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The pain of woolworths dickson – and the need for a market-driven solution

By scottie_517 - 6 June 2008 50

From reading some of the posts on here previously, it appears that many other people are suffering from the appallingly long lines at woolworth’s dickson. Rather than just having a bit of a whine about it on the forum and then ending up doing nothing about it, I’d really like to see some competition in the area – even if it’s a coles! I think it would encourage woolies to get off their arse and actually put some staff on to serve the hoardes (and potentially drive down prices too)! It’s really a pretty abnormal situation – reputedly the most busy supermarket in Australia, and no close-by “big hitter” competiton?

Apparently Aldi takes submissions from the community on locations for future supermarkets

What’s Your opinion?

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50 Responses to
The pain of woolworths dickson – and the need for a market-driven solution
ant 12:37 pm 06 Jun 08

ainslie IGA have the BEST cooked chooks. Tactics: order a big pile o chips at Theos takeaway. Then off to IGA for chooks. Back to Theos to collect swag o chips. = Dinner.

zagons 12:35 pm 06 Jun 08

I used to live in Watson and continously used Dicko for groceries, it was never a pleasant experience, then we moved to belconnen and started using the supabarn in Kaleen. Glorious selection, better prices, just a nicer way to shop…I stopped into Dickson for a few things on my way to a dinner party and they had run out of…APPLES and bananas…when I asked where all the fruit was..I was told they had run out.

Kind of funny – until I paid $9 for a punnet of strawberries which was labelled $4 (didn’t realise til I got to the car).

astrojax 12:27 pm 06 Jun 08

but the longer the lines, the more time for people watching… par excellence at woolies, my friends.

but i second the ainslie iga vote.

aronde 12:24 pm 06 Jun 08

And why is it that at Aldi the checkout person can literally ‘throw’ items across the scanner and they can register a price but at Woollies and Coles they tend to pick up an item, look for a barcode, scan it, hang on to it for a second or so and see if it has registered or something and then put it in a bag. Multiply that process by each individual item and it is no wonder they have long queues that move slowly. The Aldi turnover by comparison is pretty damn quick even allowing an extra couple of minutes to pack up your items.

jcf 11:58 am 06 Jun 08

The slowness of Dickson Woolworths is probably something to do with the slowness of the staff there. I swear it is a sheltered workshop or something.

FB 11:33 am 06 Jun 08

As a Downer resident and living within walking distance of Dickson Woolies, I do most of my shopping at IGA in Ainslie. They are actually cheaper with a lot of items & there fruit & veg are usually of better quality. They are often busy but can still manage to get people in & out quickly. The staff are always helpful and even carry the elderly’s bags to their cars for them.

Green Frogs, NONE absolutely NONE of the supermarkets I have been to in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane are as bad as Dickson. Yes I have seen lines almost as long as Dickson but they move quickly as they have all registers manned.

I have NEVER seen every register manned at Dickson, no matter how busy it is. I’ve never seen more then 6 regular registers open when I think they have 12. I have never seen more then 6 express registers open and I think they have 8. Once I was there when there were only 3 regular registers open and each had a line of at least 4 trolleys waiting, The express line also only had 3 registers and the line for it was past the fruit & veg.

I know a few people who work there and even they have told me that management don’t care when people complain because they are still shopping there and doing a roaring trad. Why waste more money by employing more staff? Just exploit the ones you have!

Do as pug206gti said and vote with your feet.

ant 10:48 am 06 Jun 08

Never put up with long lines. Complain, abandon your shopping, go elsewhere, but don’t “suck it up” or whatever trite dismissal is the current trendy one to use.

Queanbeyan is an interesting case study, as within walking distance of each other they have Woolies, Coles, aldi and mother natures. The latter is more of a deli/fruit and veggie, but they also stock a small number of toileteries. you can almost do your whole shop there, and the lines are tiny.

Coles used to have whopping lines. I complained, I noticed when it was bad others taking the feedback forms also. And often lots of abandoned trolleys and baskets near the checkouts. Woolies wasn’t much better but their express checkouts had a “bank line” which moved fast.
Aldi was variable, but they had a distressing habit of closing checkouts when the lines were so long, they interferred with shopper traffic around the store. Coles had this problem too.

Woolies did a big refurb, and now they seem much busier. And they got rid of the bank line for the express, so now they have long slow lines for individual express lanes. I sent off a complaint about that, and the result was a whiny phone call from the store manager, and absolutely nothing changed. So I don’t shop there. Sometimes I’ll pop my head in to see if it’s worth going in, but it never is. They even have lines in the grog shop.

In the meantime, things have improved at Qbn Coles. I notice they open more checkouts faster, and will allow checkouts to remain open when there’s no one currently at them (that doesn’t last long). A huge improvement.

Manuka Coles also tends to have shorter lines, and more open checkouts. I shop there at various times of day and evening and it’s always noticeable that they have a lower tolerance for lines.

They’re soon to open a Mother Natures at Brand Depot, next to Jim Murphy’s. That might be interesting, I wonder if people heading home to Gunghalin or out to northern ACT/NSW will stop there for groceries?

Pickle 10:41 am 06 Jun 08

all these tales of unnecessary driving should attract a few obnoxious greenies to this post soon…

aronde 10:25 am 06 Jun 08

Moved from Brisbane to ACT (Watson) a few years back and did not take me long to realise Woollies Dickson was terrible. It did not seem to mater what time I went. I even complained to the manager when once it took me 32 minutes from the time I got in the queue to the time I got to the checkout to be served! He apologised and said they were in the process of employing more staff. Seems they are still ‘in the process’ of doing that!

When we lived at Watson I travelled to Gungahlin Coles up Flemington Rd. Never any people there and could always park underground right next to the lift (always handy with the little kiddies). And coming from Qld having a grog aisle right next to the fruit and veg was very inspiring! It may be a bit busier now though with all the extra population up that way.

green_frogs_go_pop 10:11 am 06 Jun 08

Well, if dickson woolies is supposebly the busiest supermarket in australia (positively sure about that? i’m sure its the busiest in act..but have you ever been to the big smoke – aka sydney or melbourne?) then yeah, its going to have long lines. Believe it or not!!!

123qwe 9:19 am 06 Jun 08

I heard a rumour that Dickson Woolies are now doing passport applications.

pug206gti 9:03 am 06 Jun 08

Vote with your feet.

When I was an inner-norther it took just a few months to realise that Dickson Woolies is a painful experience, and driving a few kilometres to another supermarket was better for all concerned. And unless you don’t drive, you’re pretty well spoiled for choice.

Dickson to Kaleen Supabarn – 6km (Apparently Supabarn prides itself on higher staffing levels, as reported by the ACCC)
Dickson to Jamo Coles – 8km (Which I believe is new and spiffy now)
And I guess you could go to Civic Supabarn too.

When we lived in Campbell we took up Woden Coles as our regular being only a few kilometres further, less traffic lights, and deliciously wide aisles (including one full of grog!), bypassing Manuka for largely the same reasons as Dickson.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 9:01 am 06 Jun 08

So go when it’s less busy and the lines are shorter. Or go to a different supermarket. If you keep going, and whinging, well there isn’t much point in them changing, is there? 8:35 am 06 Jun 08

There already is competition – it’s the nice man who runs the fruit stall around the corner, unless you are restricted to processed foods for ‘dietary’ reasons 😉

lemaChet 8:08 am 06 Jun 08


having an Aldi at kippax doesn’t help lines at Kippax woolies.
Having a coles in belconnen doesn’t help woolies in belconnen have shorter lines.

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