About that whole "@picknpay sucks" thing

My wife, Gina, told me about a post Laura-Kim Allmayer posted recently in which she had a good experience with Pick ‘n Pay after a pretty nasty one. I am not exactly a Pick ‘n Pay fan and, to paraphrase Worf in Star Trek Insurrection, I definitely feel “aggressive tendencies” when I shop at our local Pick ‘n Pay. At the same time I am starting to sound a bit like a couple local blowhards who bitch about companies constantly (although many of them are trolling for work) so I thought I should mention some of the good things Pick ‘n Pay does for its customers.

X-Board eco signage at Pick n Pay

Anyway, Laura-Kim’s two posts are here and here. In her first post she talks about non-existent stock and the stupid admin in a store to redeem her Smart Shopper Card points. I encountered a similar idiotic admin requirement when I returned something recently and was told to go from person to person for the privilege of returning an item and spending the credit on something else. Oh, and I wasn’t 36 weeks pregnant like Laura-Kim was when she was told by the cashier to walk across the store for a piece of paper after pushing a heavy trolley for an hour.

Her second post paints a very different picture of Pick ‘n Pay:

I complained, they heard me and today they arrived with a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates. They could have gotten a delivery guy to drop the items off but they got two of their Client Services Managers to drop them off. Elizabeth and Simon both deal with customer issues IN the store. So know I have the names of two people who will help me in the store should I experience a similar problem.

This was more important to me than the gifts (although I do really appreciate them a lot) because both managers have assured me they take these issues seriously but more importantly they are now accountable for the actions of the staff of the PnP Hypermarket. They are now listening to me – THAT I appreciate so much more.

One thing I have noticed when I have a Pick ‘n Pay rant is that the more senior staff and the people manning the Twitter account are a lot more helpful and friendlier than their floor staff. I have encountered nothing but a desire to help me out when I have been stuck in a queue and had to deal with sullen and passive aggressive floor staff.

Its easy to paint a brand as one thing based on experiences with a sub-set of the the company’s staff. I have certainly done that and probably will do it again but Pick ‘n Pay’s more senior staff really do seem to have a genuine desire to facilitate a more enjoyable retail experience. I’m not talking about staff pandering to customers, just being able to go buy stuff and not have a strong urge to beat a cashier or callous packer with cans of tinned peaches. On the other hand, those same floor staff are a retail version of karma. Shopping at Pick ‘n Pay is neutral at best and, more frequently, an opportunity to exercise self-control and some form of moving meditation to keep blood pressure down. Or, as Laura-Kim put it:

I can honestly tell you now if I was not so scared of jail time I would have physically assaulted her.

So, credit should go where it is due. As much as I bitch about Pick ‘n Pay, especially my local store, there are some good people working there (and virtually anywhere) who sincerely do their best. We shouldn’t let the jerks on the shop floor eclipse them.







  1. Justin McCall avatar

    I use Pick ‘n Pay on Nicol, their new flagship store.  We use them on a weekly basis and I have nothing but good things to speak of.  The floor managers are extremely helpful and they have staff equipped to deal diligently with Smart Shopper queries.  Very friendly and helpful guys.  The general staff, ie. cashiers and counter workers, I dont really expect much from.  They aren’t paid so well, and I dont expect them to have impeccable manners.  But having said that, their William Nicol branch does try very hard to be helpful.

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