Why I Failed to see the Light at Woolworths

Woolies talks of a basket to trolley move, where you can get everything in a one-stop shop. As well as bread and apples and stuff, I needed to pop out buy a replacement light bulb for my bathroom, as shaving in the dark can be as bit risky. None at Woolies. I asked why not?   “They are discontinued.”   Surely this flies in the face of all the management bullshit of caring about the customer? The outcome was that I had to do a two-stop shop. Now I know a Spar outlet in Monument Park where they have a suggestion book, and if there is something they don‘t stock, the customer can point this out, and they will see what can be done. Having bought back their franchise stores, I think that Woolworths has become irritatingly arrogant.   It is almost enough to force me back to those unsmiling till ladies at Pick n Pay.   Oh, and a final footnote. I bought an energy-saving lightbulb. But it is too long and I can’t get the cover back on the light fitting.   Clearly my new bulb is brighter than I am.

Chris Gilmour from Absa had this to say:

Former CEO Simon Susman initiated Woolies’ move into branded products (products outside of the traditional Woolies brand items) about a decade ago. It has proven to be remarkably successful in persuading Woolies’ customers to do the great bulk of their shopping- not just for food but for all sorts of general merchandise as well – at Woolies stores, and thus not go to competitor outlets for their more mundane requirements. I guess light bulbs happen to be one of those relatively slow-moving items that tend not to be stocked in Woolies, due to the nature of the product. In other words, Woolies probably reckons that if they stock 80% of what customers want/need, they will be OK. This is in terms of the old Pareto or 80:20 rule.


If I am in a hurry and want a one-stop shop, Woolworths will no longer be my first choice.

Tweets of the Day

Will Rodgers (@WilliamRodgers): The best part about your friend’s girlfriend being pregnant… Not having to wear a condom anymore…

Paul Rabenowitz (@paulrabenowitz): Is a scientist at coke called a fizzycist?

Rude Goldberg (@redherringbear): If you believe you can pass a drug test by drinking large amounts of water, you’re just diluting yourself.

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