A policy change at Atlantic Superstore is leaving some students unimpressed.
Every Tuesday, university students in the city can get a 10 per cent discount at participating Atlantic Superstores. But starting in May, they will get 10 per cent more PC Plus points instead. PC Plus is a rewards system where customers can earn points when buying certain items and redeem them to pay for groceries.
“I think that’s ridiculous,” says Saint Mary’s student Brandi Knight. “I don’t really think the 10 per cent discount was really putting them out too much, so I don’t really understand why they’d get rid of it.”
Knight used to do most of her grocery shopping at Atlantic Superstore. She would only go on Tuesdays to take advantage of the discount.
With the cost of food going up and the discount gone, she says she’ll take her business elsewhere.
“I don’t think that people are going to have a lot of choice about what they want to eat anymore,” she says. “I used to eat fresh produce all the time, and now I have to buy everything frozen because I can’t afford the price of it unless I go to places like Walmart or Giant Tiger.”
Christine Spurr, a student at Dalhousie University, agrees. She says some students she knows have had to take extra work hours in order to make ends meet.
“It’s impacting them financially, but it’s also impacting them academically, because they have to spend more time working and less time on their studies,” Spurr says.
Spurr has a PC Plus card, but says she’s never used her points because the store hasn’t made it clear how it can benefit students.
PC Plus points can only be used at Superstores. Customers can load offers online and earn points when they buy those items, and they need a minimum of $20 – or 20,000 points – to redeem.
“I’ve been collecting points for years and I’ve never used them, whereas 10 per cent off my food is something I can see immediately when I go grocery shopping,” Spurr says.
She says that she’ll be doing her shopping at Sobeys now, as they will still be offering a 10 per cent discount to students on Tuesdays.
Mark Boudreau, director of corporate affairs in Atlantic Canada, wrote in an email that this new policy would benefit students.
“Tuesday Student Day is being made even more student friendly by offering it through the PC Plus Loyalty program,” he wrote. “Students will get customized offers, and they will be able to combine the 10 percent discount with other in-store offers.”
Boudreau did not respond to emails or phone calls asking for clarification.