Monday, 7 October 2013

Woolsworths responds to #WWRipOff

Last week, I blogged about how I feel that Woolworths, much as I love the brand and its shops, is a ripoff on some products - and I suggested that anyone who felt the same way should tweet the details, along with #WWRipOff.

There were quite a few people, in the blog comments, on Facebook and Twitter, who agreed with me, and said that they would be using the hashtag. There was Hilton Tarrant who commented extensively, citing free market etc etc...

Babs from the Woolies Press Office contacted me, and sent through this response: 

“We've read your blog post and are happy to respond. I'm sorry you didn't get a response from our team sooner. If you'd like, you can post this as a comment to your blog post — please attribute any quotes to the company, i.e. To Woolworths.

I'm sure you'd agree that it is a bit tricky to compare prices without comparing quality. For instance, we sell only whole free range eggs, which cost more to produce than conventional eggs.
However, there's the animal welfare issue, which is important to us, and to many of our customers.

In terms of the specific products you mention:
§  The hake - Our input costs are higher because we select the best local hake that is MSC certified, and this sustainability certification does come at a cost. Our hake is also carefully prepared (deboned etc.) to our specification, which naturally incurs additional labour costs.
§  The Krone product – The local supplier of this product has explained that some retailers have put this product on promotion ahead of the festive season. We don’t necessarily share the same specials as other retailers. However our wine buyer has promised to take a closer look at the increased promotional activity linked to this product.
§  The Chicken and avocado sandwich on low GI bread – The deli’s recipe is different and it is costlier to produce. E.g. The deli sandwiches are made using speciality bread. They also contain more chicken (roast) and avocado.

While we always aim to offer our customers value for money, we are not resting on our laurels.
That’s why, we’ve rolled out on-going promotions including “Eat in” specials, the Daily Difference, This Weeks Save and Great Value.
Further our WRewards loyalty programme offers Woolworths and MySchool cardholders many instant savings in store every day.
We also compare the prices of a range of common (basic) products against our competitors every week, and are conscious of the need to stay competitive.
The last thing we want to do is compromise on quality. We believe we offer our customers good value, and we get feedback from thousands of customers regularly that helps us make sure we do.
We’d like to thank your honest feedback and for helping to keep us on our toes.”

I asked Food Lover's Market for comment on why they're only committing to MSC-certified fish products from 2015 - and have yet to receive a comment, even though they promised one on Facebook.

So. What do you think? 

I think that Woolies does some pretty awesome stuff, and again, I don't mind paying a premium for superior quality and all the feelgood stuff... But I still feel that a premium of 30% - even if it's just on some products - or more is not ok. 

So I'll continue to shop around for the best deal (last week's one was 2ply loo paper at WW for R69 for 18 - PnP has similar products for more than R80). And I shall continue to be unhappy (perhaps even noisily so) if any of my favourite retailers charges ridiculous or inconsistent prices. Because hey, we're all consumers, right? And isn't this whole social media thing supposed to be there so we can help one another out?