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View Full Version : Carbo's (Semi-)Weekly HATE RANT



Carbo
04-01-2009, 05:39
Can hate be good?
Can hate be great?
Can hate be good, can hate be great, can hate be something we don’t hate?
Da-da-da-daaaaaa
Da-da-da-daaaaaa
Dadadadadadada da-daaaaaaa

Ohhhhhhhhhh wouldn’t it be bliss-----
If supermarkets weren't like this----:

Most of us, I would guess, feel most enthusiasm for a task or when we first start it. “A change is as good as a break,” my mum would often tell me; and I think for me that’s true. When I first start something, at least, I’m as keen as mustard.

Not so, apparently, in the Russian supermarket.

A new, smallish supermarket opened in my dvor not so long ago, and, keen to see what it was like, I walked in on opening day. When I arrived at the kolbasa delicatessen, I noticed it was unattended. One other woman and me stood there waiting for about 3 or 4 minutes, before, looking around, I saw a middle aged lady in the supermarket uniform putting prepackaged cooked meet in a refrigerator cabinet. “Dyevushka,” I called. No response. “Dyevushka,” I said a little louder. No response. The lady next to me shouted that we were waiting. “I heard you the first time!” she responded testily, after which she pointedly turned back to her packing, finished every last bit before coming and serving us. She was busy, couldn’t we see?

When I reached the tills, I noticed that I had no money, but there was a card swiping machine, so I would be able to pay with my visa. “Sorry, it doesn’t work. Don’t you have money?” the sullen woman serving asked me with the kind of bored, miserable tone I’d expect in a Ferris Bueller classroom. So, after taking all the shopping she’d already put trough, and putting it in a basket next to her chair behind the checkout (with no help from her), I put all my shopping into a trolley, and went to get some cash.

A few minutes later I got back and stood behind her till next to my basket. By this time, she was the only person working on the checkouts, and a small queue had developed. She studiously ignored me, clearly deciding to serve everyone in the queue before returning to the idiot scumbag who hadn’t brought cash with him. I was starting to get hacked off, and it was clear that I was never going to get served, because every time she finished with one person, another joined the queue. After waiting with receipt and cash in hand, completely ignored, for ten minutes I decided that what she wanted, but was not going to explain, was for me to join the queue. Oh, she said when I reached the front, as if she hadn’t seen me at all, well, there’s someone behind you, can you wait? “NO! I f*cking can’t,” I wanted to say, but didn’t. But I did make it plain that I wouldn’t wait. The bill came to 911 roubles. I gave her 1000, which infuriated her. “Smaller,” she demanded as if I’d given her a five thousand rouble note for a packet of gum. I mean, how much smaller can you get than a 1000 rouble not for a nine hundred and odd bill? “No,” I said, wondering if she imagined the bankomat gave out one rouble coins. Furious that she would be expected to give change, she slammed my 89 roubles down on the counter as if I was a slum lord asking for extra rent.

I couldn’t believe it. This kind of customer service would be unacceptable anywhere, but how can these people be like this on their first day?

I don’t blame them, of course. It’s management. And as far as that’s concerned, the Russian supermarket segment is a black hole of management quality, where customer services and inventory management are replaced with apathy and incompetence. My “Assortiy zhelany” experience wasn’t unusual. Supermarkets are always having to go and collect coins from various tills to get me change. Am I expected to carry around a kilo or two of silver for their benefit? Is there a shortage of small denomination bills and coins in Russia? And all staff are apathetic and morose everywhere. I am the customer, but really, I just get in the way of their packing and cleaning and rearranging.

How can they be so bad on every level? First, I, the customer, should be the focus of everything. Yet I often feel as though the assistants have a job to do, and me asking them where the coffee is, or how much is an unpriced item, is simply stopping them doing their job. And don’t they let me know it. Often I ask an am ignored, or I ask and they just point in a random direction. I mean, can’t I f*cking find the gorokhivy myself?? And if an item is unpriced, it’s not their fault. Someone else was responsible for putting all the labels on, so why should they solve it.

And who ever heard of four people working a delicatessen section, and only one serving? The other three are moving kolbasa from one place to another, rearranging the cheeses, giving the work surfaces a gentle wipe, making sure the prepackaged stuff on the counter is all in its right place, and generally doing anything that doesn’t involve helping the poor girl serving clear the massive queue. That’s exactly what happens every time at my local Spar. They employ four people to make sure that counter runs efficiently, but there are always queues, because only one in four works.

Worst, though, is the fresh produce, and no store is as bad on that front as Perecryostok. I would be ashamed to serve the putrefying, blackened and browned garbage they label fruit. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve stuck my hand in a basket to pick out a cabbage or a lemon or a mandarin and pulled it out covered in sticky goo and mould from something rotting in the middle. And, hey guys, apples shouldn’t be covered in bruises. I can never find a single apple or pear that is bruise free in that store.

In fact, Perekryostok is a huge chain of turd from top to bottom. The management of that place couldn’t run a brothel in an army barracks. I was once in one of their “supermarkets” (more like extremelyshitmarkets, if you ask me) and I noticed there was a blueberry yogurt that had smashed on the floor. After getting literally all my other stuff, I remembered I had forgotten something in that section, and, guess what? 20 minutes later, the floor is still govered in purple dairy product. And they are always running out. OF THE SAME ITEMS. AT THE SAME TIME OF THE DAY OR MONTH. Earth to Perecryostok: if you run out of something at the same time, it probably means you aren't ordering enough. But no. Coca Cola is ordered on the third Saturday of every month. That was the way it was done by the person who didn't care about this shitty job before I got this shitty job I don't care about, and that's how it'll always be. And we bake the bread we have always baked. I know it always runs out at around 4.30, meaning until 11 o'clock people come in and there's none, but that's how much we bake. If people want it, they should arrive earlier.

Well, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to stand for it anymore.

I’m going to learn Russian well enough to complain to managers. I’m not going to tolerate honeydew melons so unripe it’s like eating raw potato with my jamon. I’m going to boycott stores that treat me as an inconvenience. I am never going to offer change, and instead force them to do their jobs and get me change. In the summer, I will get all my fresh produce from a rynok (rynoks, amazingly, can find excellent fruit and vegetebles), and I’m going to get as much as I can in my local produkti, which has people who are actually friendly and enthusiastic and pack my pakyet for me and say “hi, how are you?” when I walk through the door.

I suggest we all do likewise.

In these tough times, supermarkets are going to need to do as much as they can to attract customers. It’s time to make them do things properly.

DDT
04-01-2009, 13:19
That was hilarious! I can't tell you how many times I've been through the same thing. It's gets even worse when even the babushka in the queue behind me starts in on me aswell for not having the exact change.

:10475:

Gypsy
04-01-2009, 13:28
I agree 100% Carbo - and it is going to get worse.

One result of the credit crunch is that trade credit is being cut back, and 75 days stock is not going to be allowable (or even possible) anymore.

So where will the supermarkets cut costs to generate the cash to come down to 30 days?

The only P&L line big enough is Staff Costs.

Look forward to longer queues, and pissed off check-out staff as they now have to work about 33% as hard as western supermaket staff as opposed to 25% as hard.

Qdos
04-01-2009, 13:56
In these tough times, supermarkets are going to need to do as much as they can to attract customers. Itís time to make them do things properly.

Nope, as long as they all offer the same rude and sloppy service, are happy to sell post shelf life goods, and are legally allowed to use the word 'Fresh' on an item which is clearly 'Frozen' then I see nothing changing.

Many will be happier to bite the dust than, heaven forbid, improve!

They told a woman in front of me in the queue the other day not to bother to come back again, after she had the audacity to dare complain she'd been short-changed (and I saw that she had been!)

The only time it'll change is when Western stores appear, and staff are told what standards are expected of them.

I won't call your script amusing Carbo, but only because it is factual :rant:

Carbo
04-01-2009, 14:06
Nope, as long as they all offer the same rude and sloppy service, are happy to sell post shelf life goods, and are legally allowed to use the word 'Fresh' on an item which is clearly 'Frozen' then I see nothing changing.

Many will be happier to bite the dust than, heaven forbid, improve!

They told a woman in front of me in the queue the other day not to bother to come back again, after she had the audacity to dare complain she'd been short-changed (and I saw that she had been!)

The only time it'll change is when Western stores appear, and staff are told what standards are expected of them.

I won't call your script amusing Carbo, but only because it is factual :rant:
I know. I yearn for the day Tesco or Wal Mart or Sainsbury's comes to Moscow and starts telling staff what they should do (instead of just staring at a person, impatiently waiting for him to pay, while he packs frantically in the knowledge that as soon as he's paid you'll start dumping the next person's shopping over his, how about you help him pack. It speeds the whole process up and isn't much of an effort.)

Once one supermarket does it, the lot will have to.

I really can't wait.

That said, I guess retail is one of the "strategic sectors" where [-]oligarchs there have bribed government officials to include them on the list to ensure no foreign competition[/-] foreign companies can only take a limited share to maintain Russian control over key industries.

Gypsy
04-01-2009, 15:04
I know. I yearn for the day Tesco or Wal Mart or Sainsbury's comes to Moscow and starts telling staff what they should do (instead of just staring at a person, impatiently waiting for him to pay, while he packs frantically in the knowledge that as soon as he's paid you'll start dumping the next person's shopping over his, how about you help him pack. It speeds the whole process up and isn't much of an effort.)

Once one supermarket does it, the lot will have to.

I really can't wait.

That said, I guess retail is one of the "strategic sectors" where [-]oligarchs there have bribed government officials to include them on the list to ensure no foreign competition[/-] foreign companies can only take a limited share to maintain Russian control over key industries.
Well fortunately the returns for retail are not high enough to attract the oligarch style businessmen, and Russians really cannot do retail -as you have seen.

Wal-Mart are here already, building up their infrastructure and actively site finding.

Europe's largest retailer, Carrefour is here too - doing the same. If you don't know Carrefour, think Auchan plus better quality, better customer service and nicer stores.

Tescos - have looked a couple of times and always pulled back.

It is very cash intensive opening a superstore; think $50m+ a throw - so whether new entrants come in will depend on their Balance Sheets - those who have the cash would be well advised to come ASAP. The market is sitting there and ripe for the picking.

Carbo
05-01-2009, 17:11
Well fortunately the returns for retail are not high enough to attract the oligarch style businessmen, and Russians really cannot do retail -as you have seen.

Wal-Mart are here already, building up their infrastructure and actively site finding.

Europe's largest retailer, Carrefour is here too - doing the same. If you don't know Carrefour, think Auchan plus better quality, better customer service and nicer stores.

Tescos - have looked a couple of times and always pulled back.

It is very cash intensive opening a superstore; think $50m+ a throw - so whether new entrants come in will depend on their Balance Sheets - those who have the cash would be well advised to come ASAP. The market is sitting there and ripe for the picking.
I don't know; I think you'll find that X5 and Magnit and Sedmoi have pretty big backers behind them

I think that the big players are unlikely to come into the market in the current situation. First, Russia will seem far less attractive now, given the likely dramatic fall in Russian consumer spending, which, to a large part, has made Russia such an exciting place for car manufacturers and retail outlets. Second, even if consumer spending was maintained, it is unlikely that the large retailers will be able to put their hands on the credit they would need to start such operations. Finally, the investment climate in Russia is pretty bad at the moment. The TNK-BP shenanigans will have raised concerns that one could build something and then be forced out by a combination of pernicious partners and competitors and bureaucratic corruption.

We shall see, but I can only live in hope...

RIKO
05-01-2009, 18:08
We shall see, but I can only live in hope... Help may be (closer) at hand ... Report: Walmart looking at Russia - Business Courier of Cincinnati: (http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2008/12/29/daily11.html)