Customer boycotts Co-op over smartphone app trouble

Laura Kehler said she won't shop at Co-op as long as she is excluded from deals offered to smartphone users.

A Winnipeg woman said she will no longer grocery shop at Co-op because she doesn't have a smartphone

Co-op offers exclusive deals to app users, which is leaving some customers feeling left out. (

A Winnipeg woman said she won't be grocery shopping at Co-op anymore because of the company's cellphone app.

Laura Kehler doesn't have a smart phone and said she is missing out on deals because of it.

"I just want to know, where does the whole idea come from to involve cellphone usage with grocery shopping," said Kehler. 

Laura Kehler said she shouldn't be excluded from deals at Co-op just because she doesn't have a smartphone. (Laura Kehler)
Kehler admits she is of a special breed by not having a smart phone. The 31-year-old does have a cellphone, but said it's a flip phone and she only has it in case of emergency.

"If I choose not to get a cell phone for the rest of my life ... am I going to be missing out on amazing deals? I just think that is so unfair," she said.

Kehler said the issue came up when she noticed a flyer in her local Co-op on Vermillion Avenue in Southdale that read app users will get a free chocolate bar if they spend more than $50.00.

"I think I was spending over $100, so when I got to the till I asked the cashier what's the story with the app. She said because I don't have a smart phone I can't take part in the deal," explained Kehler.

She said she called customer service to investigate further if there were alternative ways to access the deal without the app. 

Kehler said she was eventually directed to Co-op's head office. She said her customer service experience was horrible. "He told me no, there is no way for me to get the discounts that people with smartphones have, and I never will unless I get a phone - and then he almost started to try to sell me a phone saying oh you know phones are great, you should just do it."

Kehler said the conversation ended when the man hung up on her.

She said she chose to shop at Co-op because it's a co-operative and she likes the company's values. 

"I couldn't be more loyal to them," she said. "And then to have it in my face that they are giving a deal to someone with a phone that I don't have and they're getting a deal and I'm not, It's not a good feeling."

Doug Wiebe, who is a Co-op General Manager, said in an email to CBC News, savings and many coupons are available in flyers, in stores or through the app.

He said Co-op does not blanket the city with flyers and added that the app has a wider reach.

Wiebe said members are able to choose which method of savings works best for them.