What is a customer to us?
As a coffee roaster, we define our "customer" as someone who purchases coffee, with special care for those in Ontario. We carry other product lines (eg. Torani and Monin) as a service to those customers.
Everything else (eg. purchases of only Torani or Monin) is a "transaction". These are not our customers.
If a customer is worth $5 and a transaction costs $5, we've not only failed as a business to make the profit necessary to pay our suppliers, employees, bank, service providers, etc. - we've actually wasted valuable time servicing a money-losing transaction that could have been spent on improving service for customers.
We're not against "transactions" at all, in fact we're happy to be a source of hard-to-find brands for Canadians, and are thanked all the time for making it available to them. But transactions have to meet certain criteria. Typically, this involves either ordering more products until the transaction is profitable, or adding coffee to the order. In some cases, the shipping charges are simply so excessive that there's no way to avoid shipping surcharges.
The wonderful thing about the Canadian capitalist market is that if you disagree with our policies, you're free to take your business elsewhere. There are other companies in the U.S. and Canada that sell these products. And we're not under illusions about how important our products are - they're mostly flavoured sugar water (or sugar-free) with caffeine sometimes - not life-saving medication.
Even better - if you really think we're wrong or think that there's a demand to fill your particular need, you're welcome to open a competing business and prove us wrong.
Customer Service Policy
There's a popular opinion that "the customer is always right" and "all customers are valuable and deserve the best treatment", which is oversimplified and clearly incorrect upon a basic analysis.
A "customer" is only valuable if they're profitable. If it costs more money to do business with a customer than they contribute, then that customer isn't worth anything at best - or is worth a negative amount at worst.
For example - two transactions for $100 may either result in $10 of profit, or a $10 loss, depending on shipping costs. That means that one person is worth doing business with, and one person is not, simply because of shipping costs to where they live. Alternatively, they can be turned into a profitable customer through appropriate shipping charges.
This is impossible to tell from outside the accounting department of a company, but is typically why there are "terms and conditions" that carve out exemptions for every product out there.
For a good primer on the subject, we recommend reading "The eMyth Revisited" by Michael Gerber.
Why isn't this on the product page?
If we had warnings on every page that only apply to a minor subset of customers, the clutter would make the page unusable for everybody.
Instead, we keep the website focused on those core customers, and handle anything affecting less than 5% of customers as they arise. If it isn't applicable to our customers (see above) in Ontario that order coffee, it's put in the terms and conditions pages.
Where can I find this product locally?
Selling food products is a difficult business, because of the expiry/best-before dates and sheer number of different products catered to different tastes.
Between Torani and Monin alone, there are over 400 products that have to be sold before the dates on the products, or they are thrown in the garbage.
For perspective, every 1 product thrown away costs the equivalent to 10 products being sold.
That means that businesses that don't have enough sales volume (eg. local businesses) are unable to carry a full product line, because they would lose more money than they make.
That's why it's difficult to find many of the products we sell locally.
We don't offer anything locally that we sell online, except for at our storefront in Windsor, Ontario. Everything else must be purchased online.