Customers slam Loblaws' call for Optimum Points donations: 'Stop gouging Canadians'

Customers slam Loblaws' call for Optimum Points donations: 'Stop gouging Canadians'

An email sent by Loblaws encouraging its customers to donate their Optimum loyalty points is not going over well.

On "Giving Tuesday," the grocery corporation, in partnership with some food bank charities, suggested customers who collect PC Optimum points donate them directly to several partnered charities.

"We're proud of the many charitable things we do to help Canadians live life well, but we'll leave all that for another day," the message reads. "Instead, and for the first time ever, we're handing over our PC Optimum platform — a direct line to millions of Canadians like you — to our partners at Food Banks Canada and Second Harvest."

The email goes on to acknowledge the rise of inflation worldwide along with the food insecurity crisis and how it disproportionately impacts women, children and marginalized communities.

While it encourages people to donate their PC Optimum points, it also suggests donating directly or to one of the grocery chain’s food drives, which will be matched up to $100,000.

Customers took to social media to express their outrage at the move, particularly since the company has been reporting growing profits in the face of inflation.

On LinkedIn, Sharon Bauer, posted part of an email her husband had written in response to Loblaws.

"If you want to make a difference, reduce your prices. Then those of us that have recently been stretched beyond our means will be able to support essential programs like food banks and be able to help others in need ... This is on you, Loblaws. Do not put this on your customers without first considering how you can make a considerable difference by lowering your prices."

Canada’s biggest grocer has already faced criticism in recent months for announcing it will freeze prices on its generic No Name brand items, called a PR strategy by some and a yearly routine by rivals, until January.

Loblaw, Canada's largest grocery retailer, saw total sales surge 8.3 per cent annually to $17.4 billion in the quarter ending Oct. 8, while its profit jumped 29 per cent to $556 million.