September 07, 2007

How much is a smile worth?

I hate going to the Stuporstore for my groceries. I despise:
  • the stress of finding a parking spot,
  • the fact that I need a loonie to use a cart,
  • the impossibility of finding anyone who can help me when I'm looking for an item,
  • the mile or two that I have to walk just to get milk,
  • the crappy meat selection,
  • the long waits in line,
  • the perpetually unhappy-looking faces on the cashiers,
  • the annoyance of having my items scanned multiple times or at the wrong price and never being able to see the receipt until after the groceries have been paid for, and
  • the frustration of having to wait in another line at the service desk after I've caught an error,
And yet, in spite of the fact that I always leave with a frown, the Stuporstore it is typically the place that I go for my groceries. I haven't figured out why yet. Perhaps it's the fact that the entire store has been designed for impulse purchasing - when you go there, you want to spend money.

I decided to fight that urge today. Instead, I went to the Super-Valu on 2nd Ave. What a difference. The store is small, but I can find everything that I need - and then some. There are employees everywhere and they all smile! They have a butcher who, if you ask, will cut a whole chicken in half for you! While the produce isn't always great (it was superb today), the meat is always exceptional. Prices might seem a little higher, but my bill always seem to be lower when I'm finished at the till. And the tills! They have two cashiers, one of which bags your groceries for you! And the cashier smile, too!

My cashiers today were great. I left Jade with them for a moment while I ran back out to the car to get my grocery boxes and bags (something I always forget to bring in). Jade was very cranky this morning; when I came back, the cashiers were dancing to keep her entertained.

I left with a smile.

Yup, even if it costs a little bit more, this is where I'm going for my groceries from now on.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I loath the Stupid Store as well. It isn't unheard of for them to have no milk, or chicken, or produce or some other staple. Why do the have 20 odd tills when they only staff 2 or 3 of them whilst the managers watch from the bunker above. Get your butts downstairs and serve the customers!

Michael: Another secret is Extra Foods, never a line up and everything you need but you are correct in that SuperValue has better meat.

One thing to note is that SuperStore, SuperValue and ExtraFoods are all owned by the Mothership: Loblaws. We need some real competition in Whse.

Anonymous said...

Super Value is owned by Loblaws? I didn't know that. I always thought what used to be FoodFair was independently owned. Huh.

I like BigWay up here in Copper Ridge a lot. It's a bit more expensive, but is always busy and full of our neighbours so it's a social affair every time we drop in to pick up a few groceries. Great place to shop and a real community flavour.

Anonymous said...

Loblaws: Ownership Class: Publicly-traded subsidiary corporation
Grocery retailing through corporate stores operating under the banners Loblaws, Provigo, Maxi, Dominion (in Newfoundland and Labrador), Cash and Carry, Zehrs Markets, The Real Canadian Superstore, The Real Canadian Wholesale Club, Atlantic Superstore, and Extra Foods. Grocery retailing through franchised and affiliated stores operating under the banners Provigo, No Frills, SuperValue, Valu-mart, Fortinos, Lucky Dollar Foods, Atlantic SaveEasy, Extra Foods, Shop Easy Foods, and Your Independent Grocer. Food distribution to corporate, franchised and associated stores and to approximately 8,000 independent accounts.

But there is always the competion: Super A/Bigway Foods --- hang on a second... where did the small independants go?

Wandering Spirit Kennels said...

I've gone back to shopping at SuperValu for all the reasons you listed! It's just so much more pleasant. The slightly higher price is worth the lack of aggravation!

Meandering Michael said...

Super A/Bigway is tied in with the Grocery People, which is no small entity either (though not quite the behemoth that is Loblaws).

Is the SuperValue a franchise? I don't know - the next time I'm there, I'll ask!

Anonymous said...

SuperValu was an independant franchise owned by the Palamars but was swallowed up by Loblaws.

Check out the weekly flyers for all these stores, The the have the exact sames 'sales' including the same stock photography. Pretty sad.

I'm in CopperRidge also so I do tend to by some stuff at BigWay and their deli is quite good but their prices are a tad high......if only they had offsales, I'd never go downtown.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that while Loblaws owns and supplies stores with the Super Valu and Extra Foods names, they're independently owned and operated, i.e. franchises, while Superstores are corporately owned by Loblaws.

I live in a town where a Super Valu exists in the shadow of a Superstore, and I'm determined to keep shopping at the Super Valu until Galen Weston drives it out of business through cannibalization, like many other SVs.

Unknown said...

I see that you've lost your independently owned and operated Super Valu now, yet its corporately owned cousin Extra Foods outlet that Loblaws was supposed to close soldiers on.

I don't understand corporate mentality sometimes. You'd think a franchise would be cheaper for Loblaws to maintain, particularly in a market like Whitehorse. Unless it's worried about a Wal-Mart Supercentre taking over the Yukon and it's taking a defensive position.

Meandering Michael said...

Word on the street was that Stuporstore bought the Super-Value a while back. They also own the Extra Foods (so I hear). It was only a matter of time, unfortunately...

Unknown said...

Just found the Yukon News article on the closure and it raises more questions than answers. If we're to believe the article, it seems that Palamar's relationship with Loblaws wasn't all that rosey. I wouldn't mind some elaboration on his comment that they weren't "flying the flag". The fixtures in the produce section look like the same fixtures I've seen in other Super Valus, so it looks like there was a connection at some point.

Do you recall if your Super Valu used the same sort of price labels on their shelves (the long yellow strips) as Extra Foods and Stuporsnore? I know the one in Campbell River did except for products that they sourced independently. That could be a clue to the actual nature of the relationship they had with Loblaws as a supplier.

Having said all that, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some sort of buyout by Loblaws. It seems to be a similar pattern as what I noted in Vernon, BC: Loblaws set up shop with Real Canadian Wholesale and Superstore and its two Super Valus were gone within a couple of years, claiming declining revenues. Hmm.

Meandering Michael said...

I DO know that the staff were frequently complaining that the supplier "won't supply us with that anymore" and "We ordered it, but the supplier didn't send it". I'm not talking about orders for obscure stuff, either.