A few months back, Loblaw introduced a new program called PC Plus in Ontario.
It is basically a loyalty program, the same as Air Miles, except all you can do is buy groceries with your points. But who doesn't like to get a free turkey now and again?
And, on paper at least it is pretty sophisticated.
Every week, you get an email giving you special offers based on your love of, say spinach or green onions. Buy these groceries and you get massive numbers of points, not one or two like Air Miles.
Each 20,000 points nets the consumer 20 bucks worth of product and the purchase of a number of products can bring in more than 1,000 points. One weekend, Loblaws offered 2,000 points for the purchase of 80 bucks worth of groceries. That's 20 bucks worth of swag on an 80 buck order!
Unfortunately, the program has a few glitches.
For one, good luck finding the products.
Two weeks ago, there was an offer of 1,200 points for the purchase of Cascade bathroom tissue. So Scott and I combed the local Loblaw store. We couldn't find one package. The manager told us that Loblaw hadn't carried that product in years.
The second problem is that special offers don't necessarily "load" to your card, meaning that you get to the cash and the points don't end up on your card.
And third, you have to be very careful about the product you buy. I was in last week to purchase shredded cheese and dutifully bought the store brand. No points, huh.
So I contacted Loblaw's customer service. A nice lady wrote me back to say that I had mistakenly bought President's Choice cheese instead of No Name.
That seems very confusing to me.
On the subject of Cascade bathroom tissue, the lady informed me that not every Loblaw carries that brand, so if you can't find it in your local Loblaw store you have to go to a superstore.
This is weird given the fact that the company can track your purchases but can't tell what store you shop in.
I say this is misleading. What if all I wanted was bathroom tissue?
Do I have to contact head office every time there's a mistake or do I let it slide?
The good news is that if you contact Loblaw, or go into the store, you will get your points, but it seems like a lot of trouble to go to for a couple of bucks.
Still, in these serious economic times, it's good to know that Loblaw is still dedicated to buying your loyalty.
Those of us who live on small wages need all the help we can get.