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Cashless system of food delivery a necessity

You could call what happened to Gabrielle unfortunate. Or you could say it was a misunderstanding. But when Daphne Nahmiash heard of the incident, she called it by its true name: elder abuse. “Calling the police on a 94-year-old woman is excessively ridiculous and also punitive and scary,” said the chairperson of the NDG Community Committee on Elder Abuse.

The fiasco started one afternoon when Gabrielle, who uses a walker, is hard of hearing and legally blind, needed to order some food for guests who were visiting following a death in the family. Usually Gabrielle relies on her son to do her shopping, but this time she took the initiative. She called her local supermarket and placed a telephone order, believing the store would accept a cheque at the door. She had been told this would be possible both by the clerk at the store and by someone at the store’s head office, who assured her he would call the NDG store and let them know. “I called the store and they confirmed they had received the call,” Gabrielle said.

When the delivery man arrived, he dropped off one box but had to go back to pick up a second box he had forgotten. “When the delivery man came to my door my cheque was all ready,” Gabrielle said. “But when he came back, he said, ‘they won’t accept your cheque. I have to take back the order’.”

Meanwhile, Gabrielle had put the groceries away and didn’t want a stranger going through her cupboards. She told him to leave or she would call the police.

Instead, the delivery man did so, even though he had just seen Gabrielle’s son enter the home. “He could have asked me to pay, but didn’t bother,” recounted Mark, her son, who asked not to be referred to by his real name. “I could have settled the whole thing right there.”

Though the police were polite, the incident left Gabrielle shaken. “Being a heart patient I get out of breath. At 94 you’re more fragile; everything affects you very badly, even small things,” she said. Mark was also worried about his mother. “What would have happened if she had a heart attack? That night she had to take a bunch of tablets because her heart was racing.”

Mark went to the store to pay the bill, and the owner called Gabrielle to apologize. Still, the experience was very hard on the family.

Seniors want grocery stores to do more for their older clients. Discounted rates or free delivery on special days are of course important, but there must be a system in place that allows seniors to place phone orders and pay through some cashless method, since keeping large amounts of money at home is dangerous.

Luckily some stores do have systems in place, though most are reluctant to take cheques.

“We used to take cheques, but we lost hundreds of dollars every month,” said Maléka Khetani, co-owner of Le Marché du Village in Côte des Neiges. “So now clients give their credit card number over the phone, we enter the information manually into the machine and the client signs to approve the payment at the door.”

The Senior Times would like to compile a list of senior-friendly grocery stores for our annual Resource Directories. If you have a favourite store that will bring you food when you’re snowed in and let you use your credit card at the door, let us know at

PA Supermarket, 1420 Fort, downtown 514-932-0922 Phone orders: 7 days/wk, 8am-9pm Over $25 for seniors, $1 delivery charge Under $25 for seniors, $3 delivery charge Credit card: Provide number on the phone and produce card on delivery. Manager: Lucie Desantis Delivery area: West to Décarie and north to Queen Mary

Provigo, 2300 Lucerne, TMR 514-735-0731 Phone orders: Call Linda Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before 11 am Delivery charge: $5 (no minimum) Credit card: Provide no. on phone and produce card upon delivery and sign for it Cheques: must apply in the store for this right Manager: Amandine Nicolas Delivery area: TMR and some parts of Ville St. Laurent

Metro, Sherbrooke and Victoria Westmount, 514-488-4083 Phone orders: Tuesdays and Wednesdays before 11am No delivery charge for seniors for minimum $35 order. Credit card: provide no. on phone and produce card upon delivery and sign for it Manager: Graham Fletcher Delivery area: in and around Westmount

Le Marché Du Village, 5415 Gatineau Côte des Neiges, 514-735-3611 Phone orders: Monday-Saturday 8am-9pm Delivery charge: $3.25, minimum $25 order Credit card: Give number over the phone, produce card at the door. Manager: Nizar Khetani Delivery area: TMR, CDN, NDG, CSL



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