I don’t know why people are only now beginning to see Woolworths for what it is.
Once they were the kings of South African retailers but that was a long time ago in a state of mind far away. Now they are the slumlords…
Woolworths used to be all about quality without compromise… their clothes and their food. Pound for Rand their clothes used to be best quality clothes available in South Africa. We never minded paying that little bit extra because it went without saying the clothes would be excellent and last a long time. The same could be said when they started selling food in their stores.
But… sadly… over time, like the frog in a saucepan, Woolworths has changed without most people even noticing. Instead of the quality at all costs brand we were used to… which by the way, was very profitable for them… they have become the gluttonous profit-above-quality Jabba-the-Hutt of South African retailers which now literally hawks the cheapest, nastiest, low quality clothes they can import from China and sell them for criminal markups when one considers the poor quality.
There is absolutely no quality control any longer in Woolworths clothing departments. Last year I bought three pairs of chinos all the exactly the same style I tried one pair on and selected two different colours of the same size off the rack.
I bought a sealed pack of three shirts. I bought a pair of slippers for winter.
When I got home none of the trousers fit the same around my waist and the stitching of one of the buttonholes on the back pocket began unraveling in the first wash. Each of the 3 shirts had arms of different lengths. And within a few days the stitching of slippers was coming apart.
I also bought several T-shirts as Woolworths was the ONLY place I bought T-shirts because they kept their shape and form whilst all about them from other stores were losing theirs. I have had some T-shirts from Woolies for 20 years and more.
In the first wash all of them came out deformed and shrunk upwards to resemble boob-tubes not a pretty sight for a macho rugger bugger.
“Well you can just bring them back,” the ditsy lady told me each time I complained as I discovered ‘another’ problem item, completely missing my point about quality and the damn inconvenience of having to take time from work or weekends to go back to the store.
This NEVER happened in the past. If I bought clothes of a certain style and then chose other items in different colours they would all fit me exactly the same. I tried to escalate my complaints ‘up the line’ but between reaching people who couldn’t see the problem and others who never called back I eventually stopped trying.
The people I spoke to all seemed to think that allowing me to return the goods equated to good customer service. How sad and misinformed and untrained can they be? They also missed the point that why should I have to waste so much of my own time trying to inform them they have a quality problem in their once excellent clothing stores?
I left messages for several of their executives but they are so arrogant and unconcerned that not a single one bothered to call me back.
So my fellow citizens… the message from Woolworths then is quite clear. They will maximize profits by purveying cheap and nasty items at the inflated price of quality stock. Quality is no longer a part of their brand message or corporate mission. And they simply do not care what hard-pressed South Africans think or how disappointed, let down or angry we feel discovering ‘another’ substandard non-quality-checked item in the shopping bag.
In short, their message to South African shoppers is…
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