Quebec's SAQ 2013 failures (an excerpt)

The Quebec alcohol monopoly conglomerate called the SAQ (Societe Des Alcool Du Quebec) has consitently retained control over the consuming habits of the general population of the province of Quebec in Canada. If some folks can not drink malt-based liquors (i.e. beer or coolers, products available in supermarkets and convenience stores) nor wine, the available alcohol is reserved at the SAQ, and therefore, the consumer is a "slave" to the selections imposed upon by company's control over the legal distribution of alcohol in the province. Do note that Quebec is also one of the most taxed-to-the-hilt provinces, and our alcohol is known to be overpriced compared to the rest of the world. Our alcohol is at the very least twice as expensive as anywhere else, and in some cases (especially compared to liquor stores in the USA), three times as expensive.

The ONLY "available" product in Quebec from the "TGIF's" line of cream-oriented liquors (the USA have at least 6 varieties of the sort including their infamous "MudSlide") is now discontinued. Pina Colada was not the best flavor but was the only one available to us, and now the SAQ decided to take off the shelves, with no replacement. Why would they? It was a user (Butter!) friendly booze at a "decent" price with enough alcohol, in a perfect format. It was only normal for them to take it off the market!

One of the best pre-made Mojito cocktail mixes, this one was made with real Smirnoff vodka and was an absolute delight to drink. The SAQ has decided to start discontinuing the entire line of Smirnoff pre-mixed cocktails, starting with the best of the bunch, the Mojito mix, only to have it replaced by the obviously inferior "St-James Mojito" mix which not just absolutely revolting in taste, but an insult to any self-respecting lover of the Smirnoff pre-mixed drinks. A major fail from the SAQ to have substituted this wonderful line of liquor for the obviously inferior St-James travesty.

The Skinnygirl brand is still considered new in Quebec (barely 2 years old) and already the SAQ is discontinuing one of two available flavors due to what they consider poor sales. Of course they will be taking opff the shelf the more superior of the two, the white cranberry cosmo mix, leaving the obvioulsy less tasty Margarita variant to stay for the rest of summer 2013, to be discontinued before the winter season begins, rumours would seem to predict. People complained that the Skinnygirl brand was quite flavor-less, hence the poor sales, but the SAQ never took into account how the product was a regular seller in some areas. By having discontinued it, they have taken away the main choice of some people. Third fail in a row, SAQ!

One of the rare never-actually-seen on the shelves product, this other pseudo-alternative to the non-existing MudSlide types of drinks offered by the SAQ falls into the category of the "Sasquatch", for it was never actually seen by any people! Perhaps this is an attempt the SAQ made to attract people who prefer cream-oriented drinks to shop at their stores, only to reveal this was utter false advertisement, the product never having actually existed! Again, a four-pack like this would be sold at least half the price the SAQ offers in other areas of Canada (or the USA), so it is not a big loss to weep at the cost seeing as how the product never actually existed! False advertisement from the SAQ, another major failure!

Much like the above described "cappuccino" mix, this variant is a "legend", or rather a "myth" for it was never actually made available in SAQ stores. It does make things clear when the corporation states how poor sales are on a specific item when they just never make it available to the general public, instead pushing lesser-desired flavors and variants. Just for your information, the "MudShake" series is nowhere near as delicious as the never-made-available TGIFriday's brand.

So looking at these examples of utter failures from the SAQ conglomerate, one can only feel as though their monopolistic control over the consuming habits of the people borders on fascism. It is no secret that my main beef against the stereotypical representation of the Quebecois people is that we are a nation of wine winos and beer guzzlers, and that everything else just doesn't make the cut. I do admit that having different tastes in ALL WALKS OF LIFE, be it for art, music, cinematography, entertainment, choice of communications and other formats, has left me faced with the continual discontinuation of products of my preference to make way for inferior material offered for mass consumption, but I always could count on the SAQ to be the last resort for my booze consumption when all other markets failed. But seeing how the SAQ has lowered their quality and began a major discontinuation of their more palpatable products in recent times (mid-2013), it has indeed influenced and inspired me to stop supporting the "local" Quebec market and start shopping in other provinces and in the USA for my alcohol. No offence, but these examples are but an iceberg tip of an increasing amount of dissapointments from the monopolistic SAQ, which makes no effort whatsoever to catter to "everyone" 's needs (quite the opposite as my little rant has made quite clear!). I normally would support Quebec-based companies and products, but when such a corporation has made it clear that my support and consumer habits are not welcomed, it is time to move on to other places which are more properly equipped to support non-wine and non-beer drinkers' needs!

Thank you SAQ: you have inspired me to support Ontario's LCBO stores!

(PS: I will never forget the total amateurish incompetence of the lackeys they hire at some of their branches; when I asked them where was the Smirnoff Ice, back when my heartburn was still manageable and under control, one of their 19-year old apathetic stoners told me to buy the Smirnoff Ice in depanneurs! After seeing his blank, bored, and glazed look when I tried to begin to explain how other stores only carried malt-based imitations, I knew that I was dealing with another McDonald's like corporation, unable to hire a knowledgeable or professionnal staff. Oh SAQ, let count the fails!)


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