Open letter to Woolworths

Dear Woolies

I have really had enough of your ridiculous stock problems. For a few months now, I have borne with the outrageous range of items which your stores are out of.

I shop at Woolworths often, and at several of your stores in the northern suburbs. I also tend to shop later in the evening, for which you conveniently cater by keeping the stores open till 8 or even 9.

However, by the time I get there at 7:30, the store looks like it’s been the target of a rampaging mob of Somalian looters.

Example of shopping for ingredients from a simple recipe:
Fresh Mint (out of stock)
Marrows (out of stock)
Fresh Ginger (out of stock)
Sweet Potatoes (out of stock)

Hello? I’m not asking for freshly picked truffles or partially scrubbed Betelgeusian sea cucumber. Sweet potatoes??!!

Which is to say nothing about the fact that you have been out of stock of tuna fish, pink salmon and tinned lentils for so long I could have bred five generations of my own tuna in my kitchen sink, feeding them on nothing but freshly picked lentils from my own vegetable garden.

You are a premium supermarket with premium prices. Where else does one have the opportunity to pay R40 for a punnet of strawberries? Or R6 for one avocado pear? There are families of avocado sellers along the road to Mpumalanga that would be able to retire to the comfort of their Camps Bay home, or at least educate their children, if they could persuade passers by to pay them that kind of fee.

Nonetheless, I have cheerfully paid your obscene prices for two reasons: quality and range. Quality, in general, is good. Everything looks like it has been hand polished on the thighs of the finest Saudi Arabian concubines. Range has now become a matter of statistical probability rather than any kind of certainty. I need to leave the house with 5 recipes in hand, along with a worn copy of the Bible, equipping me with both choice and prayer, to stand even a remote chance of being able to cook myself dinner that evening. And being an atheist, this is a LOT of ask.

Your management seem at best bewildered, at worst uninterested. “We have a new stock system, please bear with us”, the one told me. That was about two months ago after the fourth Woolworths in Sandton was out of stock of potatoes. I am tired of bearing with you. I’m tired of seeing up-ended black vegetable containers and dishonest “temporarily” out of stock notices all over your stores.

If you can’t get the plants to bear fruit or play your part in over-fishing the oceans for the benefit of whinging middle-class citizens such as myself, perhaps you should go back to simply selling clothes? Raymond Ackerman has a lovely book called something about Four Legs of the Table which I used to think was useful only as a way to start the braai on which to cook my Woolworths line fish, but I’m beginning to think someone over there should give it a read. Perhaps he knows where you can buy potatoes.

I don’t know. But I expect the situation to improve immediately. If I have to suffer the indignity of changing to my local Pick ‘n Pay or Spar, I’m not going to be in a forgiving mood


Jarred Cinman

PS: Thanks to Meira for a suggestion on the Bible bit.

8 thoughts on “Open letter to Woolworths

  1. I agree with you 100%, yesterday I went to Woolworths to pick up a few things, and couldn’t get anything. I eventually had to abandon my shopping and go to the Checkers in the same centre, which had more stock then the Woolworths.

  2. Pingback: I don't matter to Woolworths « Jarred Cinman

  3. Pingback: Jarred's Woolies rant « Meira’s world

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  6. Well, you already know I completely agree and have been utterly frustrated by a similar Woolies experience for the last couple of months. I tried Hello Peter, but as quick as they were to respond, they could not provide any real help on the issue.

    If only they weren’t a “Telkom” in the convenient quality food industry! Me thinks it’s time they had a competitor …

  7. So I’m not the only one. For a while there I had visions of black helicopters tracking my movements and radioing ahead to woolies stores to ensure management cleared the shelves of exactly what I needed. My response has been a bit vindictive which is to wait until I hit the third out-of-stock item and then just leave the half-full trolley in the store and head elsewhere. The frustrating thing is that a viable elsewhere tends to be regular-hours visits to various far-flung boutique deli’s which hardly makes anything easier.

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