For tipple-loving Ontarians who have seen their drinking habits interrupted by emptying shelves, the last few weeks have been a frustrating time. However, it seems good news could be on the way as the recent LCBO shortage is "getting much better," according to the board's president. It might be hard to tell some people that, though.
The LCBO has been hit with supply problems in recent weeks, and the empty shelves were said to have been caused by difficulties in transitioning to a new warehouse system in the Durham Retail Service Centre.
LCBO President George Soleas has assured customers that talk of the issue being caused by an inventory problem is not accurate, and that things will be back running at normal speed sooner rather than later.
Soleas said, as quoted by CTV News: "Three weeks ago, we replaced one of our antiquated systems in one of our best-in-class facilities, the Durham facility, which is really the largest warehouse that we have. And we had some consequences that we never expected.
"I want to make sure that people understand that this is not an inventory problem. We have lots of inventory. This is not the system we implemented.
"I want to apologize to our customers and thank them for their patience. We are doing everything we can and things are getting much better."
However, it seems those apparent improvements are not being seen everywhere, as people were still taking to social media over the weekend to complain of understocked shelves.
Yeah, Noooo it’s not getting better at the LCBO. Empty shelves everywhere https://t.co/sZ3oE22CHc— Tracey Kent 🐕 🏳️🌈 (@Tracey Kent 🐕 🏳️🌈)1563126627.0
President of LCBO says 'every day is getting better' amid ongoing delivery delays | well unless. It’s a coincidence… https://t.co/Z416uPG5KA— Tracey Kent 🐕 🏳️🌈 (@Tracey Kent 🐕 🏳️🌈)1563053470.0
The @LCBO has resorted to putting gift bags on shelves so they don’t look so empty during the stock issues. https://t.co/HluPxdruRJ— ʂƈɾҽαɱ ιɳƚσ ʋ01ԃ (@ʂƈɾҽαɱ ιɳƚσ ʋ01ԃ)1563027287.0
The @LCBO has become a complete joke. Ontario consumers deserve better service. Time to open up the market. @OPSEU… https://t.co/j1ypmNVLBY— Brad Franklin (@Brad Franklin)1562980099.0
Got trapped by torrential downpour inside an @LCBO store packed with people complaining about half-empty shelves.… https://t.co/YpHx1dtsj6— Helen Mann (@Helen Mann)1563048493.0
Despite the grumbles, Soleas says that, as of Saturday, there were fewer than 15 stores "stocking out of product" compared with some 240 just last week.
That reassurance comes after the president of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), Warren "Smoky" Thomas, alleged on Friday that LCBO pushed through with the new warehouse changes despite being aware of problems during testing.
Thomas also called for the chair of the LCBO board, Carmine Nigro, to be removed from his position. Thomas says LCBO employees warned on numerous occasions of the issues with the new system.
Soleas responded by accusing Thomas of making "inflammatory” comments and attempting to politicize the ongoing situation.
"I think our chair is very qualified, to be honest with you," Soleas told CP24. "He is trying to politicize the situation more than anything.
"You know what, it would be best for Mr. Thomas to get on board and help us, because this is a fantastic system for the future of the Durham warehouse."