It is still the place to go shopping, notwithstanding the grumbling that the Nigerian business establishment must be so nuts as to be unable to organise and control even retail trading without bringing in their South African counterparts via such a chain as Shoprite. In terms of preservation, range of products, their make and size, it outranks its competitors in Nigeria after the collapse of the pioneers such as UAC, Leventis, KC Chellarams, etc. The evidence might be the spectacle that the members of the upper class, their wives, their children presents on the premises of Shoprite outlets across Nigeria.
But there is a psychological price to pay for the splendour of Shoprite. It is particularly if you are there to buy from their range of salad, apparently the best of that stuff around here. It is not clear yet if the price is universal to Shoprite outlets or restricted to its Apo branch in Abuja, Nigeria. Here, there is a consensus among patrons that it is a nightmare to want to buy salad in the outlet. According to those who have complained most persistently of this, it doesn’t matter whether it is peak period, weekend shopping or just anytime. First, you would most likely meet no one standing there for the purpose of serving salad. Two, you would be seeing staff in nurse-like coverlet but none of them would come forward. Similarly, one or two of same sort of staff would be seen selling food and it is only when they are done they would eventually come over to the salad section. But, by the time they do come, the customer is almost no longer interested after standing there for as long as 32 minutes and more in many cases. And even when they do, they come with a mien that suggests “yes, what the hell are you here for”.
The unanimity of the complaints took Intervention to the Apo Grand Towers of Shoprite three times this week. The last was on Friday, March 9th, 2018. Time of entry was 6. 38 pm and exit time on the receipt was 19: 24: 04 pm and how many items did Intervention reporter purchase this time? Just two! It was exactly as reported. It takes time for anyone to come up to sell the salad. One of those who complained told Intervention how he once had to call a classmate of his whom he knew to be a sort of a manager in the Grand Towers. That was after standing there for over twenty minutes even when there was no queue. The manager was livid with the staff but the next time this customer was in Shoprite to buy salad, he met an even more psychologically hostile shopping ambience in the salad section. There had been no change.
But, why might a chain put a product on display without an attendant to attend to customers? Is it possible that the Shoprite chain is not as sophisticated in organisation as it looks or is this a case of inadequate staffing? Could it be a crisis of supervision or just non-challant workers? Might the workers be so poorly paid that they just couldn’t care or are we dealing with friction between the Nigerian factor and South African enterprise? What could this be about?
And is it true that there are no alternative places to enjoy salad around Abuja that the more ‘they’ complain, the more ‘they’ head to Shoprite. How might this be resolved in a win-win outcome?