(And no, I never did get a response. Not that it would have made a difference anyway).
May 15, 2013
Loblaw Companies Limited
Customer Relations Department
1 President’s Choice Circle
Dear Sir or Madam:
Two items regarding your company were in my local news today. First, your C.E.O. Gaelan Weston has pledged to compensate workers and their families in Bangladesh who were injured and killed in a factory collapse; the same factory that produced clothing for your company. The other item had to do with your company pledging to not source pork from farms which keeps in stalls.
So, just to be clear, your corporate standards for how pigs are kept are higher than the factories in which your goods are produced?
I have the highest regard for companies that insist on human treatment for its livestock. However, I have a better idea regarding your clothing line: bring those jobs back to Canada (the U.S. will do, as well). I, as a consumer, am seeing ZERO benefit from being FORCED to buy crap made in China or the worst third-world countries. I understand Nike’s labour component on a $200 pair of sneakers is about $3.
This is the same message I have conveyed to other retailers (the late Zellers, Wal-Mart, etc): I, AS A CONSUMER, DEMAND YOU MAKE AVAILABLE CANADIAN- OR U.S.-MADE PRODUCTS. From socks to garbage cans to computers and televisions. And everything in between. We are in a depression that will NEVER end until our manufacturing base returns. No amount of bankster games will change that one simple fact. Even the late Sam Walton understood that. That’s why he insisted that his stores be stocked with exclusively American-made merchandise.
I routinely make similar demands of corporations who force me to speak with somebody in a third-world country when I call “them.”
I can assure you Mr. Weston will enjoy the public relations goodwill from opening a new factory in Canada a lot more than having to apologize for a factory collapse killing a few thousand 12-year-old girls in the employ of Kathy Lee Gifford. As a celebrity C.E.0. with the best advisers money can buy, Mr. Weston cannot possibly be unaware of this fact.
If corporations such as your believe you can continue sucking up every last nickel from consumers while at the same time pulling out the carpet from beneath us forever, you are sadly mistaken.
For the record, I don’t shop at Loblaw’s or any of your subsidiary stores. I am insulted when I spend hundreds of dollars on groceries and then your clerk hits me up for a nickel for each bag. I live two hundred feet from Niagara Falls, New York. My two “local” supermarkets there (Top’s and Wegman’s) sell milk, bread and butter as loss leaders. They practically give these products away to get me into the store. I assure you it works. As a bonus, many products sold in American supermarkets are made in Canada.
When your company demands your suppliers bring manufacturing jobs back to Canada, when you don’t charge me for shopping bags, and when your prices for milk, butter and bread are about half of what they are now, I will happy to be your customer.