will learn.

If you see something you don’t like or are concerned about whether you are in the wrong or the store is, let them know. Most often management will listen but if not there are always other avenues you can take to find out if the store needs to step-up and fix their standard practices.

The Scanning Code of Practice also known as SCOP for instance where grocery stores in Canada who participate want to know about incorrect pricing but perhaps don’t offer you the $10 off the item if over $10 or FREE if it’s under is reason to complain.

If you ask your cashier to apply SCOP and they won’t and you have reason to believe you are correct you can ask a manager or read more at the Competition Bureau of Canada.You can then make a formal complaint and they will look into it if it is valid.


Empty Shelves


I have to agree with Colleen on this one especially for huge promotional sales that grocery stores offer. I feel that the grocery store should put limits on items per customer even though they can go in and out and come day after day. In most cases this simple process may deter someone scooping the lot or more than their share.

Also, the grocery store should know how much stock they are getting and to ensure that the customer is always informed. If a truck is late or if there are any other reasons why the shelf is empty make it someone’s job to put a note out for the customer and remind them to get a rain check if available or offer a re-stocking date. Knowing is better than not knowing for your customers.

I don’t care what grocery store it is….any and all of them need to learn how to keep stock on the shelves….hate going into a store for something and it is empty shelves. – Colleen


Store Cleanliness


One of our dissatisfied customer complaints would be is seeing a dirty grocery store including the restrooms. As parents we’ve visited our fair share of bathrooms in our local grocery stores some of which are not monitored like they should be. Perhaps they are monitored but not being cleaned properly during the check-in phase or a boatload of foot traffic used the room with-in the hour messing it up. It’s also important for customers here to respect cleanliness and do their part.

I also keep my eyes open for clean floors, counters, conveyor belt at the cash, bunkers, full-serve counters, bins etc. This is important to me and my family because if employees aren’t doing their job or if management isn’t enforcing the simple stuff who knows what else lurks behind the scenes that we can’t see.


High Prices


The hardest part for customers is comparing prices on products from one store to another only to realize just how much price difference there really is. Price mark-ups happen because each store is different and offers different services to customers which is why there is Zehrs a higher-end store and No Frills which is as the name states, simple.

Where do grocery stores draw the line though?

Prices on the same products from store to store widely vary and for those customers who grocery shop in small towns it’s a struggle to keep food on the table. The only option is to move or drive out of town to find better deals or shops that will price match to fit a grocery budget.

I’m not a fan of the Your Independent Grocer here in town, too darn expensive for my liking!! – Christine

All the stores around here are insanely expensive. I can’t bring myself to shop at Wal-Mart for anything other than the odd canned goods or snack food. Safeway and Superstore are outrageously priced and the quality is beyond poor. Went to get bread today…if I wasn’t buying ” in store made” it is over 4 dollars a loaf! I borrowed my daughters bread maker and I’m spending the weekend making and freezing dough for bread and buns. – Heather


Limited Selection


Selection is important to customers which is why it’s important for grocery stores to make sure they have a wide variety of products available. No one likes to drive from store to store looking for products especially when they are common items. Some stores for example might not sell a certain brand but others will and if price-matching comes into play it’s impossible to do.

I don’t like Wal-Mart. The selection of most everything is very limited and I would never by anything from their meat counter. – Beth Ann

I often find that the inexpensive labelled grocery stores such as Food Basics and No Frills offer a better variety and price on International products than their pricey sisters and brother shops but lack in health and beauty. The one-stop shop grocery store is popular to some customers for this reason but as Beth mentioned even places like Wal-Mart offer limited product selection.

Based on that alone customers need to find the best grocery store that meets their needs and often that’s not an easy thing to do. I find that going to multiple grocery stores is the only way to get what we want and at a reasonable price.


Expired Product


The moment I see something that doesn’t look good it turns me away from a store for good. My mind starts wondering why it’s happening and what processes are in place. Granted, mistakes happen but when you work in the food industry mistakes can come at the cost of a customers health and that’s a big no-no.

Whether it be stale or mouldy product or the produce section is filled with fruits and vegetables that have seen better days customers simply won’t have it. It’s important that any grocery store take pride in what they sell whether the store is high-end or not. Canadians pay good money for the food they eat and expect that employees and store management will do their part to supply the best products available.

Our local Food Basics always has expired products on the shelf and produce is not great. We just limit what we buy there. Nothing against the chain as a whole as we have been to numerous Food Basics that are great. Just not in our city. – Angela


Food Safety or Quality Products


The last thing any customer wants to see is product that should be refrigerated or frozen sitting in bunkers or refrigerators that aren’t working. Who wants to see deli meats or butchered product waiting for refrigeration? No one and you shouldn’t which is why customers expect grocery stores to take the safety and quality of their products seriously.

If you notice something isn’t right let someone know in management right away so they can get the issue resolved. You can also report the grocery store to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for any violations you think need to be investigated.

This includes concerns about the safety of all food products such as:

  • Suspected food poisoning from a food purchased at a retail store
  • Allergic reactions to food where ingredients may not be listed
  • Unusual object such as metal, glass or hair is found in food
  • Food contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites
  • Recalled food products being sold


Unwanted Guests


I’ve seen birds flying around the grocery store hanging out on the ceiling beams which does bother me because they shouldn’t be in there. In any case rats, mice, raccoons, squirrels, cats or any pets (unless service pets), rodents or bugs/spiders that shouldn’t be in a store must be removed immediately.

You can report a food safety complaint or label to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency but their website states that some things must be brought up at store level.

These include;

  • Decayed fruits and vegetables
  • Stale or mouldy food
  • Food being sold after a best before date

However if you have other concerns such as food handling safety, dirty store or rodents running loose than most definitely you can inform the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. I’d also talk to the store manager as well to make sure they are informed of what is going on.


Empty Customer Service Desk


Whether it be a small or large grocery shopping trip if I need to make my way to customer service for any reason the last thing I want to see is an empty service desk. I also don’t care to see that the cashier is running the fast-lane, customer service and lottery at the same time.

I don’t want to wait forever to get served and if you offer customer service then make sure someone is there to serve customers in a timely manner or there is a LOUD bell.


Employee Complaints


Consider for a moment that it’s not the customer complaining but rather another employee who witnesses the above mentioned. If management won’t do anything about it then perhaps letting the right people know is looking out for customer service.

Food safety is big business and I don’t know about you but I sure as heck would want to know if I was a manager but often employees worry more for their job security or ratting out co-workers (no pun intended). Some employers have an anonymous complaint box where employees can write in without worry. This may be a great option for shops that want employee feedback.


My take


In part we are all responsible for cleanliness in grocery stores which is another topic I will be writing on next involving customers. With that in mind you are the customer and if you see something that falls with-in the above guidelines set out by the respective Canadian government agencies or the management team at the grocery store, tell them.

Without knowing something is happening often it will go undetected. If you see the same thing over and over again such as a dirty washroom or shop floors then perhaps a call to head office is a better idea since simple things like this should be spotted right away.

If you are a dissatisfied customer you will continue to be until you see results. Speak up, Move on or Take it! Choice is yours.

Discussion: What other things can you think of that might turn you into a dissatisfied customer?


May Grocery Game Challenge


Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!


Free Money Saving Tools 2018


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2018 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,200,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Zweet -$0
  • Checkout51- $1.50


Our Grocery Shop This Week


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 4 x 4L Bags Sealtest Milk $4.27 (5300 Optimum Plus points earned)

Total Our-of-Pocket $ 17.08 Stockpile


  • Radishes $2.29 bag
  • Romaine Lettuce $1.99
  • Spring Onions $1.29
  • Tomatoes $1.35

Total Our-of-Pocket $6.92

Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $262.16
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $17.08
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $175 Saved
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $116.54
  • Total spent this week: $6.92
  • Total spent so far this month: $275.79
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total left to spend for the month: -$13.63
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $275.79 + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Hey everyone the month of May grocery shopping ends this week with our last shop for May. It looks like we are over again which we expected would happen. Over the years we’ve learned that once you go over a shop it’s not easy to get back on track and it might take a couple of months to get there. That’s fine as long as you have the money you’ve sent over by and that you are tracking those numbers. Another good month. Lots of herbs on the way up at our house and of course rhubarb.

Until next week my friends, enjoy this beautiful weather.



2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money.

Related: Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it below.

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2018?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.


Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s


  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide!  You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!


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