Monday, 31 January 2011

Sent Packing

I see that Iceland is going to be closed for refurbishment for one week from 6th February (although it seems they can't wait that long and have already started dismantling the ceiling in anticipation).

Admittedly the closure won't affect me too much as I (along with Andrew Collins, the Leo Sayer-alike, and not-Alan-Titchmarsh) am an ardent Waitrose devotee.

On the subject of Iceland, though, what is it with their policy of only packing one item into the carrier bag for you and then leaving you to do the rest? Are they packing the first item for me just so I can get an idea of the technique?

Meanwhile in the haven that is Waitrose there appears to have been a shocking breakdown of their normally faultlessly polite packing of bags, which can surely only be a precursor to the downfall of the middle classes and mass disorder on the streets of Worcester Park.

First there was the indignity of being served by  a New Person last week who was not au fait with the principle of not shoving items through the scanner at 100 MPH and not moving on to serve the next customer before the last has finished packing. Shudder.

Then on Saturday (having carefully opened by bag-for-life) my items were scanned and left on the side and I was bluntly instructed 'you can pack those when you are ready' (I was minded to declare that I wasn't ready, and would Tuesday suit)?

It was almost more than I could cope with.

17 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

G. said...

"...and not moving on to serve the next customer before the last has finished packing. Shudder."

When confronted by this breed of cashier I make sure to finish my packing before I pay.

axlrocky ( tsch tsch ) said...

ouch wp blogger, damning review of what is a fantastic store in comparison to some.usually agree with you on every level but must disagree here, waitrose staff have always been more than helpful, shame on you, could be worse we could have a lidl there!

Caldbeck said...

When I go to the checkout in Iceland I'm made to feel like i'm being rude for interrupting their conversations! Sometimes they carry on talking whilst scanning my items at 100mph and then watch me grumpily out of the corner of their eye while I made the point of packing before I pay. Waitrose are way better normally, admittedly the newer, younger staff do need reminding occasionally from their supervisors how they should treat customers but the majority of staff there are lovely and don't even compare with Iceland's own brand of "customer service."

Anonymous said...

Iceland has not improved then?

When I was last walking on crutches and in plaster I made the mistake of buying a few items in Iceland a few years ago.

I was clearly too slow in packing and paying for the cashier [crutches are needed to move around so it does slow you down having both hands full already].

She was incredible rude to me suggesting that I should not be out and shopping if I could not manage at her speed - I was under 50 at the time so how did she treat older people?

I've not been back since - well would you?

I agree about Waitrose, I'm having the same issues presently and the staff have been nothing but kindness.

The (angry) Dutchman said...

Oh, so it's YOU lot I'm always stuck behind at the checkout. Sure, spend as long as you like carefully packing your shopping, looking surprised when it's time to pay, rummaging around for your wallets / purses. It's not like there's anyone else that might want to be served. It's not just about YOU :O/

minigee said...

I went into Iceland once about ten years ago, never again. Haven't encountered rudeness from Waitrose staff - only ever cheerful helpfulness, even when I dropped a bag on the floor and broke a bottle of pasta sauce. I expect the newbie will get the hang of things soon.

Sometimes other customers stand too close behind me, which is really annoying, but not I think exclusively Worcester Parkian bad behaviour as it has happened to me in Sainsburys North Cheam too. Respect my personal space people!!!

Still haven't spotted Leo Sayer, could we get a Rufus Sewell lookalike please?

Anonymous said... the comment.

I find waitrose pretty good and the staff are always polite.

As for slow shoppers, why to those that are not working and have all day Monday to Thursday decide to shop at the weekends and Friday evenings.

I believe that they only pretend to be slow and stupid and are laughing at me behind glazed confused eyes.

Anonymous said...

As a general rule of thumb.

The difference between those that shop and work in Iceland and Waitrose, is that those in Waitrose know how to read and spell the name of the shop they are in.

The application form for an Iceland job simply has "Name" on the top......get it right and your in. LOL

axlrocky said...

off topic....does anyone else have a house like mine full of bags for life that you always forget to reuse when going shopping.

Iceland fan said...

I think that people are being very unfair about Iceland - we've started buying bread and milk there regularly - it's cheaper than anywhere else and I cannot fault the staff there. They are all very friendly and helpful.

As for Waitrose, the Partner on this blog did say that we could expect some changes this year - maybe this is the way forward. Waitrose is my favourite store too, but not WP, which I think is one of the worse I've been to. The staff are very good and helpful, but what this store lacks is management - it seems to run without any form of management!

Jules said...

Waitrose may be rather pleasant, and middle class etc, but the staff and customers really are annoyingly slow.
I prefer the younger faster service, and lower prices at sainsburys

Jacey said...

Never had too many problems with Iceland but I dn't go there often enough to get stressed.
As far as dawdling when packing, unlike most people I don't have a car so I need to pack carefully. Last thing I want is everything dashed through at 100mph.
As for carrier bags I re-use mine virtually all the time and end up apologising if I forget them! Don't get me started on carrier bags, my neighbour keeps the carrier bags manufacturers in business, the number she comes home with. Makes my blood boil. There's no real excuse if you have a car but then, if I do ask I always get the "I spend hundreds of pounds so why not" attitude. That's the spirit!

Nichu said...

When I worked on a checkout years ago (not in Waitrose) I thought I was being helpful by putting items through the scanner at 100mph. Oops! I used to time myself to get through the hours of drudgery. As a customer I'm happy for them to get started on the scanning whilst I'm still unloading the trolley.
The other week I was served by a girl who needed my assistance in identifying aubergines, courgettes and sweet potatoes. To my relief she was ok with carrots though.

Anonymous said...


Agree about the slow shoppers in Waitrose they tend to walk around in a daze stopping and leaving their trolleys in the middle of isles etc.

Sometimes I wonder how these people ever managed to get the money to shop in waitrose as I can't imagine them being capable of holding down a decent job.

I can't believe that I've turned into such a moaning old ....

Jeff said...

Leo Sayer and Alan Titchmarsh in Waitrose? I can do better than that, today I saw President Mabarak in Iceland, he was with two goons in ill fitting suits who were looking nervously from side to side.

I heard a couple of customers saying he's been looking at a house in the Hamptons, a sort of safe house if it all goes wrong in Cairo, but was put off by the two and a half hours car drive to get back up Longfellow Road to the high street.

I asked one of the check out ladies in Iceland if it was really him? She replied "**** Off you d***head, I only operate the till not a ****ing news service!".

Well, I only asked.

Anonymous said...


I had also heard about President Mabarak looking at a house in the Hampton’s.

Apparently he is an avid horticulturalist but as a busy President had little free time to potter around and tend to weeds, so was looking for a gardener.

Well, when The President heard that top celebrity and Gardner to the stars Alan Titchmarsh was in Worcester Park he sent his goons down to Iceland to hire him.

I’ve since heard the plans have fallen by the way side as President Marabark is about to be out of a job and will have enough time to tend to his own geraniums.

Anonymous said...

Some of the younger staff at Iceland WPark are quite charmless, others usually the more senior ladies are very pleasant. Having seen the refurb I still don't think it's much of an improvement compared to other Iceland stores.

Bearing in mind that the shop is always busy, what they need is a bigger premises, and not just a few tweaks here and there. At present it is still smaller than the Sainsburys Local at the top of Central Road, but with many more customers.

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