Tips for stokvels in the bulk-grocery-buying season

By Drum Digital
26 November 2015

This can be a stressful time for stokvel members, as there are a number of factors to deal with.

It is that time of the year again when stokvels buy their end-of-year groceries in bulk.

Stokvel Academy founder Busi Skenjana says: “We have heard heartbreaking stories of people – hired by stokvels to transport their groceries home – disappearing with truckloads of groceries. The wholesalers are also buzzing and you find stokvel members looking very tired after waiting for hours and hours to be served. There is so much happening at this time; some people get home realising that the expiry dates on the groceries they bought are due. The whole point of bulk-buying is to keep the groceries for a long time.”

Skenjana says knowledge is power, and by making only a few changes, everyone will be better prepared to make the bulk-buying season less stressful.

“Stokvels need to be alert during this time and also know their rights as consumers. If they are not satisfied, they must raise the issues with the stores immediately. It is their money, so they deserve to be treated better,” she added.

The Stokvel Academy have the following tips for stokvels to help make the bulk-buying season more manageable:

  1. STORE CHOICE

Stokvels should shop around for the best store – in terms of price and other services, such as:

  • Response to enquiries: A stokvel should look at how soon the store responds to their quotation request. This will give them an indication of the type of service the wholesaler will provide on the actual day of buying
  • Stock availability: Does the store have enough stock and brands to meet the stokvel’s needs? Before stokvels do their year-end bulk buying, they must make sure to check with the wholesaler that it has enough stock. This will prevent stokvels ending up buying brands they did not plan on buying to start with – which often causes conflict among members. So they must check in advance that the store has the stock and brands they are looking for.
  • Customer Care: Are you treated with respect as a customer? Since stokvels are spending their hard-earned money, they deserve to be treated fairly.
  • Stock picking: Does the store assist with picking your order? Is your order picked correctly? Do you receive everything you order?
  • Cleanliness: Store cleanliness has an impact on the products sold.
  • Accessibility: Shopping at the nearest store is easy, but bad service and high prices should encourage you to shop elsewhere.
  • Deliveries: Does the store offer a delivery service or assist you with a reliable service provider? It is risky to ask strangers to deliver your groceries. When you book a transport service to deliver your groceries, it must be someone you or the store know and can trace. We have read of cases where trucks have disappeared with stokvels’ groceries.

  1. Effective communication

Communicate your bulk grocery needs well in advance – or this may cause conflict on the day of buying. Stokvels are about team work and support. Sharing responsibility among the different members will make a huge difference. Everyone must be involved, so that the treasurer or chairperson does not feel overwhelmed.

  1. Family Size

Buy groceries according to your family’s needs. Do not be bullied into buying more than you need. Otherwise the extra groceries will be wasted – and you could have used the money for something else. Try and stretch your Rand by buying essentials first and then “spoiling” yourself with luxuries.

  1. Expiry & Sell-by dates

Check these dates while you are at the store. Do not accept goods with expired dates or dates that will soon expire.The point of bulk grocery is to make goods last – if the expiry date is soon, there is no point. If you discover products with dates soon to expire at home, contact the store. If they are not co-operative, contact the customer care line.

  1. Storage facilities at home

Consider your storage facilities before buying bulk groceries. Poor storage will affect product quality.  Check the instructions on each product’s packaging for the correct storage requirements. Proper storage ensures freshness, protects against pest infestation and helps to maintain colour, texture and nutritional value. It also helps reduce food-borne illnesses caused by pests (cockroaches and rats).

  1. Unhappy?

If you have any complaints and issues concerning a wholesaler, or your stokvel is generally unhappy about anything, you must raise this with the wholesaler immediately so that it can soon be sorted out. Stokvels tend to keep quiet but then raise these issues the next year – when it is too late to get a satisfactory answer from the store.

Meet Andile Fulane at the Pick n Pay Stokvel Bulk Buying  day at Maponya Mall on 28th November, Saturday.

Issued by: Stokvel Academy

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