Canada’s bread price-fixing scandal saga continues this week as $ 25 gift cards begin to hit the mailboxes of shoppers who, let’s be real, probably spent a lot more than $ 25 on overpriced bread between 2002 and 2015.
Loblaw Companies Ltd., which owns over 2,000 grocery store under the Loblaws banner alone, admitted late last year to participating in an “industry-wide price-fixing arrangement involving certain packaged bread products.”
Got my Loblaws price fixing card in the mail today. Activated it, put it in my wallet to use later, then turned around and donated $ 25 to the @yegfoodbank. It’s the simplest way to pass the $ on. If you can afford your own bread, go do the same. pic.twitter.com/lgZ1gorOTy
— Vikki Wiercinski (@VeekeeWeekee) February 21, 2018
A total of seven more supermarket chains and wholesalers, including Metro, Sobey’s and Walmart Canada have since been accused of colluding to raise the prices of packaged bread products for more than a decade.
In exchange for cooperating with Canada’s Competition Bureau during the resultant investigation, Loblaw was given legal immunity up front – but that doesn’t equal customer forgiveness.
Hey @loblawdigital, thanks for reminding me that the reason I just got a #LoblawCard in the mail is because your parent company engaged in bread #pricefixing. I mean, of course they didn’t. Just a random background image, is all.#Loblaws #branding #epicfail #itwasntme pic.twitter.com/CjJzvRR8tM
— Dmitry Nekrasovski (@dmitryn) February 21, 2018
So, as a gesture of good faith, the grocery juggernaut announced that it would give free, $ 25 gift cards to anyone in Canada of legal age who may have purchased bread from one of its stores between 2002 and 2015 (which is basically everybody.)
Customers could start registering online to receive a card by mail beginning January 8, and can continue to do so until May 8, 2018.
Early takers are already starting to show off their shiny new gift cards online.
Hey I got my $ 25 Loblaws card from when I definitely bought bread that time.
— ♛ 🅜🅔🅛🅘🅢🅢🅐 🌺 (@joejonasfan_xo) February 21, 2018
Many on Twitter have since pledged to donate their gift cards to local food banks and other charities.
Loblaws expects up to six million Canadians to redeem the offer, which will cost the company an estimated $ 150 million.
Shoppers can use the cards they receive at any of the company’s stores –with some restrictions. They can’t be used to buy alcohol or tobacco, for instance.
Three CSI Members Who Would Put Your $ 25 Loblaws Card to Great Use https://t.co/bvg1TMu0Kd
— Chris Rickett (@rickett_chris) February 16, 2018
Customers also agree, when registering for $ 25 worth of free stuff, to have $ 25 deducted from any sort of class-action settlement that arise from this case in the future.