Tag Archives: Canada

Beer prices across Canada

BeerI stumbled across a link on the CBC website where a reporter from Calgary had called a number of liquor stores across Canada to find out the price of a dozen Labatt Blue. The Beer Facts  indicates that the price in Ottawa is among the lowest (Yippee!). It’s sort of surprising to see that Ottawa came in with the third lowest price for a dozen Labatt Blue. Around here many people will make the short drive across the river to La Belle Provence to pick up a couple cases from the local dépanneur. I hear the King of Beer (Le Roi des Bières) in Aylmer is the place to go. ;)

If I remember correctly, Blue is considered a “local” brand across Canada so it doesn’t get nailed with the “premium” beer costs. Beers like Keith’s (my personal favorite) cost more here in Ottawa as it’s classified as an import since it’s trucked in from Nova Scotia.

Now, it strikes me as odd that the reporter would call a bunch of stores in different provinces yet leave out 2 provinces and 2 territories. Why not make those extra 4 phone calls and have a sample of pricing from each province and territory?

Updated: The original “The Beer Facts” article is no longer available but I was able to track down the prices it referenced:

Vancouver:   $24.70
Calgary:     $24.99
Regina:      $24.50
Winnipeg:    $19.25
Ottawa:      $20.50
Montreal:    $19.49
Halifax:     $20.99
St. John's:  $22.25
Yellowknife: $26.90

Image credit – DeusXFlorida

National Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has recently put a lot of their films online for your viewing pleasure.  I just poked around a bit and found two of my favorite films.

Log Driver’s Waltz is certainly one of the things I remember most about watching TV as a kid.  This little video was on all the time in between all of the kids shows.

I don’t think I ever knew the proper words but I recognized that song anytime I heard it.

Then there was also The Sweater which was about the kid who got sent a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey by mistake when he ordered from the Eaton’s (wow, there’s a name I haven’t thought of in a long time!) catalog.  All of his buddies (and himself) were huge Rocket Richard fans.

The National Film Board has done a great job here.  I’ll have to spend some more time looking through the other films online and see what other fantastic memorable films I can find.

Note: For some reason I had a really difficult time getting these videos to embed in my page. I tried copying the HTML as provided by the NFB but in the end I had to strip it down quite a bit to get the videos to play. If it seems slow or doesn’t work well, just go directly to the NFB website.

Bell Canada Still Sucks at Customer Service

Bell Canada Still Sucks!

Bell Canada still sucks, even with a new logo.

Bell Canada still sucks, even with a new logo.

I know, I know, everyone knows that Bell Canada still sucks.  There’s nothing new about this statement.  I’ve bitched about Bell Canada 611 before and I’ve complained about ExpressVu and Mobility also.

Well, after receiving my latest bill from Bell Canada, I was painfully reminded yet again that Bell Canada still sucks.

Background of the Problem

In mid-December I decided that I had paid too much for my Bell Internet for too long.  It was time to can their ass and move to Primus.  Bell was charging me $47.95/month while Primus was/is offering pretty much the exact same DSL Internet for $34.95/month.  Oh, and I would also be able to purchase the modem so I wouldn’t keep paying that damn $2.00/month “modem rental fee” that mysteriously showed up on my bill one month a while back.

The Offer

Yeah, so I didn’t actually dump Bell Internet like I should have.  I managed to get to the “retention agent” pretty quickly and that’s where I got conned.  I was offered a deal – $36.95/month for 12 months and my home phone would be reduced to $9.95/month for the first 6 months and then go up to $14.95/month for the last 6 months.

Damn, that’s not a half bad deal considering I was just calling to cancel so I could get a better rate for high speed internet with Primus.  I figured that staying with Bell would save me the hassle of actually switching and I could put up with one more year of their crap.

The agent even went the extra mile and emailed me a confirmation number with a summary of the offer. Swell.

What Went Wrong?

I wish I knew!

I received my Bell bill today and popped it open to check and see what my new monthly charges would be.  Well, when I saw a bill for almost $250 I nearly lost it.  I didn’t even have to look at the bill to know they had really screwed it up considering my “normal” bill is less than $150 and with the new offer, it should have been very close to $100.

I immediately grabbed the phone and called 310-India.  Oh, no, I mean I called 310-BELL. While swearing like a trucker at automated Emily to get to a real person, I discovered why my bill was so high.  For some reason Bell had decided to active the second phone line that goes to my house. I’ve never had that second line active since we bought the house and I have never made a request to activate the line. Now I’m paying for two phone lines and the activation charge to setup that second line.  On top of that, they had changed my internet so I was now paying $50.95/month!

Needless to say, the offer I was given by the retention agent didn’t quite show up on my bill.

I spent almost an hour on the phone with three different agents getting dicked around.  Even with my confirmation number, they couldn’t figure out what I was talking about. They were able to see when I made the call and everything but apparently they couldn’t figure out how to read the numbers on the screen in front of them.

I did finally manage to get the second line removed and apparently I’m going to get a retroactive credit for it.  Unfortunately I have to wait until next month to find out if that actually happened as Bell is apparently unable to generate new bills on any day other than your billing date. In the mean time I’m supposed to over pay due to their screw up this month.

As for the offer I was given, I still don’t have that.  I’ve got an “investigation” number though and supposedly I’ll receive a call within 5-7 days to inform me of the results of the “investigation”.  I think I already know the response I’m going to receive. Something like:

The offer that you were provide was not properly documented so we are unable to extend that offer to you.  Instead, we’ll give you a token $5 off of your bill for a couple months to try and keep you happy. Oh, but we’ll still charge you $52.95/month for internet that you can get elsewhere for $34.95/month, just because we think we can. Oh, and for making us look bad we’re going to say that you agreed to a 3 year contract at some point too.

Here’s hoping they don’t end up canceling both phone lines at my house.  That would be just classic Bell Canada.

What’s Next?

Once this is fixed, I’m switching to Primus. Bell Canada still sucks and I don’t want to give them any more of my money.

Canadian Do Not Call List

September 30, 2008 is the first day that you can register your phone numbers with the Canadian National Do Not Call List (DNCL).

Go register your number now!

The website is rather overloaded right now so you might have to try a few times to get your number registered. Don’t worry, you can register anytime after September 30 so even waiting a few days won’t make a huge difference.

While the National DNCL won’t stop all unwanted phone calls, it should stop you from getting those stupid timeshare offers and other annoying recorded messages that tend to come right around meal time.

Make sure you check out the Who Can Still Call You page for more information on the entities that are still able to harass you at meal time.

Also, the registration is only valid for 3 years. The website will give you an expiration date so put a reminder in your calendar for that date and a link back to the DNCL website so you can re-register.

The Canadian DMCA: Proposed Canadian Copyright Law Updates for 2008

Time to get educated everyone. If you don’t know what the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is, you need to start Googling. The Canadian Government wants to bring in something even more draconian than the DMCA that our American friends are stuck dealing with. If you like your PVRs with time shifting, ripping your CDs to MP3 for your iPods or any number of other digital media tools, it’s time to raise your concerns and send mail to your MPs. All of those activities (and many more) will become illegal according to the proposed copyright law updates.

Check out Michael Geist‘s blog for a lot more information. You can also find information on Facebook in the Fair Copyright for Canada group that Michael Geist created.