Nova Scotia

Sobeys investigating Cape Breton Foodland for keeping disinfectant off store shelves

Owners of the Foodland in Sydney Mines, N.S. sold Lysol products directly to friends and family from their home instead of putting the sought-after items on store shelves for the public. Now, Sobeys, the parent company, is investigating the "clearly inappropriate" behaviour.

Owners of Foodland in Sydney Mines have apologized for selling Lysol products directly to family, friends

Lysol wipes at Canadian Tire in Vancouver on Monday, March 2. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Sobeys is investigating one of its franchisees for selling disinfectant products directly to friends and family instead of putting the sought-after items on grocery store shelves for the public.

Trisha Devoe is an occasional shopper at the Foodland in Sydney Mines, N.S., and had been waiting for the store to announce its weekly shipment of Lysol disinfectant spray and wipes on Facebook.

"I'm a health-care worker," Devoe said in a phone interview. "I have a grandson here and he's immunocompromised and I'm just trying to keep everything sanitized."

The announcement didn't come, but Devoe said one of the owners advertised on her personal Facebook page that the products were being kept at her home to give priority to family and friends.

"I couldn't believe it," said Devoe. "Just tell them like everybody else, 'We have wipes in, come and get it. First come, first served."

The owners apologize

Devoe shared the owners' Facebook post on Friday, decrying their behaviour, and a few hours later they had issued an apology.

"At a time when we should have been especially sensitive to the needs of everyone in our community, we took personal orders for disinfectant products that we kept aside for pick up at our home.

"We were trying to help, but it was a terrible mistake. All the Lysol products we had should have been put on the shelf at the store and made available to everyone there."

The post is signed by franchise owners Ashley and Kyle Ryan, who declined an interview request. They directed CBC News to Sobeys, the parent company behind the Foodland brand.

Sobeys investigates 'clearly inappropriate' actions

"We're investigating this issue urgently to understand the details of what has happened," a spokesperson for the national grocery store company said in an email.

"It is clearly inappropriate to purchase much needed supplies and resell them outside the franchisee's normal store operations, particularly in these times of crisis. We are extremely disappointed in the judgment and actions of the franchisee and are considering our next steps with the operators as the investigation continues."

Devoe said she was not comforted by the apology issued by the Ryans, saying it was only written "because [they] got caught."

The Ryans said they've taken the public reaction to their behaviour "to heart."

"We are very sorry. What we will continue to reflect on is how to make this right for our community and you have our commitment to make amends."

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About the Author

Taryn Grant

Reporter

Taryn Grant is a Halifax-based reporter and web writer for CBC Nova Scotia. You can email her with tips and feedback at taryn.grant@cbc.ca

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