Saturday, 29 October 2011

Life After Waitrose?


Staff bitching about their employer, mucking around in the aisles, overheard singing offensive songs, complaining to each other about customers and swearing on the shop floor - why it can only be the fall and fall of the once great Worcester Park branch of Waitrose.

Of course there are many staff (sorry, partners) in the branch who still uphold the once high standards of Waitrose, but the decline in standards in recent months (particularly in the newer intake, but also spreading to the 'older hands') is so pronounced that there must surely be something behind it. A change of branch manager, perhaps?

Whatever the cause of the collapse of standards in recent months, to Mrs WP an encounter with a surly and unhelpful 'partner' last week was the last straw, and she has vowed to steer clear of the supermarket that she once worshipped and adored.

Quite how successful she will be remains to be seen - for however bad Waitrose in Worcester Park has become recently, the alternatives are hardly a tempting prospect.

I shall keep you posted!

34 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

axlrocky said...

gotta disagree with you WP Blogger, I cant afford to shop there regularly but when funds permit it is a dream compared to the sub continent adventure that is Tesco or the socially confused staff at Sainsbury's. Be careful what you wish for Mrs WP Blogger!

Graham said...

I go there weekly and last time I was there, the service was 100%. But if it is slipping, please stop the rot...

Spamcan said...

We shop in Waitrose a couple of times a week. Staff have always been polite and use there brains when parking their cages to fill shelves unlike JS NorthCheam( Where we do our weekly shop). I enjoy a beer brewed in Rock Cornwall (Sharps Doombar) and normally fill the car boot on our visits down there, talking to a staff member about this beer l was informed that they will make enquiries and try to stock it - a few weeks later it was on the shelf. I last shopped on Saturday 29th Oct and asked a staff member to check a sell by date for me, the final comment from that staff member was to ask me with a smile " Is there anything else l wanted." If there are elements of decline it needs to be sorted by supervisors and the rot removed.

Anonymous said...

I think the service on the whole is pretty good. However, the quality of some of the products has deteriated, particularly the beef on the fresh meat counter. Often the prepared veg is often going brown. Definitely not as good and the lighting and layout of the new store is poor.

coffee man said...

Agree, service(staff)/attitude has changed over the last few months ,maybe since the refit ,which is odd .Unless it's the 'new staff' as previously mentioned by others.
Mrs Coffee Man and i now go to the Sainsbury at Kiln Lane for our large weekly shop and have noticed that the fresh veg and meat is better quality than at Waitrose and the wine is a lot cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Don't use Waitrose because of the high prices, but I've recently been to Co-op at The Plough and the service was fairly disdainful each time. Money is taken without a word of thanks by the till staff and no courtesy shown.

Not a great shopping experience down there. Again it could be bad management causing unhappy staff, or else it could just be rude staff. They don't seem to realise that rude service can really turn customers off a place.

Anonymous said...

I too experienced rude and unhelpful staff at The Plough Co-Op so now only use it as a very occasional last resort!
I agree that the Waitrose re-fit has not been a fantastic success but I am always impressed by the staff and their general attitude - head and shoulders better than their local rivals. I'm sure that if any sub-standard attitudes were bought to the managemnets attention it would be speedily and effectively dealt with as they genuinely seem to care.

Happy Shopper said...

Perhaps the managers at Waitrose are simply recruiting staff to mirror the decline in sophistication and social awareness of their more challenging and time consuming customers?

Anonymous said...

I voted the new re-fit of Waitrose the worst shop in Worcester Park. It is dingy, everything stacked too close together and the staff - they are too busy talking amongst themselves to be able to help anyone !!!!!!!!!!! And the queues always means a long waiting time to get out of the shop !!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what everyone is talking about. The staff in Waitrose are always very pleasant and helpful in my experience. Let's not slag off one of the best shops in Worcester Park, if you have a problem then report it to the management - moaning about it really isn't going to help.

Need a torch said...

The only thing wrong with Waitrose is the awful lighting, are they using energy saving bulbs? It looks like it.

Sue said...

I think that the management at Waitrose would be of more use jumping on a till at their busy times, instead of trying to persuade customers to use the self service tills that are not what everybody wants.

wonder woman said...

went in to Waitrose at the weekend and saw that the ice-cream cabinet was empty - a case of e-clary ???

Anonymous said...

Comments and complaints have been made to Waitrose Worcester Park about their service and the awful lighting and it is returned with a shrug !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mrs WP Blog sounds like a hard woman to please. Well best of luck to you both in finding somewhere better but I don’t rate your chances. Waitrose’s new layout is not great, especially the freezer section, but I managed to get used to it after all of 2 visits! But then it’s beyond me why anyone would prioritise shop layout and lighting above things like food quality and customer service and on this Waitrose beats the competition hands down in my view. I admit that I have seen a slight decline in customer service from a very high benchmark but i’ve also had 3 occasions in recent months where staff have gone over and above to help. I never find it too crowded and the new self scan is great for beating the queues. I just hope enough people stick with Waitrose to keep it viable, as it really would be terrible for WP if it closed down.

As for the alternatives, I generally like Sainsbury’s food, but I find the North Cheam branch really over crowded and unpleasant (although the extra clothes and home sections are good) and I refuse to shop in the rip off WP Sainsbury’s local on principle because they add a premium of 30p to most products. Iceland food – no thanks! And if you want to put everything in perspective, just take a trip to Tesco New Malden for a taste of true supermarket hell on earth!

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with comments about the Plough Co-op. This has to be one of the worst run supermarkets I’ve ever been in, which is a real shame as I’ve been in other Co-ops that are great. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but they often still have labels with old offers displayed on shelves so when you get to the till thinking something’s on offer you find that it isn’t and when you complain they won’t do anything. I’m starting to think this is an intentional ploy rather than mere incompetence.

NeilFrog said...

Service at the Plough Co-op is awful. Many of the staff are rude, they don't speak when serving you. I understand English might not be their first language, but should try. Also, items priced incorrectly as the previous comment. I purchased a bottle of wine that was £2 more expensive than the display price. However, the one thing that annoys me about the Plough Co-Op on a Sunday morning when they can't get the papers out and ready before 8am it seems. How much lost trade does this tardiness cost the Co-Op?

Jeff said...

I went into Waitrose yesterday and didn't even notice the revamp or that the lighting was different. But Waitrose and The Plough Co-op aren't the only places standards are dropping: up at Tesco New Malden the price labels never seem to coincide with what's next to them on the shelf, their restocking operation is too slow as at least 25% of what I want has run out and they have cancelled a large number of '3 for the price of two' offers to pay for the current Price Drop promotion (ie Cranberry Juice, frozen Mussels and sliced Granary bread).

Bring back MacMarket, I say.

Paul said...

Schoolboy error, NeilFrog. You don't buy wine at the Co-Op, you buy a drug delivery system.

However their Cuisine de France bread / croissants are great in the morning when still hot.

Ex Waitrose and proud said...

Having worked at Waitrose Worcester park, the standards certainly used to be high and I have continued to shop there since. I have no doubt that the partners who I worked with would still uphold the values and service level that was instilled from day one.

The old shop looked a bit dated and I'm surprised the tills etc hadn't been replaced until recently. Perhaps the staff selection process has become less stringent as I had to go through 4 interviews to get the job. I know there have been several changes in management since I left the store but the idea of the partner structure is that everyone shares the same values. Evidently this is no longer the case.

Anonymous said...

For the record, I also detest going to Sainsbury's North Cheam.

Monumental queues there at any time of day or night. They want us to buy but don't make it very easy to pay.
I suppose that is the problem with having a large adjoining car park which encourages bulk buying, ie trolley loads of shopping to be then loaded into 4WD vehicles, but doesn't cater for those of us who walk there in the hope of buying a few things in a basket..

I'll concur with the comment about Tesco's New Malden. Once I made the mistake of driving there on a Sunday; complete gridlock in the car park and inside is not much better. Never again.

Anonymous said...

Can I just ask, what in earth are those noises emanating from Tesco New Malden??!!

Anonymous said...

It is bird noise to deter the pigeons from going near the entrance.

Anonymous said...

Waitrose WP is brilliant,
Co-op has rubbish staff,
Small Sainsburys is ok but not great,
A Nandos would be good

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with ex-partner - Service used to be even worse than now! I think it's better now - still not up to what I'd expect but better. The problem is lack of management - the place is full of under 20's who don't really want to be there - no management in sight. One day someone will tell the girl who throws soft fruit into baskets to handle it more carefully - one day ....

Anonymous said...

I have recently stopped going to Tesco's New Malden in disgust as they never never have everything that I want in stock. Not exactly a "super" market. I have switched to Waitrose. So far, so good!

caldbeck said...

I don't like the fact that the self service tills are all card payment only. If I only have one thing I want to buy I don't want to have to use my card or queue up! However, compared to iceland where staff talk to each other over the tills and beep everything through at high speed, waitrose staff are lovely. Lots of them are young,I agree, and some need to improve their customer service skills a bit but that comes with practise and experience.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Not sure I like the new look, changing the blog from left to right has got my head spinning. Is it me or is the site darker. People on here can sometimes be very rude...

Tongue-in-cheek WP... keep up the good work and I hope you get time to post more frequently!

Anonymous said...

We try to support our WP shops by doing all our
shopping locally and have always found Waitrose the nicest and most unstressful supermarket to shop in. The staff including the younger ones are always cheerful, helpful, look smart. They are happy to engage in conversation with the customer whilst scanning the products which I think is important especially with older people who may not see many people to chat to in their day.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Christ! Will you lot listen to yourselves! The world is gripped by financial crisis, countries are going bust, we have years of austerity to look forward to and you're complaining about lighting and a customer service that is still, at least, head and shoulders above the rest!! Reality check!!!

Dave said...

Starlings, actually. Health hazard maybe, but it used to be fun to watch them walking around just inside the store. Not much of a health hazard compared with the polution from the hundreds of cars.

Nikaia60 said...

I agree with some of the other comments re. the Plough Co-op, whilst there are one or two (female) daytime staff members who are really nice and always say hello, most of the others have no idea at all about customer service. My OH took back a bottle of wine which was corked, ie. undrinkable, and the guy at the till started arguing with him, eventually gave him his money back but it was as if he was doing him a favour and he was told not to do it again!! The place seems really badly managed. Loads of pricing errors, always long queues at the tills and sorry...gotta say it....a couple of members of staff who should really visit the toiletries aisle....and buy some deodorant.

Anonymous said...

From reading all these comments the only thing I see wrong in worcester park is this blog.
You may put good information across , but you need to criticise at any opportunity just remember there is an Iceland for you unhappy people I'm sure the staff in there are highly sophisticated

Hampton Rd said...

I think it's worth pointing out that this thread is 2.5 years old - as are the comments beneath it. No doubt whoever prompted this subject has moved on. Come to think of it, since this thread was written, even the then WP blogger has moved on!

I personally love shopping at Waitrose and I don't recognise the comments as experiences I've had, but I'm not going to argue with someone else's experiences of literally 'years ago'!

Currently, the only thing that spoils shopping at Waitrose is the (new) one-way access to and from the car park and HGVs turning 2-hours earlier, in order to avoid it. And this was something that was enforced upon us all by Sutton Council, anxious to throw Outer London Fund money away, before the end of the financial year. [And (literally) throwing the OLF money away they certainly have succeeded in doing!]

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