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Supermarkets in Poland: differences and similarities to the UK.


holly76 1 | 8  
18 Feb 2009 /  #1
Hi there,

I am currently a student at Royal Holloway, University of London, undertaking research for my dissertation - on supermarkets (Tesco and Carrefour) in Poland.

I would really appreciate your feedback on how the supermarkets in Poland are tailored to local tastes with examples and how the store layout/format is similar or different to the supermarkets in the UK!

Also, whether you have seen an impact on the local surroundings since the 'big' supermarkets have arrived in Poland!

I also wonder whether anyone on this forum has worked in Tesco/Carrefour in Poland or the UK? If so, it would be great if you could get in touch to let me know your experiences i. what you liked, disliked etc!

Really appreciate your help fellow forumers!

Many thanks,

Holly
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163  
18 Feb 2009 /  #2
Hi...

how the store layout/format is similar or different to the supermarkets in the UK!

No idea...
frd 7 | 1,399  
18 Feb 2009 /  #3
I can tell you about the impact, at first when most of those big supermarkets and shopping centers started appearing, owners of little stores went rioting, trade unions, petitions, stuff like that. Generally they thought they're gonna loose all clients, and clients will loose possibility to buy goods in genuinely polish shops with business tradition handled by the same family for generations..

and... nothing happened, at least for me as a customer, actually such aggregation of shops created a healthy competition that can only benefit us, customers..

beside that for some time in Poland there's a certain notion indicating that workers in many small size supermarkets are beeing exploited, you can see an article about it every now and then..
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163  
19 Feb 2009 /  #4
Generally they thought they're gonna loose all clients, and clients will loose possibility to buy goods in genuinely polish shops with business tradition handled by the same family for generations..
and... nothing happened

Most of the small stores survived but I wouldn't say that nothing happened. Small stores are much different now. In big cities It looks like most of the stuff they sell are beer, newspapers, sweets, bread, butter etc. so generally either things, which must be bought daily or small things, which wouldn't be worth It to go to a large supermarket to buy them... but small stores, which were packed up to the roof with fluor, sugar, potatoes etc. are generally gone as people just drive to a supermarket once a week to buy such things.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
20 Feb 2009 /  #5
I like the layouts of both Tesco and Carrefour. Tesco is quite a spacious store here. The main difference in layout is the magazines. In Scotland, the big Tesco in the Bridge of Don has a large selection on shelves near the main entrance. In Gliwice, Poland, they don't have a magazine section as such.

Local tastes, well, pickles/gherkins spring to mind. They have so many types in jars. We have them back home but nothing like here.

They also have eateries in Tesco here. The same goes for Carrefour. I can't recall any such thing in the Tesco back home. That's a significant point I'd say, noteworthy.

I don't know how it is back home now but they have special entry and exit points to the alcohol section in both Tesco and Carrefour. You pay there. I remember Norco and Sainsbury's operated in that way. The alcohol section in Tesco back home was just another part of the store, without having to enter those special ways with the blue arrows and no entrance sign (red with white stripe) like you have here.

Anything else you want to know, please ask.
OP holly76 1 | 8  
20 Feb 2009 /  #6
Hi,

Thank you all so much for your really interesting insights!

Its great to get info on the Polish supermarkets and comparison with the UK and also the impact on Poland...

Overall, I wonder, do you prefer the Tesco/Carrefour in Poland or in UK and why would you say?

Also, how do you rate the service you recieve in the UK and Poland? Are staff atttitudes the same, are you served the same way etc?

Also, are there competitors in Poland who are better at serving local tastes and why would you say?

Thank you so much for your time! Will be writing up my dissertation with the help of your feedback!

Holly
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387  
20 Feb 2009 /  #7
Also, how do you rate the service you recieve in the UK and Poland? Are staff atttitudes the same, are you served the same way etc?

In general:

Service is much better in the UK.

Staff have a better work ethic in the UK.

Which means that management is probably better in the UK.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
20 Feb 2009 /  #8
There is Costa Coffee cafe which was a Tesco cafe in the Tesco near me, so they do have them in the UK.
OP holly76 1 | 8  
20 Feb 2009 /  #9
Cheers! Thats really interesting to hear there is a difference! Would you say it was because of pay/training/culture etc?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387  
20 Feb 2009 /  #10
Would you say it was because of pay/training/culture etc?

all the above.

don't get me wrong. there are some very helpful staff working here.

Polish shopworkers possibly see their job as a temporary fix. The attitude of customers might not help their mood either. So, in some cases this might cause less than 100% customer service and care.

I sometimes think the customer could do with a change of attitude too.
OP holly76 1 | 8  
20 Feb 2009 /  #11
...are Polish customers more demanding do you think? Would it have something to do with culture/history or are they the same as UK?
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254  
20 Feb 2009 /  #12
Norco, Seanus? You're showing your age now! I remeber it well though, the cafe there did an amazing mince pie.

You should see Danestone Tesco now though, you wouldn't recognise it at all, it's almost completely changed (well, the booze is still a hideously long walk to the other side of the store, but...).
whyikit 6 | 102  
20 Feb 2009 /  #13
When I was in Poland the big differences I noticed in supermarkets were that you are not allowed to take a rucksack into the supermarket in Poland!! This is annoying for me as I do not like plastic bags and prefer just to use a rucksack but you can not do that in Poland. The other big difference is fish, in poland there are tanks of fish for sale, this sort of thing does not Appear in the UK noticed this in both Tesco & Macro.
OP holly76 1 | 8  
20 Feb 2009 /  #14
wow no rucksacks, thats unusual! Was that in Tesco?

Interesting to hear about the fish...do people prefer fresher food in Poland?
Harry  
20 Feb 2009 /  #15
Are you seriously planning to write a dissertation on Polish supermarkets without actually visiting a supermarket in Poland?!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
20 Feb 2009 /  #16
Shelley, that's cool. I guessed they had updated their service.

I also found that the UK Tesco had more healthy eating options on the labels of foodstuffs. My mum always made a beeline for them. Her idea of a meal was/is 100 calories or under.

Another difference is the ready-made meals in the UK. Britain is MUCH more of a microwave culture than Poland. You can pick up cannelloni and lasagne etc etc much easier back home than here in Poland. I miss those meals a lot but my stomach is the better for it.

Wrocław is spot on, the staff here are not as friendly as back home.

No rucksacks, what??? I take mine in every time, as does my fiancee. They don't even bat an eyelid. Then again, I'm often told that I look like the trusting type. Maybe that makes the difference but it isn't Tesco policy to refuse you entry based on that.

Delphi, Norco :) They had some cracking pies for sure. Norco Berryden, I used to love going there as a kid. It changed to Sainsbury I think. Danestone Tesco was really nice, I used to love picking up a baguette and the micro meals.
whyikit 6 | 102  
20 Feb 2009 /  #17
No rucksack, that was not in Tesco but Carefur In Lublin, I was really surprised. Just thought one of the main difference that I found, although not just supermarkets, was that they do not put money into your hand but on a dish or just the counter. I found this very strange.

As for the fish I think it has more to do with in the UK we do not like to know where our food comes. There are a lot of people who for some reason do not associate meat with an animal and therefore seeing a Live fish would put people off. What do other think?
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
20 Feb 2009 /  #18
Aha, Carrefour are the same here. They give you a special token and keep your rucksack. That really implies distrust.

About the counter thing, true. I just put my hand out before they can slap it on the counter. They try to go round my hand but I don't let them, LOL

I agree with your last point. Still, it depends on where. In Aberdeen, many buy their fish from licensed fishmongers rather than supermarkets. The quality in supermarkets, for me anyway, is ok. Still, nothing beats a good fishcake, especially if it's a salmon one. I also adore fresh lemon sole with a pinch or 2 of salt.

I've seen live fish from around the world so I can exclude myself but as for others...
nikttaki 5 | 62  
20 Feb 2009 /  #19
About the counter thing, true. I just put my hand out before they can slap it on the counter. They try to go round my hand but I don't let them, LOL

I am Polish and do something opposite in Scotland! LOL As soon as possible, I just put money on the counter before the seller puts out his hand! Usually I win! :)

It's like a competition! :)

What a shame that paying by card does not give this sort of "fun"!
frd 7 | 1,399  
20 Feb 2009 /  #20
I think it depends on specific shop/supermarket, some put change on the counter and some put it in your hand.. I don't think it's a polish supermarkets trait.. the same with fish tanks, besides they appear only in the bigger supermarkets and most of tescos at least here in silesia are medium sided, some don't have any special "fish" section.

The thing with rucksacks, it's probably the same, in some supermarkets you can carry whatever you like to carry, in some cases guards won't let you pass. I remember that at one point I wasn't allowed to carry my bag in Real supermarket, and previously I havn't had any problems with that - so maybe it depends on how you look like, you probably shouldn't grin suspiciously at the guards..
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105  
20 Feb 2009 /  #21
Quick question, in the attached picture, above the checkouts there seems to be something that looks like a computer monitor suspended from the ceiling. If it is a computer monitor what would it be showing? I haven't seen anything like that before.

Edit: It's a flickr image so just follow the link...

PL supermarket
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387  
20 Feb 2009 /  #22
Quick question, in the attached picture,

I can't get the picture to come up. But the monitor is probably part of the security system. Staff can look at the screen and not the customer.

Biedronka uses it.

Edit: it's the cigarette dispenser
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,105  
20 Feb 2009 /  #23
Edit: it's the cigarette dispenser

Ah right, thanks Wroclaw.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254  
20 Feb 2009 /  #24
Edit: it's the cigarette dispenser

It amazes me that in a country that has so much distrust towards strangers, they allow cigarettes to be sold by individual cashiers.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
21 Feb 2009 /  #25
Wonders will never cease. Maybe it's just perceived distrust? Poland is not as much in the stone-ages as we may think.
Ogorki - | 115  
21 Feb 2009 /  #26
Holly - in Poland you arrive at your local supermarket - grab a trolley and you push it around the store and sellect the items that you want. When you have all you want (aided by a 'S-h-o-p-p-i-n-g-l-i-s-t' ) you go to the checkout where you checkout and pay for your shopping. They take cash - vouchers - cheques - and credit cards. When done - you load up your car and drive away.

JESUS CHRIST WHAT DO THEY THINK THIS COUNTRY IS?
Misty 5 | 144  
21 Feb 2009 /  #27
Oi Attitude,

The girl is just asking for similarities or differences and I notice already one difference in that PD saw those things about the checkouts and Wroclaw described them as cigarette dispensers. So there is a difference.

Also in attitudes, the serving staff. Less helpful in Poland apparently.
Ogorki - | 115  
21 Feb 2009 /  #28
In general:

Service is much better in the UK.

Staff have a better work ethic in the UK.

WHAT??!!! THEY SWIPE AN ITEM AND IT BLEEPS!! THAT'S IT!
Misty 5 | 144  
21 Feb 2009 /  #29
You need to chill out or you'll be testing the NHS work ethic when you have your heart attack.
Ogorki - | 115  
21 Feb 2009 /  #30
here at home I go to sainsbury's and walk left to get to the sausages, but in Asda I can walk straight up to the sausages. but then in sainsbury's they keep changing the bloody layout so just when you get used to where everything is - you have to learn it all again. there you go.

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