Happy Father’s Day and Welcome to the RANT! Cornwall Ontario – June 20, 2010

Cornwall ON – We’re starting a RANT section to the Burning Yaks category here on The Cornwall Free News.  If there’s something you want to RANT about email us at info@cornwallfreenews.com or call us on our hotline 613.361.1755

There are so many big things in the world to RANT about, but today I’m going to just let it out.   I hate shopping!  I really do.  Maybe it’s a guy thing, but part of what I do is sell advertising to our sponsors.

I just don’t get how some businesses spend money on promoting a service or product and then not having it?????

This weekend I had to cover a press conference and I passed a sign advertising Tomatoes for .99 per pound.   Well I thought, what a lovely day to make some Gazpacho so after working my day I drove all the way back and the sign was still there.

I bagged up some tomatoes; ripe ones as they work best for gazpacho and the cashier says they’re now $1.49 per pound.    I suggest she’s made an error as the sign outside in the morning, and now in the afternoon clearly stated .99 cents per pound and it’s why I came back.

I know.  It’s not the end of the world in the big picture, but as a consumer I have to tell you I really won’t be making any trips back to that store; especially for tomatoes!

In business errors happen.  Mistakes happen, but you always have to take care of your customers.   It’s rule one and sadly many businesses seem to forget that.

Today I went to another shop that was advertising something that just might make a good near summer meal, and I thought I’d surprise my wife.   Well sure enough they had none in stock.   Again, this can happen, but when you put a big sign in front of you store does it really help to not have the item?  Especially without offering a replacement or raincheck?   When you work as many hours as many of us do, do we have time to make a second trip back to a store?

Maybe, just maybe that store should’ve taken the letters off of their big sign until they had more in stock??

What do you think Cornwall and Canada?   Are you happy with your shopping experiences?  Do you know some places that do better than others?   You can post your comments below and to all of you out there a very Happy Father’s Day!


  1. I agree with what you are saying Jamie. I think that there are some businesses that think they are doing us a favour by opening their store and allowing us to buy products they want to sell us, not necessarily what is advertised on the sign. Then there are the price discrepancies. I bought some Vidalia onions that came in a bag. The sign said $2.99 per bag. The cashier scanned them at $3.99 At that point I objected that they were a dollar more than advertised. It took a good five minutes (and I apologize to the people in my line at the cash) for the cashier to straighten it out by verifying the bin, walking around the veggie department looking for other bins. She told me she thought they were perhaps $2.99 per pound…..GOOD LUCK with that one! I finally got my bag of onions for $2.99
    They think we are all liars and not to be trusted. They think we make errors in reading the signs. To me it’s just a rip off and if they can get away with it then they win by default. Don’t keep quiet, demand your rights even if some have to wait in line. I’m sure they’ll understand. Incidentally, we have a number of large grocery stores in Cornwall and soon we should see Wal-Mart opening their grocery department in the new superstore they want to build. Grocers beware! Wal-Mart doesn’t screw around with prices!

  2. Hey Stan, Wal-Mart doesn’t screw around with prices? Seems I can get a better deal on ink-jet cartridges, for example, if I patronize one of the many fine establishments on Pitt Street, between 1st and 3rd Street.
    Oh, OK, I get what you mean about Wal-Mart not screwing around with prices. 🙂
    What really gets me, however, is the price of milk here and in Massena. Up here, I get screwed for $1.69 or more for a can of evaporated milk – at ALDI’s, on the way into Massena, $0.69!
    Homo milk in Wal-Mart here: five dollars and something for 4 litres. In Wal-Mart in Massena, about $2.60 a gallon (3.78 litres); at the ALDI store, about $2.40.
    Eggs here: $2.10 a dozen, give or take. Massena, $1.09.
    One of the problems in Cornwall, and no doubt many other similar sized cities, is that there are only two supermarkets: METRO, which is a Quebec based conglomerate which took over A&P and owns Food Basics, and Loblaws(?), who own Independent and No Frills. There are, of course, some differences between No Frills and Independent (Independent being about 30% more than No Frills for the same products) and Food Basics and Metro (the same). I don’t really think a new Wal-Mart here is going to make that much of a difference, given that our existing Wal-Mart seems to base many of its prices on the local competition. Do you?
    Another sticking point is that at least one of the stores here green-washing itself, saying how much they care for the environment, so I feel it’s a privilege to pay a nickel for a bag, while at the same time they burn about 2 megawatts of mercury vapor lights rather than install fluorescents like some of the other stores.
    Shop Local? Yeah, I’d like to, but like many other Cornwallites, I can only afford to live decently if I pay our neighbors in Massena to stock the supermarket shelves.

  3. What annoys me most about the stores and businesses in Cornwall is walking into a local store and the sales representatives (even the owners) have no knowledge about the products and services they are offering (although they are VERY GOOD at making it look they do). I don’t know how many times I hear a sales rep trying to explain something to a customer and when they are done, I will consult the customer and provide them with the right information. When it comes to buying any type of electronic device (computer, accessories, camera, cell phone, etc.), I gladly drive up to 3 hours out of town to a few shops that really know their product and can answer any kind of question. I don’t understand how these businesses can get away with selling such low quality products at expensive prices and give false information to customers just so they end up buying the crap that has been sitting on their store shelves for the last 10 years.

    I have been screwed by locals often. I will never purchase any electronic devices, computers, ANYTHING in Cornwall again. (I haven’t been for the past few years)

    Glad to get that off my chest. (=

  4. Author

    Ranting I’ve been treated well by at least one electronics store in Cornwall. 🙂

    I think some of the issue in your rant has to do with big box stores destroying local businesses or impacting on how they can do business.

    When margins are cut good people end up losing their jobs. I was looking at pictures of Pitt Street and it used be a major major street with the biggest stores in Cornwall. Now big box has migrated to Brookdale and a few other hot spots.

    If people want good service and advice they have to pay for it one way or the other. It’s one of the reasons I’m behind the “Buy Local, Spend Local” movement.

    Hopefully you’ll find some of the better merchants here in Cornwall, and quite a few of them advertise here on The Cornwall Free News, your local media company 🙂

  5. Admin, I would love to shop locally. You know, in the past that is what I did. But unfortunately, I can’t say I do anymore.

    I didn’t mention anything about big box stores. In fact, I rather not to spend my money there. I enjoy walking into a store where the employees and even the owners are passionate about what they are doing. The information they give you isn’t coming from a sheet of paper. I don’t need someone to read me the specs from a sheet ( I can read, thanks). These people have been in the business forever and they speak from experience.

    I’ve been told that one person’s decision doesn’t make a difference. Well just recently, I have purchased a new computer, printer, software and a camera that totals up to just over
    8,000$. That’s a pretty big amount. Unfortunately none of that was spent in Cornwall. I haven’t purchased my new tv and audio system this year. Maybe just for you admin, I will check put what the stores here in Cornwall are offering ( probably something from last year they want to get out of their store because no one else wants to buy it).

    Let me tell you, if you are walking into stores here in Cornwall, you are not experiencing this kind of service.

  6. Author

    rant where did you purchase an $8K system? That sounds mighty pricey?? There are good stores and good people working in Cornwall. We’re hoping to expose more of the good ones locally.

    If more people spend more locally; local businesses do better and when businesses do better they generally can invest more in staff and support for customers. It’s a balancing act in many ways.

    If you’re always having to cut prices to the bare bones there’s no $$$ for extra support and service.

    At the end of the day you get what you pay for. I don’t think Cornwall has less quality service than any other place by ratio. I think it’s the exact opposite generally.

  7. I’m not talking about price. I understand. I am ranting about bad service from people who don’t know what you’re talking about.

    And again admin, you’re not comprehending what I’m saying… I did not buy and 8K system. I bought a computer, printer, little bit of software and a camera. All of these were purchased at separate stores where each store knew ther product and that’s why I chose to buy my equipment there.

  8. Author

    Hi Rant,

    I’m curious what you bought and where? $8K seems a lot for something like that and it must be some amazing stuff. Btw, Cost does reflect service. If you can’t make anything on your product or service you can’t afford expensive staff or sometimes enough staff which can lead to some issues.

    For example one of the reasons I shop at Farm Boy here in Cornwall is that I don’t spend a lot of time going through the cash and most of the staff actually are pretty darn good compared to some other big box stores. Yes, they may be a bit more expensive across the board, but I really like a lot of what they sell, and the speed I can get in and out of the store. When you work over 100 hours per week like I do not wasting time is important.

    And no, Farm Boy are not sponsors 🙂

  9. Admin,
    Well you started out ranting about shopping and service in “some” stores/ business in Cornwall but it turned into quite the square dance. It was almost amusing (but definitely painful) to watch the doe-see-doe-ing you were performing around some of your sponsors. Maybe a rant about the very people you sell advertising space to wasn’t one of the better thought out plans.

    Have you always lived in Cornwall? Have you ever lived and shopped anywhere else? Do you think Cornwall has been hurt by Big Box Stores when no Big Box exists in Cornwall? If Big Box is hurting Cornwall that means people are driving an hour to shop. That in itself would be quite the non-verbal commentary about local shopping.

    You said you “hated” shopping so (with that kind of attitude) are you really the best judge of what level of services and products are offered here in Cornwall? For example you mention Farm Boy and praise their products, but you would be hard pressed to find local in-season fresh fruits or vegetables on any of their produce shelves. Next time you are there take a look most of their produce is bought in bulk in conjunction with their other stores from South African/American and Asian brokers. Now that is hardly local shopping.

    I like shopping and I like to haggle for prices so I like the Mom and Pop’s but your experience of the disappearing 99 cent tomatoes is not rare but par for the course in Cornwall. The other day the flyer said window fan $24.95 on sale started Friday. I show up Friday afternoon, sold out. Apparently they had a big rush on them and sold all four (that’s the count the Cashier told me) that morning. It was discontinued and they would not be getting any more so no rain checks! The flyer identified “limited quantity” items advertised in red ink, but this was not one of them!

    Basketball net, drill press, tires, trailer hitch, hockey sticks, lap top, printer ink, HDMI patch cord, remote control helicopter, electric toothbrush heads, assorted toiletry products, compressor, pneumatic nail gun, and the list goes on and on. These are just some of the products I have tried to purchase from local businesses but not available in Cornwall. I went out of town or went without.

    The Mom and Pop’s here, seem to, in my experience carry more risk and therefore tend to carry less higher end stock on their shelves. So every time I inquire I get the “well we don’t have it in stock but we could order you one”, sure if I don’t have to pay for it in advance, don’t know about you but before I spend 8K on something I like to test drive it first, not buy it from a picture out of a catalogue!

    As for what Rant, bought for 8K, what do you care and how can you judge that 8K sounds expensive when you don’t even know what he bought. Friend of mine just purchased a big screen LCD TV for $4500. It’s like 55” or something or another and no it is not 3D.
    Sound expensive? Especially when you can grab a bigger TV at Wal-Mart for around the $2400 mark. You get what you pay for and the picture on my friends TV would blow the socks off anything you have ever seen, but you would have to venture outside of Cornwall to see it as no stores here have a demo.

    I have had a lumber store guy tell me there is no such thing as pressure treated plywood, a grocery store guy tell me they don’t sell Worcestershire sauce and numerous hardware/home building establishments (that sell water softeners and salt etc) give me a blank stare when I ask for a jug of resin cleaner? This list too goes on and on.

    We just have to look at Brockville, Belleville, Rockland, Renfrew to just name a few to see what real shopping has to offer.
    Big box stores don’t siphon money from a community Admin, they employ people and many are owned by local business people. What they really do is bring in more competition more jobs and hence more choice. Manufacturing Industry (better paying jobs) locate where they can convince upper management to move to and a City has to have a good commercial sector, or Industry will locate in one that does.
    The Cornwall NIMBY association blocked all hope of decent shopping and competition in Cornwall when they blocked the New Wal-Mart and like it or not many of us shop else where because of the non existent 99 cent tomatoes.

    Like I said before I love to shop around and get a good deal, it must be a guy thing, but I never figured living 10 minutes outside of Cornwall that shopping around would include Brockville, Ottawa, Montreal, Kingston, and Prescott for crying out loud Prescott!!!!

    Oh, one more thing about shopping in Cornwall, every time I am looking at last year’s dusty electronic stuff and after the salesperson has answered my question with an obvious line of BS to cover up his lack of product knowledge, some really annoying guy comes up to me and starts yakking about the products and trying to set me straight. Just let me say, back off friend, I already did my research and I am just screwing with the salesperson’s head and you really don’t know as much as you think.

    Now that’s a RANT!

  10. lol, Bobgeneric, that was awesome 🙂

  11. Author

    Bob that was definitely a rant! Thank you and congrats! Very well done and much appreciated, although I may not agree with many of your points….. 🙂

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