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Dickson Woolworths – I hope you’re not in a rush!

By Alexandra Craig 24 February 2015 28

stock-supermarket-groceries-shopping-trolley

We all hate having to navigate through a packed supermarket and we all hate waiting for a loooong time at the checkout, but surely copping both of these annoyances at once is pretty uncommon, right? Not if you shop at Dickson Woolworths.

I challenge anyone to go to Dickson Woolworths to buy a handful of groceries and be in and out in ten minutes. Even if you can grab the items you want in a flash, it’s likely that you’ll have to wait ages in line. I think, with the exception of maybe two occurrences, it has been packed at Dickson Woolies every time I’ve been there.

The problem is that there are only ever about two or three registers open. The staff seem to be a bit slower than what you’d expect during busy periods so it takes an eternity to get through the checkout. Of course the self-service registers are open, but the average person is much slower than your slowest register operator so these don’t offer much alleviation for the deep lines of shoppers.

I’ve heard many times that Dickson Woolworths is the busiest store in the retail giant’s chain. I could believe it. Whether it is or it isn’t, it is still very, very busy – so why are 80 per cent of the registers closed? I could understand this if it was a small family-run IGA or corner store, obviously they have to run a tight ship in order to make profit, but Woolworths is a giant. It doesn’t make sense for them to be so cheap when it comes to having staff working.

I don’t tend to ever do a big grocery shop because of my lifestyle, it just works out better for me to grab things as I need them. But for those who do a big weekly shop with an overflowing trolley, this place is torturous. I waited in line for 20 minutes the other day to buy four bananas. Other supermarkets in the ACT aren’t even this bad at Christmas.

Every time I go there I ask myself why I’ve subjected myself to this again. I assume the reason people continue to go there, like me, is because there’s no other major supermarket nearby. The closest would be Coles or Woolworths at Belconnen or Coles or Woolworths at Gungahlin. If you live in the Dickson area and need some bread, milk, fruit and vegetables, you’re not going to drive all the way to Belco or Gungahlin for it. But then you end up spending half your night in Dickson. I frequently reorganise my day so I can get my groceries elsewhere purely to avoid the Dickson Woolies.

I put the question to Woolworths on their Facebook page, if their Dickson store is actually the busiest in the country why is it so understaffed. I explained that it takes a long time to get to the checkout and whatnot, but of course the response I received was along the lines of ‘Thank you for your feedback, we’ll keep that in mind.’  Thanks for that, Woolies. Keep up the great work.

What’s Your opinion?


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Dickson Woolworths – I hope you’re not in a rush!
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ainsliebraddon 1:30 pm 19 Mar 15

I stopped using Dickson Woolworths ages ago because it is such a crowded store. The Woolworths at the airport by comparison is a pleasure. Never busy, wide aisles and plenty of available checkout. Worth a visit!

Skyring 9:02 am 01 Mar 15

Dickson Woollies is an odd case. It’s the only major in the inner north, as pointed out, there’s a lot of people living nearby, and it’s got excellent parking and transport.

But the supermarket itself is quite small. The demand fluctuates. At Christmas or during Summernats or the Folk Festival it can be packed and overflowing. Other times, there’s nobody there.

These are the times when most people are doing something else, of course, such as working or sleeping.

The empty registers are there to cater for the busiest times, and it makes no sense to have them staffed when there’s no demand. The queues may be long, but they tend to move fairly quickly, and the management response when things get busy is to pull staff off the shelf-stacking and onto a new register.

Because the place is smaller than optimum, it doesn’t take much to crowd the place out, especially when the staff are trying to keep the shelves stocked at times of high demand.

However, it’s convenient, which is why I go there.

The airport Wooolies is a good alternative. Huge supermarket and free parking.

I can’t say I’m a fan of the plans to redevelop Dickson. Parking will end up being less convenient and more expensive for sure. Currently there are quite a few free spaces, and more nearby, such as the north side of Antill Street.

Having three competing chains of supermarkets may be great for price and range – maybe – but that’s what you expect in town centres such as Belco, and the Dickson site isn’t town centre sized. Add in multi-story housing with residents wanting to park their own cars and you start to wonder where there’s room for shoppers. They’ll probably allocate for one car per unit, but a lot will have two, and those cars have got to be stored somewhere.

Maya123 12:14 pm 27 Feb 15

“Because people need housing, affordable housing.”

What Canberra should never have done away with are the hostels. When I moved to Canberra I first lived in a hostel. They were easy to get into and affordable. I was on junior wages and I could afford a room. They were best for singles and couples without children, but some hostels, such as Hotel Acton, also had rooms for families.

chewy14 7:57 am 27 Feb 15

Postal said :

Affirmative Action Man said :

Isn’t the point of various redevelopments in the Dickson area that on the one hand the ACT Government promotes sustainable cutting edge retail & housing development, that have green open spaces, promotes solar & wind power, but on the other hand approves lame dreadful proposals that squeeze in the maximum number of shoddy units & lack creativity or sustainability.

Where are the rooftop gardens, passive designs, use of solar technology.

Dickson could become worlds best practice instead of another crappy urban infill.

Yes! Spot on. Where is the creativity, the imagination? Why can’t Canberra continue to lead the way in thoughtful urban development? Where is the VISION?

Because people need housing, affordable housing.

All we would achieve by installing some “cutting edge” sustainable design is that property prices would be guaranteed to grow enormously, placing them out of the reach of normal people. “vision” is expensive.

Postal 11:24 pm 26 Feb 15

Affirmative Action Man said :

Isn’t the point of various redevelopments in the Dickson area that on the one hand the ACT Government promotes sustainable cutting edge retail & housing development, that have green open spaces, promotes solar & wind power, but on the other hand approves lame dreadful proposals that squeeze in the maximum number of shoddy units & lack creativity or sustainability.

Where are the rooftop gardens, passive designs, use of solar technology.

Dickson could become worlds best practice instead of another crappy urban infill.

Yes! Spot on. Where is the creativity, the imagination? Why can’t Canberra continue to lead the way in thoughtful urban development? Where is the VISION?

Ghettosmurf87 9:39 am 26 Feb 15

Stopped by Dickson Woolies last night after training to get eggs.

Entered the store at 8:00pm sharp,

Walked to the far side where the eggs are and spent a couple of minutes dilly-dallying working out what was a good deal and making sure the eggs weren’t cracked. Queued in the self-serve line, with 7 registers full, 1 out of order and 7 people in front of me (including 3 with full baskets). Paid for my eggs with cash, of which a few coins took a couple of goes to be accepted.

Walked out the doors again at 8:05pm.

Pretty typical shopping attempt at Dickson Woolies at that time, though the line was probably longer than usual.

It’s really not that big an issue outside of peak shopping hours, which are busy most places.

Kalliste 8:14 pm 25 Feb 15

watto23 said :

Kalliste said :

Yes! Trolley’s shouldn’t be allowed through self serve.. In Dickson it is especially annoying. Not to mention that people that usually try to do a trolley sized shop at self serves are the slowest people known to man!

Woolworths self serve checkouts used to be fairly decent until they increased the sensitivity of them and not they’re just painful “are you using your own bag?” and then there is no option for Yes… !!

They turned the scales back on. They turned them off for many years but then found they had too much theft. I’m guessing the assumption is through self serve checkouts. That said I bought some thing the other day that was so light it didn’t register and kept asking me to place the item in the bagging area. I put another item in the bagging area and it stopped. I took it out the scan (I wasn’t try to steal) and it told me to put the item back. I got one of the attendants over and showed them, not that they’d do anything, except enter the code to let me scan the item and pay for everything. However I can imagine people just stealing still if the scales work in their favour, plus it doesn’t stop the old cheap banana trick, where people would weigh there $17.99 per kilo post cyclone bananas as another cheaper fruit.

FYI Coles are not any better while I’m bagging out woolies and any shop at Aldi, usually means I still have to go elsewhere to get a few other things.

True, Coles is much the same.. we usually avoided Coles because of the scales, but now Woolies is the same, if not worse. At least Coles seems to register bags correctly.

It’s to the point now we just bag everything after, which isn’t ideal as it just wastes ours (and people waitings) time.

I prefer to doing shopping online but, other than sales items it’s more expensive, you need to pay for delivery and Click and Collect is a terrible service.

I never used Click and Collect at Dickson though, has anyone and was it a nightmare?

Hamlet201 5:15 pm 25 Feb 15

The store is a limited size I know, but if the self serve were bigger then taking trolleys through wouldn’t be a problem. Also, the last time I was in the UK they had a system for weighing your own fruit and veg before you get to the checkouts, so you don’t have to mess with their checkout machines – I’ve never seen one here though. I do like self serve, but I get really irritated when you get there and only a few are working -and that seems to happen just about all the time.

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