I just got off the phone with the store manager of the Shopwise branch where I got the expired salad dressing. (As it happened, a friend of mine is friends with the marketing director of the Rustan's brand, and she hooked us up yesterday.) I've been told that the stock is being re-checked and that stringent measures are being implemented to avoid similar incidents in the future. I also made a boo-boo about the dates on the Casino biscuits - being a French brand, they follow the European way of writing down dates, so the box was not expired after all; so, that portion has been removed below.
I do appreciate the people reaching out, and I hope that sharing my experience has made a difference. (Remember to ALWAYS check dates as tedious as it may be sometimes.) Thank you, Ana and Jo!
Let me get this straight right away: I am a regular Shopwise customer. I've lived in three cities in the past 10 years, and I have always gone to Shopwise at least twice a month. Not that there's a lot of other supermarket alternatives, but they do have a great selection of goods.
That being said, I have been rather put off by several experiences in the past month. If you go to Shopwise - or Rustan's; they are operated by the same entity, I believe - you'll know that they carry the French brand Casino and a host of other imported products. I honestly had no previous experience with many of the brands till Shopwise brought them over, and ever since I tried them, I have always been more than satisfied with goods. From strawberry jam to salad dressing to biscuits - Casino (etc.) products are bound to be worth the price (which is actually not too bad!).
Even better, Shopwise regularly puts these products on sale. Naturally, people will flock to the shelves with SALE plastered all over the place. I am no exception!
So, earlier this month, when I saw Brianna's French Dressing on sale, there was no hesitation. I had tried this earlier in the year, and I loved it! At the same time, I saw this organic Teriyaki Sauce at 50% off. You can just imagine how quickly those two bottles found their way into the shopping cart. Unfortunately, I was a "bad" consumer, and didn't really check the expiry date - till at home.
As you can see in the picture right above, the bottle says "Best by May 27 May 2013". I bought the bottle in the first week of June. Enough said.
I should have complained then, but I figured that was my fault for not checking.
Then, yesterday, I was at Rustan's checking out products that I don't normally see at Shopwise. When I found myself looking at a shelf full of bottles of the organic stuff - same brand - on sale, I decided to check out the expiration date. Lo and behold, they were selling bottles of organic Sesame Soy which expired in 2012!
Naturally, I didn't buy any, but I did approach a guy who looked like a floor manager and explained it to him. What could he do but say sorry and that they'll check it out? I'm planning to pay the store a visit in a couple of weeks and see...
So, what's the point of all this? It's a partial rant, as it is frustrating to see such a huge - and supposedly reputable - brand carry out this practice. We can be forgiving and say that they might not be doing it on purpose, but, SERIOUSLY?!
If you do your groceries at Shopwise or Rustan's, just be on the lookout. It's a given that consumers should check expiration dates, but we all make mistakes, and if there are huge discounts involved, we tend to get less meticulous. Just make sure you don't get duped.
On a positive note, the search for a bottle of Sriracha is over. I even got a free pouch of cooking oil. Who wants? ;)
Shopwise image via Urbika