News
Mark Rendell

Fishy Pricing Under Wraps

Check the labels YK, a sale isn’t always what it seems

Yesterday morning, Jessie Teed was shopping at Glen’s Independent Grocer downtown, when something odd caught her eye in the wraps section.

“The original price of the wraps I was looking at was $4.49 but they were on a sale for 49¢ off. The 'sale' price for the other wraps was $4.49. So I thought it was interesting that the sale price was the same as the original/normal price of the wraps I first looked at.”

The original price wasn’t visible, so she checked the price tag underneath, and lo, horror beyond horrors, the original price tag underneath was $4.39, 10 cents cheaper.

She didn’t have time to report it to the store’s manager, but she snapped a shot and posted it to the “Yellowknife’s cost of living is out of control” Facebook page where a lively discussion ensued. Only a few days before, someone had posted a similar image where the sale price and the ordinary price for apples was exactly the same: get your Spartan apples, on sale for $1.99 per pound; regular price, $1.99 per pound.

Ten cents might sound like a small amount. But the practice of selling items at more than the original price is, it would seem, illegal under the double ticketing section of the Competition Act.  According to the federal Competition Bureau’s website, the act, “prohibits the supply of a product at a price that exceeds the lowest of two or more prices clearly expressed in respect of the product.”

“Any person who contravenes section 54, is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year on summary conviction.”

The eponymous Glen Meek, of Glen’s, was aware of the issue. He told EDGE he’s had two complaints in the last several weeks and was in touch with the Loblaws head office to resolve the issue. He didn’t, however, explain what was going on.

Trevor Bayer, the other namesake Independent grocer in town, was more forthcoming.

“We don’t play with the prices at the local level, it’s all done at head office,” he explained.

Errors do occur, he admitted. But Bayer said it has to do with a combination of pricing errors from higher up the Loblaws food chain, and human error by the person putting on the labels who didn’t notice the increase; something understandable, perhaps, when they’re up all night fixing thousands of labels to items. Dirty dealing isn’t the cause.

“There’s no one is sitting upstairs in an office fixing prices,” Bayer added, with a hint of exasperation.

Whatever the cause, be vigilant, shoppers of Yellowknife! You never know when you’ll get dinged those extra ten cents.