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A common complaint across the country is that Canadian Tire stores advertise items at attractive sale prices, but those stores don't carry sufficient stock. People come for the sale items, but the can't get any.

They might be tempted to just buy a similar item at a higher price. And while they are in the store, they might buy other items, too, increasing the CT store's profits without the store having to honour the sale price.

In some cases, the sale item might be a 'loss leader', where the store loses money on the sale item, but hopes to make up for it by selling you other stuff with a higher margin. If they don't have any loss-leader items to sell you, then the store gets all the profit, without having to sell things at a loss.

This sounds a lot like "Bait and Switch", which is illegal in Canada, but somehow Canadian Tire seems to be pulling stunts like this, week after week!

The other common complaint is that people can spend a lot of time and gas getting to & from the store, but don't come away with the bargains they'd been promised. Maybe not illegal, but certainly annoying and possibly expensive for people who fall for these Crappy Tire Tricks.
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Here's an example, from CT's own Facebook page:

Joanne Case Can. Tire annoys me no end. Every time I go to my local store for an advertised special, on the morning of sale, they have none in stock, didnt come in, or are sold out. How can this be in two hours. Think I would rather shop at Rona or Home Depot. Might pay a little more but at least I can get what I want.
Winter Flyer (Sale starts Feb 8th) advertised a Gerber knife on sale @ 50% off. Went to CT store on #3 Road in Richmond, BC at opening time on Feb 8th. None in inventory. "Associate" suggests another brand of knife, I decline. He then tells me stock of the Gerber knife will arrive on Feb 25th and I could get a raincheck. Went to Cust. Service and horrible lady refuses to give me a raincheck, saying that it was a "discontinued item". What? If this wasn't blatant bait and switch, then I don't know what is.
Another example from CT's fb page:

Andrew Gee Hi Canadian Tire. I have a customer complaint. I was just at your one of your stores in Kitchener (on Ottawa st.) today. I was trying purchase the SunRype 100% Juice that was advertised on your flyer for 4 for $5. I was at the store and i asked the stock person that was there in that aisle if there was any and was none, which was fine. So I went to customer service desk and asked them for a raincheck. So the customer service called up on the computer that product and found out that there was 60 cartons of them in stock. I told the customer service that there was none in stock. They called up the stock room person and found out there was some and told me to go back to the aisle to meet the person there I waited more than 20 mins and no one showed up. So I went back to the customer service and asked them for a raincheck again. and they told me that they will not issue a raincheck if there computer system says if there is some in stock. and they told me to wait some more for the stock stock person to come and give it to me.so i waited for another 10 mins for only the person not to show up again. So I told the customer service that i will come back another day to get it, (Which I will not)

1. So why is your customer product service is so crappy that you guys have to make your customers wait more than 30mins to only find out that your staff is not going to show up.

2. Why is your computer system show the quantity of the product inaccurately? (it showed 60 cartons of juice, when there isn't any)

Aaron Stone Just had the most disappointing experience at Canadian Tire. Got an ad that had this item on sale. Great deal! I called around, possibly anticipating some issues getting it in, but I'd get a raincheck and no worries. I can wait. Not so much. Even though there is NO indication that the item has been discontinued, and no alternatives that are even CLOSE to the product in price or quality are being offered, the store manager says we can't get the product. "I can give you a raincheck, but I probably can't get it in". "Might be some in the warehouse, but I can't find out for 24 hours". What?!!! How is this good for Canadian Tire? What terrrible service and misleading advertising. BOOO Canadian Tire! Lifetime Shatterguard Backboard with Powerlift Pole, 52-in | Canadian Tire
Response on the CT Facebook page re: St. Patrick's day and the clover photo:

Sandy Campbell It should be 4 leaf clover ah well with Canadian tire something is always missing. Just like when something is on sale. Hehehe!
More on CT's FB page:

D.w. Marchwell Not impressed at all with this most recent flyer. The Kingsway Edmonton store did not have any of the items I went to buy. I don't bother with scratch and save any more and I've learned not to expect anything from the bored 20-somethings that seem more interested in chatting than helping someone who actually went out of his way to spend money. I guess they'll learn their lesson when enough people stop shopping there and they get laid off.
Anyone else detect a pattern here? LOL!

Florence J.: hate it when they have sales on when u go to buy something thats in the flyers when the flyers start and they are all out. and thats the day the flyers start, its like that in antigonish anyway
Story from today:

Marty S.: must be nation-wide because i have the same problems at the stores here in moncton,n.b...go into the store to pick up a flyer item only to spend 1/2 hr. looking for something that isnt even in the store...princess auto is junk but at least i can always find what i am looking for
Patrick P.: Canadian tire have no customers service that's for sure , last time I went there for something that was on sale they told me there's no more so I waited walk around just to see a white lady getting the same item they told me finish. The workers hide the items on sale for their friends. Rather go Walmart
Ronnie D.T.: slawson vachon if your husband is gm of canadian tire tell him to order a new manger for the greenwood nova scotia store. Every time there is something good is on sale in the flyer. The dam store never has it in stock or they keep it in the back until the sale comes off.
Steve O.: Tried to get a replacement hose for a power washer I bought there last year. 3 times they gave me the wrong part. Then they said call the manufacturer to get part. Siminoz was the product and couldn't figure out what I needed either. I put the $300 washer in the garbage can and bought a new one from princess auto. Thanks for wasting my time and money cnd tire. Train your staff.
Victoria U.C.: Oh I have a review!! Everytime I go into our darn store in Stouffville, they do not have the stock!!!! Very frustrating when I have to travel around to get what I want. I am not starting to immediately throw their flyer in the garbage. Why look? They won't have it. grrrrrr

Victoria U.C.: this is an automated message? why bother? will you bring in more stock to our store? no!
Angela R.C.: your flyers are great but when you go to buy something in the flyer they do not have any on the first day of the sale first thing in the morning...please get it right otherwise I like Canadian Tire but that really burns my....... Orillia
Darcy E.: I'm wondering why whenever I go for one of your "sales", they never have them in stock. Is the bait and switch technique a common practice with Canadian Tire, or is i just at my local store?
Elaine M.: I visited Timmins Canadian Tire store on Sunday, May 19th (was away the 1st 2 days of the sale) to purchase a 21-speed bike which was advertised in the 3 day flyer. Was told they were sold out and I requested a raincheck but told no rainchecks allowed. Other products specifically stated "Sorry, no rainchecks" but this particular item did not. Attitude from staff was that I was bothering them (except for the young guy in automotive). I even stated that the raincheck policy was not stipulated and I was then told it was store policy. When I got home I went to the Canadian Tire website and sent a message about the negative experience. If you want to keep me as a valued customer, I should still be able to order the bike at the sale price plus be compensated due to the frustration and travel time (I live about 20-25km away). I need to purchase a 2nd set of new tires and rims for my 2nd vehicle and the outcome of this will determine where I purchase my next set.