More humiliation than I bargained for

A snapshot of this week's Pharmacy 2 flyer, featuring the attractive (and expired) items in question

When holiday shopping on a tight budget, flyers are a student’s best friend.

That is, unless you live in Rexdale and a local retailer has no problem making you look like a damned fool on Christmas day.

Yesterday, I wandered into Pharmacy 2, a commercial underdog just 2 km North of the big Shoppers Drug Mart on Rexdale. I’d been to its forerunner (the creatively named Pharmacy 1) but hadn’t been back since its renovation and “re-branding.”

When I arrived at Pharmacy 2, I went straight for the Starbucks sets. They were classy, portable and—-at two for $10—-they seemed a real bargain!  Round stickers on the boxes signaled that the sets even contained promotional coupons. I took two home with me and barely made note of the “no return” policy on the items.

Later that night, I sat poised to wrap my great finds. But then, a surge of skepticism hit me. I decided to carefully open the boxes to check the expiry dates on the promotional offer.

To my dismay, the coupons stopped being of any use in June of 2009.

Then I checked the coffee.

The tag said the roasts were best enjoyed before 5/1/2009… which would be great if we weren’t about to celebrate the arrival of 2010.

Awkward scenarios flooded my mind.

If my gift recipients didn’t notice the expiry date on the coffee bag, or the lack of flavour and aroma from the actual coffee, they would surely feel the burn when the barista at Starbucks handed back the expired coupon, coupled with a disdainful “Sorry, but this coupon is no good.”

How embarrassing for everyone. Especially because they probably wouldn’t say anything to me and just assume that I re-gifted in the worst way possible.

So, Pharmacy 2, I think you should plan for what to you’re going to say when your customers–or worse, their picky in-laws and fickle bosses–notice that you’re selling expired coffee and useless coupons. Also, it’s no secret that Rexdale is largely a low-income community. I wonder if you’d pull the ol’ bait and switch in neighbourhoods like Yorkville or Rosedale.

The receipt you gave me is stamped “FINAL SALE” and, insofar as I’m never shopping at your store again, that is the only honest statement on the bill.

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