Mystery Shopping Test: Food Basics, Wal*Mart


It’s always uncertain whether a shopping trip will be pleasant. Today I hit Food Basics and Wal*Mart and documented my shopping trip. Trip Review: Food Basics: A, Walmart: B-

___Sure, one can go shopping, grit your teeth through the experience and then return home vowing never to go again, but after a short while you do run out of necessities and are forced to return whence you came. At least reviewing your experience may give a reader or two a laugh. Or a cry, a shake of the mane and a sympathetic groan.

Food Basics, McCowan/Finch, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Food Basics, McCowan/Finch, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


___Food Basics, McCowan/Finch, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Objective: Purchase bags of pasta advertised in their local flyer and website.

This was their last day of their flyer sale, with 900g bags of pasta for $1CAD, limit of 4 per person. Shopping cart was easy to find, clean and functional. $0.25CAD deposit. I found the pasta, the sale was clearly marked, the price was clearly displayed, the limit was clearly displayed. Checkout was efficient (young Chinese cashier), and bacause it was the last day they waived the limit. Extra boxes were available instead of bags.

Experience Rating: A. I’d return again. the store seems well merchandised.

Walmart, Kennedy/Sheppard, Scarborough, On, Canada

Walmart, Kennedy/Sheppard, Scarborough, On, Canada


___Wal*Mart, Kennedy/Sheppard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Objective: tissue paper, apple juice, cereal.

I always brace myself for their invariably terrible service and frequent out of stock condition. I’ve also learned to not depend on Walmart to have your common products in stock. Anything can be out of stock. The tissue paper I wanted was not in stock, so I chose another brand. No price displayed. I dropped the product. Apple juice was well marked but had no price displayed. One can was leaking and needed cleaning. I searched for 5 minutes for a scanner, but could not find one. I gave up, and dropped my product. I picked up some cereal that was cheaper at another store. The cashier read the competitor flyer and price matched without problem. Subsequent vendor coupons were also handled without issue and quickly. I was very surprised.

Experience Rating: B-. There’s really no excuse for not displaying pricing on your product. How are customers supposed to shop? Maybe by blindly purchasing the product and trusting the store? Not I. Spoiled product is common in any store, and maybe a customer had punctured it, so I let this one go. Not being able to find a scanner is really inexcusable. I tried my usual “Look for a pillar and a scanner sign” technique, but as the scanners break, they are removed and not replaced. It’s too much hassle to run an associate down who will then try to find a scanner on the floor. She invariably has to run 3/4 the length of the store. The cashier was experienced and knowledgeable. Good for her. A rare jewel in a bag of nuts.

2 thoughts on “Mystery Shopping Test: Food Basics, Wal*Mart

  1. David Ing

    I wonder if the Food Basics is a privately-owned franchise store, as compared to the WalMart that is clearly corporate.

    It’s an interesting statement. In theory, corporate stores should have better processes, because they can invest in training and enforce standard procedures. On the other hand, privately-owned stores have the pride of ownership, so the person in charge isn’t miles away from the situations that happen hour to hour.

  2. dontai Post author

    Food Basics is owned by Metro Inc., out of Quebec, Food Basics was part of A&P, but I think they were bought out by Metro in 2005, along with Dominion and Loeb. It is difficult to say if these stores are a franchise or corporate. I do know that many A&Ps were franchise.

    Since 1995, Food Basics has been helping customers save money on their grocery needs by providing the Best Prices Everyday. Food Basics is the discount banner of Metro Ontario Inc. and operates over 100 stores across Ontario.

    Our community-based corporate and franchisee stores offer over 8,000 national brand and private label products in an easy to shop layout, and we are easily recognized with our vivid green exterior.

    I actually rarely go to Food Basics because they are not near my house. I find they also quickly run out of advertised product. This pasta sale was an exception.

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