Jokes about Loblaws and Galen Weston Jr. are the best thing on the internet right now
It's been two days since billionaire grocery magnate Galen Weston Jr., one of the wealthiest rich kids-turned-oligarch executives in Canada, sent out an email announcing a price freeze on specific house brand products at all of the many supermarkets and drug stores owned by his family.
Backlash to the strangely personal-sounding and hubristic promo was instant, and much of it was negatively charged in the direction of Weston — Chairman and CEO of George Weston Limited, which owns Loblaw Companies Limited, which in turn owns such brands as Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, No Name, President's Choice, Joe Fresh, Zehrs and more.
So much more.
Canada is just five big banks, two grocery chains, and three telecom giants in a puffer down jacket.— Wing Kar Li, PhD (@wingkarli) October 17, 2022
Critics took issue with the tone of the email, which announced with a great degree of enthusiasm that "Galen" (first name only) had instituted a "PRICE FREEZE for inflation!"
The email, padded with self-absolvent sentiments like "your grocery bill is higher today because the suppliers who make the products we sell are raising their prices for us," revealed that Canada's largest food retailer would be "locking" prices on products from its famously bare-bones No Name brand until January 31, 2023.
"...it's a bad look when our country's biggest corporate grocery chains are raking in billions more than usual while food bank usage spikes to historic highs." https://t.co/T1SKobBdWe— Heidi McCulloch (@HeidiMcCulloch) October 19, 2022
"Anyone who regularly visits the grocery store knows that over the past year the cost of food has increased rapidly... Maddeningly, much of this is out of our control," reads the message, signed by a man whose family has been ranked the third-wealthiest in Canada by Forbes Magazine.
"And, while we've challenged (and will continue to challenge) any unfair price increases, the truth is most are reasonable. Suppliers' basic costs are way higher than they’ve been in decades — no different than costs like the gas in your car, or your rent or mortgage."
Weston Jr. goes on to assure readers that he knows "none of these explanations offer much comfort when you're worried about your family's budget," but that — lucky us! — Loblaw has stepped in to help Canadians offset the impacts of record-high inflation by freezing the already-way-higher-than-normal prices on their cheapest of product lines.
Galen Weston deciding how to appease the peasants : pic.twitter.com/8V7A38x0Uz— Julie S. Lalonde (@JulieSLalonde) October 17, 2022
You can read the full email here or Google around about the powerful Weston clan for more context, but the long and the short of it is that:
a) Major corporate grocery chains, like Loblaw's, have been raking in mountains of cash despite inflation woes, posting earnings of $387 million last quarter — up from $121 million during the same time pre-pandemic and $12 million over last year. It's gotten so obvious that grocer profits are starting to attract the attention of government leaders.
b) Canadian consumers are still pretty mad about the whole bread price-fixing scandal thing, which came to light in 2018 when (after an investigation) Canada's Competition Bureau concluded that Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys and Walmart had all "committed indictable offences under the Competition Act" for their roles in a nearly 15-year-long, "industry-wide price-fixing arrangement involving certain packaged bread products." The masses were not placated by Galen's $25 gift cards.
c) Nobody wants to wake up to a boastful email about a three-month price freeze on No Name products, topped by a picture of some famously-wealthy, fourth-generation business tycoon.
*Galen Weston dropping cans of No Name soup out of a helicopter onto busy streets*— Keith Dunne (@KeithDunneNL) October 17, 2022
"Am I not charitable? Am I not kind?"
It didn't take long for people to picture the billionaire Weston imagining himself as some sort of saviour.
... Or a deluded rich jerkhole.
Some imagined what such a benevolent grocery baron might do next for the little people.
Correction, Galen Weston will be dropping frozen, stuffed 20lb turkeys onto densely populated suburban areas from 10,000 ft, from his personal bomber aircraft which he himself will be flying... pic.twitter.com/jxMOnx9bZx— Brian The Wallace 🇨🇦🇺🇦 (@The_Brian_Life) October 19, 2022
Others used their artistic talents to critique the situation.
I understand that Galen Weston Jr. made an announcement yesterday to help consumers deal with high and rising grocery prices. Was it about cake? #cdnpoli #mbpoli #politicalcartoon #groceryprices #galenwestonjr #loblaws #cartoon #letthemeatcake pic.twitter.com/IA7fTXQRu1— Chris Chuckry 🇺🇦 🇨🇦 (@chrischuckry) October 19, 2022
More than a few drew comparisons between Weston and Marie Antoinette, who is commonly misquoted as saying "let them eat cake" of her starving subjects.
Speaking of cake, this "Loblaw Deals" parody Twitter account takes it, in terms of creative criticism. Do yourself a favour and scroll through the feed. It's delightfully subversive in the wake of Loblaw Companies Ltd.'s most-recent scandal.
Until Nov 1: Save 97¢ on rotisserie chicken when you put in a shift behind the deli counter. ^gw— Loblaws Deals (@LoblawDeals) October 18, 2022
Some people used the opportunity to make No Frills jokes, which are pretty much evergreen.
You are paying for the frills.— bookmistress (@bookmistress) October 19, 2022
Jokes about eating the rich always play well, too, in this late-stage capitalistic society.
Most people have no interest in literally eating Galen Weston Jr., however; they simply want to eat the food his companies sell for a reasonable price — and they're calling BS on excuses that have to do with manufacturing costs.
Galen Weston is trying to blame the food manufacturers for his companies record profits during a pandemic and global inflation.— Gator⚡Gum (@gator_gum) October 17, 2022
In beyond insulting how stupid they think we are.
Neither is anyone smart ready to straight up believe that the timing of this price freeze is coincidental (even if, as Metro just revealed, such a practice is normal around this time of year.)
NDP want to investigate grocery chains from ripping off everyone and Galen Weston is like “ hang on, we will lock in the price on your box of no name KD”.— CaptainCoby (@Captaincoby00) October 17, 2022
As one person put it quite succinctly:
"Loblaws does not deserve praise for freezing prices on No Name products! If I go into your home, break a bunch of sh*t, then say, "I promise I won't break anything for the next few months," should I be praised for my selfless good deed?... Are you effing kidding me?"
"If you wait for something to reach its highest price and then freeze it at that highest price and tell people you're doing that because you really care about other people," joked another in the style of Jeff Foxworthy: "You just may be Galen Weston Jr."
Join the conversation Load comments