I bet a lot of you are scratching your heads at the title of today’s post: Watch Out for the Small Print on Greenhawk Ads!
The first question you probably want to know is: what is Greenhawk?
Greenhawk horse supplies
If you don’t live in Canada and you don’t own horses there’s no reason to be familiar with Greenhawk. To put it in simple terms, Greenhawk is like Canada’s Walmart of tack stores. Greenhawk sells equestrian supplies for horses and riders. Greenhawk is able to make bulk purchases and pass along the savings to their customers, us horse owners.
In the above photo, the Troxel helmet and Kerrit’s fleece sweater were both purchased from Greenhawk. 15 years later, I still have that sweater! I love it! I’d buy more if they still sold them.
I’ve since replaced the Troxel helmet. See the photo below. Also purchased from Greenhawk.
I’ve been a customer of Greenhawk for about 20 years, and have been on their mailing list ever since my first purchase. They have a webpage and I’ve purchased supplies for my horses like halters, leads, buckets, manure forks, and vitamins. I’ve also bought a lot of clothing for myself like winter jackets, boots, hats, gloves, shirts, pajamas, and purses. In the beginning Greenhawk was really great. Every time I placed an order it was shipped in a timely manner and they’d always include a little gift with my purchase like a hoof pick, sweat scraper, or gloves.
I love this little backpack purse I bought from Greenhawk online in the 2000’s. I loved it so much when it arrived, I immediately ordered another one! Why doesn’t Greenhawk sell this good stuff anymore?
Over the years Greenhawk stopped adding the little thank you gifts with their mail orders. They also expanded, and now there are retail shops across Canada, greatly eliminating the need for shopping online.
The closest Greenhawk to me is in Langley, BC, about a 20 minute drive from my house. I’m in there several times a year buying things for myself and my horses.
In December all the Greenhawk stores have a Customer Appreciation Day, which is typically held at night, from 4 or 5pm until closing 8pm. The head office sends out an email about a week or so ahead of time and then another reminder the morning of. Great marketing strategy for December when holiday shopping is in full swing. There are snacks set out, like cookies, cupcakes, egg nog, pop, juice, water and similar. Clients get 15% off purchases and there’s a swag bag with free goodies. The swag bag typically has been a green cloth sack with Greenhawk’s emblem and “I love horses” printed on the other side. They’re great for grocery shopping! The swag varies. Usually something to groom horses, package of horse treats, and I’ve received earrings and a brooch. My ears aren’t pierced and I don’t wear jewelery so not a big deal to me. I like getting the cloth sack, the horse treats, and brushes.
I loved the Sock It To Me socks that I received one year in the swag bag! About a $12 value. Wonderful! Thank you Greenhawk!
Flyer Launch Party
About 3 or 4 times throughout the year, Greenhawk’s head office sends out emails promoting their flyer launch parties. Just like Customer Appreciation Night, it’s held the last few hours – always on a Wednesday night by the way. That’s when Survivor is on TV so I always want to go early enough to Greenhawk, so I can get home in plenty of time to watch Survivor. The flyer launch party is the same as customer appreciation day: snacks, 15% discount, and swag bag. A copy of the flyer is also put inside the swag bag,
I’ve attended a few of these over the past 5 years, the first few years without trouble.
Greenhawk slides downhill
Greenhawk used to be a good company to purchase from, with its little thank you gifts for customers and good quality clothing. Unfortunately they’re sliding. Clothing prices are going up and the quality is going down. I stopped buying socks from Greenhawk after my big toes wore through very quickly.
As the prices went up on horse supplements, I pretty much stopped buying them unless I was getting 15% off on the flyer launch party.
Has everyone heard of Vitamart? They’re in Alberta and have a huge range of dog and equine supplements at cheaper prices than Greenhawk! Guess where I’ve been buying dog and horse supplements for the past few years! Free shipping after $49 which is a much better deal than Greenhawk’s free shipping on orders over $150.
If I go to Vitamart and buy Renewal Beyond Glucosamine for my horse https://www.vitamart.ca/purica-renewal-beyond-glucosamine-1kg.html the price is $53.97 and I’ve already qualified for free shipping, whether or not I buy anything else.
If I go to Greenhawk and put Renewal Beyond Glucosamine into their search engine, I get zippo results. However, I’ve bought it at the Langley Greenhawk a few times, so I know they carry it even though it’s the devil to find online. The cost is $59.99. If you buy on Greenhawk online, you still have to buy another $100 worth of stuff to get free shipping. Or pay $13.95 shipping to send it to BC.
Rip off! Rip off! Rip off!
However, if you can pick it up at the flyer launch party like I did for 15% off, the cost is $50.99.
So, if you time it right, it’s slightly cheaper at Greenhawk. For the other 360 days of the year when you’re paying full price, go to Vitamart for the better deal.
Greenhawk and false advertising
In the fall of 2018 I received the usual email from Greenhawk announcing a flyer launch party with the 15% off and a free swag bag with horse treats and other goodies. I showed up at the Langley store, bought some things, and received a plastic bag instead of the usual cloth bag. Disappointing, but I figure they’re saving money. They sell those bags for $1.99.
I’ve long since deleted that ad, so I can’t say for sure if there was small print on that Greenhawk ad that I missed.
I got home and I had nothing in the swag bag. Not even a flyer. You’d think Greenhawk wants to promote the flyer they’re having this party for. I complained to the head office about getting ripped off on the “swag bag” with free goodies, and received a disinterested response claiming the store must have run out.
I was NEVER told by a Greenhawk employee that I must have missed the small print on the ad saying “limited quantities, first come first serve”.
I arrived at the flyer launch party about 30 minutes after it started. It wasn’t very busy when I got there. Seeing as the cashiers are SLOW at this location, I highly doubt there was a huge rush of hundreds of people in the 30 minutes before I arrived because they’d still be lined up.
Generally people show up after work, so later than 5pm. It is unknown to me whether or not there were any swag bags to begin with at the Greenhawk Langley location. Maybe there were only two or three swag bags for the first few customers.
Greenhawk fools me twice
Greenhawk sent me an email on May 9, 2019 announcing their flyer launch party, with the usual promises.
Look at the bottom right with the free swag bag that includes a bag of apple snacks.
Now take a look at the photo when I opened my bag at home.
You can see in the picture that once again I got a plastic bag instead of a canvas bag. Even though I saw plenty of canvas bags hanging around the cash register area.
I bought a bottle of fly spray, a bag of Stud Muffins (horse treats), a shedding blade, and a bottle of the Renewal Beyond Glucosamine I mentioned above. And my invoice.
There is no swag in my “swag bag”.
There is nothing in my “swag bag” except the items I purchased and the invoice.
There isn’t even a flyer in my “swag bag”. You’d think Greenhawk would toss in one of those, after all they are promoting a “flyer launch party”.
Greenhawk has even gone El Cheapo on the snacks they were serving. There were some tetra packs of juices, a couple of water bottles, a box of Tim Hortons Timbits and two bags of Oreo cookies. Seeing as how I’ve cut down on sweet treats, I was able to resist.
Forget the El Cheapo snacks at this “flyer launch party”. For the second time, I’m positive that Greenhawk is guilty of false and misleading advertising.
Where to report violations of false advertising?
As far as I’m concerned, Greenhawk is guilty of false and misleading advertising, and I’m not going to take it anymore!
This is the page I went on Canada’s Competition Bureau website to fill out the complaint form against Greenhawk: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/frm-eng/GH%c3%89T-7TDNA5
I think Greenhawk is just hoping their clients aren’t going to report them, because I’m sure the advertised “swag bag” was probably valued at around $20 or less. Greenhawk probably hopes their scammed customers are going to walk away.
Read the small print, dumb ass!
I have a very smart reader who was able to point out what I missed and what every Greenhawk employee I dealt with also missed!
The small print.
Wow! Someone has sharp eyes. And is smarter than me and every Greenhawk employee put together! Ha ha!
Let’s take a closer look.
Look at the small print in the bottom right. When I’m wrong, I own up to it. That definitely says “while quantities last”.
I am not a victim of Greenhawk’s false advertising. I’m a victim of Greenhawk’s small print!
I apologize for accusing Greenhawk of false advertising. What is really wild is that no one at Greenhawk disagrees that I’m a victim of false advertising. This includes the staff at Greenhawk’s head office who read this post after I directed them to it. No one said “Not misleading marketing. Read the small print, dumb ass”. Utter disinterest from Greenhawk.
It took one disinterested person who has nothing to do with Greenhawk, and is probably more disinterested than the Greenhawk employees I dealt with, to point out the advertising is not false.
So now I’ll call it sneaky advertising.
Be smart with our finances!
As women, we must be smart with our finances. We want to cut back on expenses, increase our income, and save our money. We can save money by shopping when things are on sale, and taking up offers on freebies for things that are useful for us.
Spending our money with the anticipation of receiving a freebie in return is great, if we can afford it and the freebie gives us enough value to justify the money we laid out to get it.
Getting scammed by false advertising, lured in with the promise of a “swag bag” with free goodies serves as a lesson to all of us. No matter how smart we are with our money, we can still get taken in by a scam.
Watch Out for the Small Print on Greenhawk Ads
In this case, I am wrong about being a victim of false advertising. Instead, like so many other people, I’m a victim of not reading the small print.
Greenhawk made a sneaky representation of a free swag bag with goodies to entice customers to come into their store and make purchases.
While quantities last.
I can’t even say that I got roped in by the old bait and switch scam and received a different product. Greenhawk didn’t switch anything. I got nothing! Zippo. Zero. Broken promises!
I was roped in by the general impression from Greenhawk’s ad that I would receive a free swag bag and one of the items I’d receive would be a bag of apple snacks.
The question is, if I had noticed the small print about limited quantities, would I have bothered going into Greenhawk to make these purchases? Would I have gone in to shop at Greenhawk, but for the promise of a swag bag with free goodies?
No, I would not have. I believed the ad and ended up being a victim of Greenhawk’s deceptive marketing practices. For the second time in less than a year!
Have you ever been scammed by a company’s false and misleading advertising? What did you do? Tell us in the comments!
I get the impression that Greenhawk might not be a very good employer. That could explain the general disinterest I received from Greenhawk staff.
Here’s a review I found on Indeed:
You will find similar reviews if you look around Indeed and Glassdoor.
Here’s an interesting story that I would love to know the ending to.
Two Greenhawk employees in Ontario arrived to work and discovered a blood soaked car in their parking lot and phoned the police to report it. It was later discovered to belong to a woman who’d been murdered. No connection to Greenhawk other than the spot the car was dumped.
Within days Greenhawk fired the employees. The fired women allege this was due to the unwanted publicity the murder victim’s car brought to their company.
I found a few articles about the ill timing of firing these employees, but not how the lawsuit ended. If anyone knows the answer – please leave a comment!
Published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on May 16, 2019 and revised on November 30, 2021.
[…] in the window behind the table where I keep my dog supplies. It was inside a swag bag that I got at Greenhawk a year or two before. I must have hung onto it because Ken was hinting, due to his failing eyesight […]
Great read. Glad you complained.
However this can not be said for all Greenhawk stores. Many of the stores are Franchised, which means they are privately owned. The snacks set out are purchased by the owners, costs coming out of their own pockets.
The Swag Bags, again those are purchased out of the budget. Items that come in the Swag Bags don’t come to the store in the hundreds.
Sometimes stores only get 15-20 Swag items, which means unless you’re part of the first rush, you won’t be getting Swag.
I would highly suggest going to your local Greenhawk and discussing your disappointment with them directly. If you go right to the source, they can work harder to fixed problems and keep customers happy. I suspect this is an isolated incident and you would not find this at all Greenhawk locations. Your review is misleading for people.
K, thank you for stopping by! I would rather not have complained at all about Greenhawk.
The Langley Greenhawk is privately owned. It opened 15 years ago and I met the owner at an unrelated event before it opened. She was at my vet’s retirement party because she’d bought his house. Whether or not she still owns the Langley Greenhawk, I do not know.
Nowhere on Greenhawk’s advertising was “limited supply – first come, first serve”. The right thing to do would have been the cashier apologizing and said they’re taking names and phone numbers of the customers who didn’t get a swag bag so they could get one to them as soon as more could be assembled. Instead I got a “sucks to be you” attitude from both the cashier and the head office. And I get it. These are low level, low paid staff who don’t really care. But when I said I was escalating my complaint, the staff should have escalated me to their manager to discuss the false advertising.
You’re probably very right that this might not have happened at other Greenhawk locations, so I don’t know whether or not this was an isolated incident. My review was not misleading. I got ripped off twice in a row, and these events are several months apart, which makes it a pattern. And this ruined a 20 year relationship because I now shop online at Lammle’s and Apple Saddlery so Greenhawk has lost a lot of money from me. Us horsewomen work hard for our money, spend almost of all of it on our horses, and we don’t like getting ripped off.
The flyer shown appears to state “While quantities last” directly in the box that advertises the free swag bag, but you misleadingly say that nowhere on the ad did Greenhawk advertise ‘limited supply – first come – first serve’. Any reasonable person understands that the statement “while quantities last”, the free bags have a set quantity, and once they are given away, there are no more to give away. I highly doubt the government investigated the promotion, and if they did, the marketing was clear and accurate. Greenhawk did not owe every customer a free swag bag and certainly did not need to reach out after the event to provide additional free merchandise. You are right to shop where you wish, but it is a bit unfair to degrade a company because you did not get there in time for a free item.
Hello K. Thank you very much for pointing out what me and every single Greenhawk employee I dealt with missed – the small print! I have revised the article to reflect this and give you credit for being smarter than all of us put together! Wow! Sharp eyes! And yes I’m free to shop where I wish and this past week I have spent a lot of money buying supplements, riding gloves, and a new helmet from Greenhawk’s competition. Greenhawk might not be guilty of false advertising after all, but they’re guilty of what many companies do – sneaky advertising. Some companies won’t alienate customers for disputes of less than $20. Others will. I’m sure Greenhawk makes plenty of profit without my contributions!