What is it about Woolies that makes everyone idolise it like it’s some sort of futuristic shop from out of space? Is it the incredible selection of ready-made meals? The countless grab-and-go snack options? Or is it the fact that you don’t need to stress over which brand to choose because there is only one…..Brand Woolworths!
I think I am very much in the majority when I say I don’t particularly like shopping at Woolies (yes I heard you gasp). I can’t quite put my finger on why I don’t enjoy shopping there but there are a few things that push my buttons. For example, why is nearly every single piece of fruit and veg wrapped in plastic wrap? I’m no crazy environmentalist but wrapping every avocado and broccoli seems ridiculous. And because most things are wrapped it makes it extremely hard to buy a single item like a tomato or one onion. Instead you have to buy a big bag of the item and when you’re a single soul like me I can’t get through them fast enough before they go all sad and mushy.
Another frustration of mine is the lack of brand selection. I have found as I have gotten older I can spend a very long time scouring the aisles trying to find what brands are best value for money. Now, for some people Woolies is a dream come true because they can avoid all this contemplation but for me I really enjoy this. I love finding a good brand on sale, I think I get a hit of endorphins which is rather sad to admit but I’m a stinge. This also probably explains why I don’t like shopping with other people because I could happily spend an hour wondering round a nice Spar like Sea Point and finding the best bargains. But in Woolies I feel restricted and because I can’t compare prices I also feel ripped off, even if I’m not.
The one queue for all checkouts also does my head in. Half the time I walk into a Woolies, look at the super long line and walk out again. Yes, it is a very clever way of getting people to impulse buy, (who hasn’t sneakily added that little packet of chips to your trolly?) but still it feels like you wait in that line for ever.
However, there is one thing I will praise Woolies on and that is their customer service at the checkout. Compared to all other super markets Woolies has by far the best customer service. You always get greeted with a friendly “Hello” and a smile goodbye. Whereas, at Checkers or Pick n Pay the person serving you usually looks like they
would rather be pulling her hair out than scanning your groceries. Well done Woolies for either training your staff really well or for having a work culture where employees want to be nice and have pride in their job.
Woolworths management, I do have to hand it to you because it seems that tourists who come to South Africa are almost guaranteed to mention Woolies as one of their highlights. Expat friends who have moved back to the UK or America always comment on how much they miss Woolworths so they are certainly doing most things right.
Maybe once I have a family or even just a boyfriend I will start enjoying Woolies more, when I have time pressures and bigger issues on my mind, not which brand of chickpeas are cheapest. But for now I am content with slowly making my way around a nice big Checkers or Spar, finding my bargains and then getting into a short line at a checkout and being greeted….. well sometimes.