Thursday, 1 July 2010

8 Blog Posts Or Fewer

I do apologise, dear Worcester Parkers, for my woeful blogging track record during June. It's not for want of things happening in KT4 - just call it a 'blogging holiday'.

Hopefully normal service will be restored during July.

In the the meantime I'm still overwhelmed with shame after being told off/chastised/admonished at Waitrose last week for having 10 items in my basket at the '6 Items Or Fewer' checkout.

I feel too ashamed to show my face again just yet - I wonder how long my period of self-imposed exile should last?

56 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Anonymous said...

So you should feel ashamed. Since the local grocery shop has long disappeared, we mere mortals have to use the large supermarkets and it is extremely frustrating when one has one or two items and in front of them is a selfish shopper with a full basket - and - then want to pay with a credit card - or - want to have their shoppping taken to their car by a employee. !! So there - you have been told off

Kevin Scott said...

Ooooh ... a bit harsh :-) My beef is with the staff in suits who stand around watching as the quick-service till queues make their way down to the delicatessen counter. Here's a thought: put more staff (yourselves, perhaps?) on the tills ...

Martin said...

I do hope someone tutted at you.

Anonymous said...

Queues down to the deli counter - I've never seen WP Waitrose busy at all - OK it has it's moments, but it's certainly not a busy store - I agree what you say about the suits though - it must be one of the worse run Waitrose's in the country - I often drive to New Malden than walk to WP.

Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I work at Waitrose Worcester Park so am disappointed to read the above comments. PLEASE do speak with us in-branch if you have any concerns or want to complain about anything. Feedback is essential to us. We spend an enormous amount of money and time reinforcing and improving our customer service, and this is reflected in our mystery shopper scores. Consistently exceptional customer service is something that we constantly aim to provide.

As far as managers go, they can't work on checkouts because then there would be no one running the branch or individual sections. Our Partners are moved around the branch to suit individual patterns of trade.

Worcester Park said...

I have to say I've never seen queues stretching down to the deli-counter - indeed even at Christmas I've barely seen them stretching into the nearest aisle.

coffee man said...

I agree with anonymous partner they work really hard to provide an excellent service. i have been shopping there for many years and have not had cause to complain. In fact one of the reasons for shopping there is the lack of queues.
i just will not shop in a store that has queues in fact i have been known on several occasions to abandon my full trolley in a certain store in North Cheam because of delays at the tills.

i say give full marks to Waitrose for their great service .And no i am not a 'Partner' nor are any members of my family.

Mr E Shopper said...

I shop at Waitrose in WP because I'm more than willing to pay a little bit extra for the great service that I get.

The staff there are always friendly and helpful and will pack my bags for me.

Compare this to the charmless munts in Iceland who are too busy chatting with each other to even make eye contact let alone acknowledge your existence. And they don't even wait until you've finished packing your own shopping before shoving the next customer's products along the conveyor belt.

Then there is the awful Sainsbury's Local which has THE most rude and lazy staff ever (yes, Nick, I mean you).

It's Waitrose all the way for me!

Kevin Scott said...

Hmmm... just to be clear: the staff on the tills and behind the counters are excellent. Helpful, friendly, courteous. No problems there at all...

Anonymous said...

In reply to the Waitrose employee - what a load of trash you are speaking, myself and I know many of my friends have all complained and nothing has ever been done - the complaints were not one-offs either, many times, complaining about the same thing - get your act together - cos this Waitrose fails miserably to help the people who shop there.

The Parkerilla said...

18 months or so ago on a Sunday morning I was sitting on a pew listening to a sermon by a well known local vicar (and highly respected member of the WP community) on the subject of faith and he said that when he is patiently standing in the 6 items or less queue at WP Waitrose with not one more item than 6 in his basket and the person in front has about 19 items and makes a big thing about insisting on being served, and they want some cigarettes as well [and I quote] "that tests my Christian faith to the very limit". Can't remember the chap's name Keith Scone I think, or something like that.

J Zuzz said...

I remember once when I was waiting in the 6 items or fewer queue, there was a bloke with at least 12 items in his basket ahead of me.

All of a sudden a bolt of lightning descended from the sky and wiped him out.

The chap behind me was laughing his head off - can't remember his name; Kurt Stone I think, or something like that.

Anonymous said...

mr e shopper
you should be a shame of yourself, you seems to dislike everyone in WP why dont you just move from it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment that most of the staff on the tills and behind the counters are excellent. Helpful, friendly, courteous - it's the management which are the problem - when is the last time you saw one at this store? I'm not the same Anon as above, and I too have complained on many occasions to no avail. To give due credit, it is the staff on the tills and behind the counters who run this store and generate the income - unfortunately, they do not make decisions, which is where the manager comes into the equation.

Anonymous said...

I've found the staff in both Waitrose and Iceland very helpful, and similarly true in most of the high street. Mind you, I suppose it might be because I go there simply to do some shopping, rather than to find someone to shout at.

Susie Cutie said...

I hadn't even realised it was 6 items or less, I thought it was for people with baskets. You lot must have been cursing me!! How hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Me again, the Waitrose Partner!

The main issue here seems to be that people feel that their complaints aren't taken seriously. This is so disappointing to hear because, as I said, we spend so much time focusing on customer service. 'Anonymous' might think I'm talking trash but I can assure them that it's true. If anyone feels that their complaints haven't been taken seriously then I can only apologise and ask you to keep letting us know.

We have plenty of managers in our branch; if you ever need to speak with one but can't find one, just let one of us know.

I should also point out that Waitrose is run very differently to other supermarkets. We do not have shareholders; the company is owned by us, its employees. As such, each Partner is actively involved in decision-making and in the direction of the business. Managers of course have authority but we each influence the business and have a say. That is why we care so much about our customers. It's not something we do because we have to, but because we want to. Hence why it's so disappointing to hear negative comments like the ones above.

Thanks for the support from some of the above posters!

Anonymous said...

Me again, the Waitrose Partner!

The main issue here seems to be that people feel that their complaints aren't taken seriously. This is so disappointing to hear because, as I said, we spend so much time focusing on customer service. 'Anonymous' might think I'm talking trash but I can assure them that it's true. If anyone feels that their complaints haven't been taken seriously then I can only apologise and ask you to keep letting us know.

We have plenty of managers in our branch; if you ever need to speak with one but can't find one, just let one of us know.

I should also point out that Waitrose is run very differently to other supermarkets. We do not have shareholders; the company is owned by us, its employees. As such, each Partner is actively involved in decision-making and in the direction of the business. Managers of course have authority but we each influence the business and have a say. That is why we care so much about our customers. It's not something we do because we have to, but because we want to. Hence why it's so disappointing to hear negative comments like the ones above.

Thanks for the support from some of the above posters!

Kathie said...

For a truly gruelling queuing experience, try the Worcester Park branch of Santander. Take a hefty book with you though as you may be some time.

Carl said...

@Anonymous Waitrose Partner.

As you each influence the business and have a say, do you think you might try to influence prices down a little bit? Not much, just to normal supermarket prices.

Thanks. :)

Kendo said...

I don't often visit Waitrose but on the occasions I have it's been a pleasant experience.
My comment though is in response to Mr E Shopper...in defence of the "awful Sainsbury's local", I've been in there a number of times since moving to the area in the past year and have experienced nothing but politeness and efficiency!
I have no affiliations with Sainsubury's - shareholder, partner or otherwise... :-)

Anonymous said...

My vote is always with Sainsbury's and the staff at Sainsbury's local are lovely.

As for Waitrose, the food is good but it's a shame about the people. I once had good reason to complain about a member of staff in Waitrose...which didn't seem to go down well with the other staff, let's just say I don't think some members of staff have ever forgotten it and I was shocked by the behaviour of one delightful lady. I'm sure there are some good staff at Waitrose, but they do seem to have a bit of a major problem with one or two of them and if those people are "partners" then that's well and truly worrying.

Nichu said...

I love Waitrose. The Worcester Park one is particularly nice, a joy to shop in. You never have to wait that long compared to Sainsbury's and if you do wait, the person on the till apologises. The store is always really well stocked and nicely presented. The fruit and veg lasts a lot longer than in other shops, you get what you pay for. And even then, many products are cheaper than elsewhere. And the John Lewis Partnership model as outlined above is just the icing on the cake. I guess the only sad thing is that because Waitrose is so good I don't tend to go to the other shops very often.

Gordo's neighbour said...

I chuckled when reading from Anon who said he/she'd rather drive to Waitrose New Malden than walk to WP - I happen to know the manager of Waitrose New Malden and he's a resident of WP and shops at WP!

Gordo's neighbour said...

Kevin Scott - on the man in suits, one of them went out of his way to help a lady with her bags on Saturday when I was there. She only had a paraplegic husband/partner in a wheelchair - she hadn't asked for help, but he came right across to the far check out and ask to take her bags. And I've seen numerous times, staff taking elderly around the aisles. Not perfect, but still not half bad. Never seen the same happen at Tesco/Sainsbury.

Anonymous said...

I thank the Waitrose partner for taking the time to respond here, and I'd say that they are a credit to the company - you've certainly impressed me more that the store manager I've spoken to in the past. I'm one of the "anons" above, but lets not dwell in the past - lets move forward and turn this store into the one we all want, customers and partners alike. I appreciate that Waitrose is run differently - that's why I shop there and search one out wherever I am in the country. Please bring this to the attention of the store manager and your colleagues and help make this a leading store - one of my favorites for customer service and product choice is Clapham Junction - I also hope that you get their bakery ovens soon. Good luck and thank you for taking time to communicate via this excellent and powerful forum.

Anonymous said...

Well I can sympathise as I was in Waitrose a few weeks ago and got ticked off by a fellow customer. Some posh old lady with a basket full of organic veg took one look at my basket and said sarcastically “oh that’s a healthy diet”. To be fair, my basket did contain 2 bottles of wine, a bottle of vodka and a couple of frozen pizzas. But I felt that the principle of “mind your own business” should still apply.

I have to say that having never been in a Waitrose until a year ago, I’m completely won over. You do notice the difference with the excellent customer service and can tell employees have a different attitude than the drones you encounter in other chains. And the high prices genuinely seem to go to providing better quality food rather than just ripping you off with nicely packaged rubbish in order to boost excessive profits for shareholders (like some other supermarkets I could mention).

Anonymous said...

What!!! A manager helped a paraplegic person in a wheelchair? Fantastic!

Seriously, the checkout staff are very good with people and especially with those who need extra help, or even just a friendly ear. But sometimes they don't seem to be well supported by the people supervising them.

Waitrose Partner said...

It's great to hear so many positive commenst!

Carl, with regards to our prices: on branded items, we are now within 4% of our main competitors (that's either 4% cheaper or more expensive). Our own brand products will always be a little more expensive because we never compromise on quality. We are a small company compared to some others, which means smaller volumes and higher cost prices for us. And we never squeeze our suppliers, who are after all the future of our food and farming...

Anonymous said...

I have never once found so much as one item cheaper in Waitrose than elsewhere.
For my regular shopping list I found the items all to be from 10 to 30 per cent dearer.
The staff have evidently been trained to parrot a stock phrase when the high prices are mentioned - "it depends what you buy".
Some of their "offers" have actually been dearer than ASDA's and Morrison's normal prices.
As to staff, rather too many of those inherited from Somerfield had an 'attitude', which should have been dealt with by proper retraining, but they have evidently mostly retired now.
What I could never figure was what that morbidly obese woman, who stood near the staff telephone on the public side of the checkouts, was employed to do!
That there used to be more staff than customers says it all.
Rarely have to queue in Sainsbury's North Cheam, just head straight for the DIY scanners.
Usually it's Morrison's for me - great wet fish counter, by the way. The quality easily matches that in Waitrose, and is considerably cheaper.

Andrew said...

I'm glad Morrisons has a good fresh fish counter, seeing as everything else they sell there is mechanically reclaimed! You totally get what you pay for with waitrose, and I think our local is a pretty good store. Never had a problem with the staff.

If you want to pay a little less, use ocado!

I think the staff in sainsburys are generally just shelf staggers with nor much knowledge of anything they sell, and invariably aren't able opine or give suggestions about any of their products!

And it's always busy in sainsburys, especially when they only have half or a quarter of checkouts open at peak times. And too many people using the self checkouts don't know how to actually use them to make them efficient!

Joeymuz said...

Wow. So pleased I stumbled across these comments. I just want to add how much I like the WP Waitrose. You get what you pay for. Service is always good and it's lovely to shop there.

Waitrose Partner said...

I can assure the above poster that our branded items are sometimes cheaper than our main competitors, and our signage indicates products on which we have price matched. However, I won't claim that Waitrose will ever be a cheap place to shop. It won't, but I believe that we will always offer true value due to the quality of our products. Price is not the prime concern of our core customer base; quality and service come first for them.

I don't think it is mature or kind to verbally insult our staff.

Rob The Snob said...

I don't WANT Waitrose to be cheaper! I'm sorry, but I love Waitrose because it is isn't Iceland.

I like the fact that I can shop there and the aisles are clear and the queues short.

I like the fact that I don't wander past staff propped up outside the back of the store smoking.

I like the fact that the place isn't full of fat chavs effin'n'jeffin at their kids as they waddle around shovelling frozen nuggets and cheap pizzas into their trolleys.

I like the fact that if you ask where something is, the staff will take you there rather than just shrugging or pointing.

I like the fact that they help you pack your bags rather than just blanking you and shoving items as fast as they can across the scanner.

So sorry, but I love Waitrose and am more than happy to pay the little extra. If you want cheap, go to Iceland!

Rebecca said...

I also like it and have never seen a queue. I think all the staff are extremely helpful too. And you can't beat the green tokens for a lovely end to the shopping experience!

Murf61 said...

I've been shopping in Waitrose since it opened and have never had a problem, other than with annoying customers who let their snotty kids play with the fresh bread - ugh! It is always well stocked, the staff are friendly and helpful and the shop is very clean and tidy.

My only suggestion would be to keep the ciggatette counter just for people buying cigarettes, please

Albert said...

If I'm totally honest, the main problem with this branch is the Manager, or should I say part-time manager. Thankfully, his junior staff keep this store going.

Moderator - please consider removing the offfensive comment above - yhis is not what this blog is about.

Waitrose Partner said...

Albert, I'd be interested to know your thoughts on our Branch Manager...

Jeff said...

Tesco is still King of the Supermarkets because they have a 'Finest' range that competes with Waitrose and M&S Food; their mid-priced range that competes with Sainsbury and Morrisons; and their 'Value' range that competes with Lydl and Asda.

So at Tesco, you get six supermarkets in one store. The present store at Shannons Corner, big though it is, is hopelessly overcrowded most of the time. That's why we need that second Tesco on the Toby Jug, Tolworth, site that LibDem M.P. Ed Davey killed off a couple of years ago (to please the sad collection of, er, 'cosmopolitan' shops in Tolworth).

Anybody heard of Ed Davey lately by the way? He was always in the news - then the LibDems join the Tories in Government and Ed becomes the invisible man. To give him his due, he is honest and hardworking which is more than one can say for most of those barstewards.

Worcester Park said...

Whilst I have your attention Mr/Mrs Waitrose, is there any reason why New Malden's Waitrose has those self-scan handsets (so shoppers can scan in their produce as they shop) and Worcester Park doesn't.

I appreciate that New Malden, being part of North Korea, is much more technologically advanced, but us Worcester Parkers feel very left out.

Don't you trust us to scan our own goodies?

BenjyP said...

What about Costcutter, the staff are quite cheery and if you are looking for a great selection of sweets, crisps and other mystery and previously unseen snacks it can't be beat. Admittedly their other ranges lack the depth provided by Sainsburys and Waitrose.

Waitrose Partner said...

Jeff, I'd take issue with the suggestion that Tesco's so-called 'Finest' range competes with our products, particularly in terms of animal welfare. We've just been voted Compassionate Supermarket of the Year.

Worcester Park, I can assure you that we do trust our customers! We've wanted Self Scan for years but won't be implementing it to due various commercial reasons, plus a lack of space. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many pro-Waitrose postings on this thread are from Waitrose employees, their family and friends. Of course, we will never know.
I shall never understand why people are happy to pay more for the self-same items in Waitrose than elsewhere. Snobbery must be an element. The "fresh" (universal misnomer) fruit and veg is no better than elsewhere, and you only have to cross the road to Ross Fruiterers to find the best quality for miles around, and genuinely friendly staff. Support your local family-run shops, when they give quality and value, rather than the chain stores. Unless it is too far to walk from your car, in which case no amount of fruit'n'veg will help you.
And a test question - if your daily newspaper cost more in Waitrose than elsewhere, would you still buy it there? I rather think not.
What I will give Waitrose credit for - or rather the people responsible, who rarely get a word of thanks - is the cleanliness of their toilets.
As for the nonsense of those green tokens, they are treating their customers like children.

Anonymous Waitrose Shopper said...

I find it bizarre that someone would take such offence at the green tokens!?

Anyway, while I agree with the argument to support local traders, they need to move with the times in order to make me want to do that. Does Ross offer organic? Last time I went in there - which was some time ago - they didn't. Does the butcher's? Again, last time I looked they didn't and there was a distinct lack of information on the providence of the products.

Now let's not go off on a tangent about the merits or otherwise of organic (there's a great many other forums to do that) and just accept that, where possible, I prefer to buy that which last time I looked I couldn't in the local shops.

Waitrose, although not perfect, does try the best of the main chains to offer ethical and sustainable food, something the local shops don't do.

Anonymous said...

Quote "Worcester Park, I can assure you that we do trust our customers! We've wanted Self Scan for years but won't be implementing it to due various commercial reasons, plus a lack of space. Sorry!"

Lack of space? Rubbish - when was the last time you went to Esher - they lack space and have self scan.

Albert said...

"Waitrose Partner said...
Albert, I'd be interested to know your thoughts on our Branch Manager..."

Firstly, the branch manager is conspicuous by his absence - hardly surprising as he's covering two stores. On the rare occasions that I've seen him he walks around as if he "owns" the place - not very approachable and basically he's not very customer focussed.

Waitrose Partner said...

Anonymous, seeing as I work there I think you'll find that I know more about the Self Scan situation than you. I'd thank you if you didn't refer to my comment as "rubbish". You know nothing of how much space we have in our warehouses; you are thinking purely of the shop floor.

Albert, I'm sorry to hear that you feel that way. Our Branch Manager would be disappointed that you feel that way and he regularly has long chats with customers!

Nichu said...

I'm not hugely bothered about not having self scan, as I never have to wait too long anyway. If you do have to wait, then the cashiers apologise for the wait. The fruit and veg definitely lasts longer than elsewhere in my opinion, and the newspaper question is irrelevant as it costs the same at Waitrose. I write a shopping list and stick to it, so I don't get tempted by the expensive things, so I don't spend any more than I would elsewhere. I like the green tokens - if nothing else it's a good way of finding out about the local charities. I don't work for Waitrose, nor am I related to anyone who works there, I just think it's a good company. The main reason I don't go to local shops very often is because I tend to do my shopping at 7pm after work, when most shops have closed.

Anonymous said...

"You know nothing of how much space we have in our warehouses; you are thinking purely of the shop floor."

Dare I ask what does warehouse space got to do with provision of self scan machines? or is another thing that we are not entitled to at WP?

Waitrose Partner said...

I can't go into details here about the physical operation of our systems, but why else would we not have Self Scan installed? You seem to have some kind of bizarre notion that we are acting out of stubbornness. Its introduction may happen one day but it isn't currently viable. We'd like to have it but it simply isn't possible at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Dear Waitrose Partner, I appreciate that you may not wish to go into detail, but as someone with many years experience working in IT, the server required to run self scan should be no bigger than a box of wine - I have no notion that you are being stubbon, for me this store is clearly second (correction) 3rd rate. It does not provide the same as other stores in terms of facilities or products. Even the excellent wine chiller was removed.

Waitrose Partner said...

Well I'm sorry that you feel that way. We work very hard for our customers so it's disappointing that a minority is unhappy with the branch. Some branch improvements may be on the way next year.

Anonymous said...

........... On the other habd they may not ...

Is there a possibility of a new manager?

WP_Lifer said...

I think perhaps the staff on the '6 items or fewer' checkout in Waitrose need to be more proactive when it comes to customers who blatantly ignore the protocol.

Having been behind someone who had 12 items at this counter at the weekend, I would have liked to have seen the staff member who was serving to have simply scanned in the first 6 items he pulled out and then flatly refused to put through any more!

Just a suggestion.......

Jacey said...

Yes I agree totally but I'm not sure I'd really want the job of "stating the bloody obvious" to someone who can't read or be bothered. I mean the basket only etc queue is there for a purpose.

But then again I've stood and gradually got the hump watching people using 15 carrier bags in Sainsbury's North Cheam and not caring. Sainsbury's also have the cheek to have a notice thanking people for halfing their carrier bag usage - oh really! The argument I got from my neighbour who cannot be bothered with this "caring for the environment or recycling business" is that if she spends £50 then she deserves to take their bags. Even when I point out that she has a car and could keep them in the car I know I'm wasting my time.

Waitrose Partner said...

If our Checkout Partners are on that particular till and are confronted with a customer who has too many items, they are supposed to politely explain the policy to the customer so that they know for the future.

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