Product recalls, returns and why it may seem futile for customers

Two days ago I got a product recall notice in my email which came through my rewards card to alert me that one of the products I bought might be contaminated. Something about shards of glass due to some issue at the manufacturing plant.

I attached the receipt to the jar of horseradish sauce, and left it on my counter, knowing I would be returning to that store in the near future.

Side note: the rewards card can be used and points redeemed at several stores which are all under a mother company. If I buy a product at the super drug store which includes some grocery items, I can still return the product at the grocery store. (For Canadian peeps, I’m referring to No Frills and Shoppers Drug Mart, both of which are owned under Loblaws.)

My plan was to return the recalled product today.

Shopping went well, relatively speaking. The store wasn’t too busy, it was mostly seniors today and they stayed out of my way and although the cashier was a little irritating, I got through there quickly and painlessly.

What she couldn’t do was reimburse my product. I had to go talk to someone else. (Because why make it simple…)

I had to find some customer service person to handle my recalled product. I was pointed toward someone except there wasn’t anyone there and I had to ask a cashier and the cashier had to ask someone else…yada.

Finally someone came.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

No one knew about the product recall.


This is what happens with the conglomerate, chain-type stores. They do a relatively good job letting their customers know of the product recalls, but somewhere along the communication lines between head office and the many stores that sell these products, the communication breaks down.

I am almost certain that the product recall notice was sent to all the store managers in each store via email with a link to the company website that lists this sort of information.

My store people didn’t know about it, and although a manager was not called, a lower level supervisor honoured the refund because I still had the receipt attached. Theoretically, I didn’t need a receipt, but I anticipated that this would not be a smooth transaction and I really didn’t want to hang around that store for an extra half an hour for a refund of under $3.

I don’t always keep receipts…there is too much frigging paper in this house to begin with, you know? But I did have that one still…thankfully.

What I should have done was pull up the email, or print off the recall notice from my email. Neither of which I remembered to do at the time I was talking to the several ladies who were contemplating how to handle the refund.

Here’s the worst part. Because they didn’t know about the product recall, after I was reimbursed, I saw the lady put the jar off to the side somewhere. She didn’t mark it up, or put a label on it that says ‘do not sell’ or something of that nature. She just put it beside her on the little table.

What will probably happen now is when she goes on break, or at the end of her shift, some new staff member will come along, see the product sitting there, and will put it back on the shelf to be sold. Because none of the staff were informed of the product recall…

And, the next person who buys my returned product will dip their roast beef into my returned horseradish sauce and possibly consume some shards of glass.





9 thoughts on “Product recalls, returns and why it may seem futile for customers

  1. The last product recall we were involved in was a manufacturing fault on the tumble dryer model we have – to do with them bursting into flames. We got a free service out of it, but of course one of us had to stay at home for the day. That was 18 months ago. The tumblr dryer broke down 6 months later and we’ve been living without one ever since…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our dryer has been broken for 2 weeks. Not so bad during sunny weather but the damp weeks were a pain. Nothing dried fast. Of course the thing isn’t under warranty anymore either…I hear you.


  2. What a mess. When that last romaine recall came down (for salmonella, I think), our chain store got the email and it was all hands on deck in the produce department. Something something liability issues, I guess

    Liked by 1 person

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