Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sometimes..... shopping sucks

I am a frustrated shopper. Sorry, I have to rant about this because it has just been happening too often anymore for me to sit back and take it quietly.

I have literally lost count of the number of items in stores that I used to buy, that were favourite items to buy, that are no longer sold. I understand the economics of consumerism. I get that if stuff doesn't move, it has to be pulled from regular stock. I'm talking about the stuff that DID sell. The stuff that was always out of stock and only the crappier options were left behind. Some items that have disappeared from grocery store shelves (that I can think of off the top of my head):
  • MinuteMaid Watermelon punch
  • Stouffer's Bistro Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Rotini
  • Uncle Ben's Stuff 'n Such stuffing
  • Aunt Jemima Buckwheat pancake mix (*)
  • Jello Whip 'n Chill Mousse instant mix
  • Libby's Pure Pumpkin filling (available in US)
  • Poppycock Just the Nuts
In many cases, it's not because the products don't exist anymore. It's not even because the store won't carry it. It's often because the supplier won't carry it - and you're not likely to change a supplier's mind about what they carry.

But it's not just grocery items. We recently bought a pair of Suncast sheds for our back yard from Sears. Now that they're built, I want to buy accessories for them, which the manufacturer indicates is available at Sears. Sears even lists the accessories I want on their web site - or at least - they DID 2 weeks ago. One of the items has already disappeared from the site and neither are available in stores. Panicked, I called Suncast and asked where I could get these accessories because they seem to be disappearing from Sears. I was told WalMart has them. WalMart's web site (in Canada) even lists the products! Woo-hoo! So we go to a store. Nobody has even heard of them and the actual WalMart product numbers (from their own web site) produce nothing. I'm waiting to hear back from WalMart customer service, but in the meantime, I chose these specific sheds because they have accessories to go with them.

OK, I'm done now. We return you to your original programming.

(*) [update] According to Darlene, Aunt Jemima Buckwheat pancake mix is also still available in the US, but they don't sell to Canada nor do they ship to Canada. When Darlene called the folks who make the stuff, they told her, "Just buy a regular box of pancake mix and mix it with some buckwheat flour." I'm serious - that was their suggestion.......

[update 2] We have had nothing but trouble getting those shed accessories. The shelves we wanted are no longer for sale at Sears and we practically had to bribe Suncast to sell us a set, because it's not their policy to sell directly to any market already served by a retailer (Sears / Walmart) - even though neither of these places sell the items anymore. We were lucky enough to be able to get an order in for shed hooks before they also disappeared from Sears' online catalogue service. Before you applaud - they lost our order. And now the item is no longer available. But we still got charged for it, plus paid a (non-refundable) order fee, plus interest on our refusal to pay for an item that they lost...... Needless to say, I'm pissed.

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