Dear businesses, don’t make me work to become a customer. Seems obvious, but my experience indicates otherwise.

I’m always on the lookout for a sale on Coca-Cola. A supermarket called Fresh Co. has a flyer out that advertises just such a sale. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right? No, not so much.

My mom commented, “Fresh Co.? I don’t know where that place is.” I thought it would be simple enough to find out. Newspaper flyers typically list the store locations and small-print at the bottom of the back page. Flipping to the back page, imagine my surprise when they boast, “87 Fresh Co. stores now open in Ontario,” and then follow with the locations, “See for store details.” I don’t think so, Fresh Co.

Even worse, I always look for any limitation on quantities. Fresh Co. tells me, “We reserve the right to limit quantities.” That’s it. So I may go and discover they’ll only let me buy three. That’s plenty for some people, but not everyone.

If you’re going to try to get me into your store, and then not even tell me where they are, I’m not going to go hunting for the information. I’ll just go elsewhere. I understand they’re trying to save money by using the same flyer in multiple markets, but when your saving money requires me to do extra work, your ad failed. Enjoy your savings, but I’m not buying anything from you. Happy?

If you think I’m the one missing out, think again. Sobeys has Coke on sale as well, and for the same price.

So is that the end of the story? Not exactly. In wanting to make sure things are as I expect, I had a look at the Sobeys flyer to make sure it does indeed list store locations. But it doesn’t! I do think the point stands however, as the larger incumbent companies are better known. In this case, I already know where the Sobeys is. Still, they risk losing potential customers, but it’s less a risk for Sobeys than for Fresh Co.

It doesn’t end there. In searching their respective websites for the logos I’ve included here, and to properly assign trademarks where they belong, I check the ‘Legal’ links. The legal page on the Fresh Co. site begins, “This Website is owned and provided by Sobeys Inc.”

I’m still not going to Fresh Co. and in fact, I’m even a little bit less likely to go to Sobeys, but I don’t think this will tip the balance. I’ll still buy the Coke, and likely nothing else.

Fresh Co., Sobeys, and the graphics shown above, are likely trademarks of Sobeys Capital Incorporated. I’m not exactly sure because both web pages state, “The content shown on the Website is protected by copyright, trademark and other laws” but they give no specifics on what terms are trademarks.