Medicine Hat Media

Safeway – The Slowest Grocery Store?

I have been to pretty much every grocery store in town and they all have their ups and their downs, but Safeway seems to be the slowest in terms of “get in and get out.” The marketing strategy that Safeway seems to convey is to have a clean store with good service. They absolutely have the clean store down and their shelves and bins are always stocked, but their service is very mediocre.

I like going to Safeway because I find their fruit and vegetables to usually be clean, nicely stocked and devoid of bruises, and the Safeway club card seems to minimize an enormous bill. The associates who work in the deli and pharmacy always seem very attentive and quick in servicing customers, but then you get to the nightmare of checking out.

In my experience, checking out at Safeway is a slow grueling task that makes shopping there not worth it at all. Unless you go shopping way later in the evening, the lines, whether express or not, always seem to take at least 15-20 minutes, then another 5-8 minutes to check out your groceries. There never seems to be enough cashiers on hand. For instance, the last time I was at Safeway, there were 20 people waiting in line for 4 tills, 2 of which were express lanes. It took me about 15 minutes to stand in line, wait, and check out my 5 items.

If I can help it, I will probably not go back to Safeway unless it is either very early in the morning or later in the evening to help minimize the amount of people in the checkout lanes.

User Comments

7 Responses to “Safeway – The Slowest Grocery Store?”

  1. August 19th, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    travis says:

    One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of grocery stores is that they often put the slowest cashiers on the express lines which causes them to be just as slow as the normal lines.

    I tend to shop at Northlands Co-op just because it is the closest to my residence and they also have the same problems with open tills and large lines. And by the time they get new tills open (if they even bother) the line-ups are mostly through.

  2. August 19th, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    Vaughn says:

    I’ve never had that much trouble with the check-out. It’s mostly the “wtf?” as I look at the prices going down the aisles then leaving.

  3. August 19th, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    Alman says:

    You know you are in a small town when…
    People complain about parking more than 20 metres from where they are shopping (unless it’s at the mall).
    If it takes 15 minutes to get from one side of town to the other and that’s not good enough.
    AND if you have to wait at all at a grocery line up.
    ’nuff said

  4. August 19th, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    Simon says:

    Safeway will be getting self checkout very soon, that should help speed things up

  5. August 19th, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Dusty says:

    Haha, if you’re in a small town then it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to get to the other side. Technically Medicine Hat is a “city” not a “small town”.

    Unless I’m at the mall and need one or two things, I don’t go to Safeway. Lots of places (if not all) would rather give one employee the job of three to save money instead of putting out there employees to make things faster for their shoppers.

  6. August 20th, 2010 at 1:26 AM

    Larry says:

    I have found there is not a “one stop” shopping location in Medicine Hat. The Hill Safeway seems to have the best selection of condiments, standard fair canned goods and ethnic items. The attended meat counter comes up with some interesting and appetizing ideas on a consistent basis. In fact the people that run the meat counter border on annoying with the speed with which they offer their assistance. I like to peruse the offerings before I make a selection and I would say they never seem to leave me alone long enough to see what there is in the displays. Check out at this store is terrible as they never seem to cover enough stations.

    Northlands Coop is my other main choice as they have a varied deli section, adequate bakery and produce section. I would rate the check out experience as better than Safeway, Sobeys or IGA.

    The IGA on the Flats has an above average bakery and reasonable but small deli section. If you pay attention to the amount of checkouts available versus the speed with which they process the orders I would say they handle the load very well.

    Surprisingly, the best single experience I can recall was at Giant Tiger. I was searching for a specific cheap can opener and went in to see if they had it. They stock a smallish selection of grocery items and I found the shelves well stocked and orderly. The amazing part was they have I believe something like 4 checkouts. When I went to pay for the can opener which they had at an excellent price there were 4 employees manning the stations to serve three people. I bought 3 of the can openers for less than I would have to pay for one anywhere else so I haven’t had a need to go back to the store and compare other checkout lines, but I have no doubt the same would be the case next time.

  7. September 16th, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    Christine says:

    I agree with alman. Small town mentality for sure. Then you have Larry complaining about how great the service is at the meat counter.

Leave a Reply