Thursday, January 9, 2014

Working at Woolies

First thing of all, Happy New Year, even though I'm 9 days late...

I wanted to talk about what it's like working at Woolies/Woolworths or for people who dont live in Australia, a supermarket.
There's rarely any posts like these talking about a specific place, or what it's like, I only just see people posting in forums telling others not to work at Woolies, which honestly scared the living daylights out of me before my first day of work. (btw it is my first job).awn
I've been working since the end of May 2013 and to my surprise I actually love working at Woolies.
Now I'm here to share some tips and comments on what it's like working at Woolies and also for the people who shop at woolies, what you should know that you didnt know.
Hopefully it should help the people who probably havent started their first day of working at Woolies or maybe considering working at a supermarket.

So during my first week of working, it was honestly very scary. The thought that a customer may crack it at me for doing something wrong. And I know for the new recruits they usually have a 'buddy' standing next to them, but it wasnt the case for me, on the first/second day of work I was put on a register by myself but also with another staff member that was behind me working on another register just incase I had any troubles or questions. I also had this big green sign next to my register saying I was new.
But my first month of working was a blast, I had customers complimenting how I bag items, or how quick I scan. Customers really brighten the day with just random conversations. Even staff that are on the next registers, having a conversation with them when the store gets empty.

Tasks besides using the register

  • So besides being on the register, you will see other people doing "basket runs" which is where you take all the baskets hanging around registers and putting them back near the entrances.
  • Now my favourite one of all is when my supervisor tells me to do "stock", it's where you go to each register and get the items left behind from customers not wanting the item anymore. Then you put them back on the shelf.
  • Cleaning registers, just basically cleaning the registers that your supervisor tells you to clean.

First Time Tips

  • Don't be scared to ask questions. If you don't know what fruit or veg you're scanning/weighing, ask the customer or any staff that's around. Don't know the calling numbers, ask the supervisor before starting work.
  • When the store gets empty. My manager/supervisor will usually tell me to clean around the registers, clean your conveyor belt if their is a small spill or a sticky stain (some customers get annoyed when there's a small milk spill or juice on the belt.), pre-open the plastic bags, I know sometimes it gets hard to open them with cold fingers. And doing a basket run for your own register.
  • If you cant open the bags. Use those damp sponges to get the grip back on your fingers but if there isnt any around, I sometimes use the hand sanitizer which helps for a few seconds.
  • Make sure you have a pen on your register. Comes in handy when your bored also when customers need to sign.
  • Take your time, dont rush. Until you get use to scanning quickly don't rush. I've done it before with fruits and I have dropped them before... 
  • Ask customers if they want their meat bagged separately. Some customers are picky with bagging, so ask if they want their meat bagged separately, also ask that with items like, washing powder/detergent, hot chicken, pet food, birthday cards and watermelon.
[Feel free to leave more tips in the comments]

Things you should know that you didnt know.

So working at Woolworths, I know I get a lot of customers thinking that we should know everything, well maybe not everything. But most things like where a specific item is, when does BWS open, why does the bags not fit enough bread (paper bags at the bakery), specific questions about prepaid calling cards. Okay so this may be a a bit of a rant but it does bug me.
The people working on the registers are hired to scan & bag items and do some small tasks around the store. When I first started working I had no idea what 50% of the fruits and vegetables were, so I did have to ask what some of them were. Also the fact that some fruits go and change every season so I still have to learn the different fruits.

  • You don't have to put heavy items onto the conveyor belt eg. 24pack of coke, 15L water, 8kg dog foog, many more. The amount of times people put 24x600ml of water onto the belt, trust me, for a weak person like me, it hurts my wrists so much. So leave heavy items in your trolley and ask before putting it on the conveyor belt.
  • You can pay for a bag of ice at the register. You can also just leave it in your trolley too, but make sure you go to the same register you paid at and tell the person you got the ice. Just incase it looks like you're stealing the ice.
  • Don't freak out if your parent or friend leaves the line to go get another item. I know the feeling too, I had a phobia when I was little that it would happen to me. But trust me, dont freak out, we can save the transaction and continue serving the next customer until the person comes back. Same with if you forgot to get some bread or eggs etc, we can continue serving the next customer until you come back.
  • People under 18 can't sell cigarettes. If you smoke, I recommend going to a register with someone that looks over 18. Because people under 18 cant sell cigarettes. Sadly, I get mistaken for a uni student so it's a bit unfortunate for me.
  • Ask at a service desk where an item is. Chances are the person there will know where an item is, especially managers and supervisors.
  • Having problems at the Self Serve Checkouts?. Ask the person with a green lanyard around their neck, the key to your problem is on the lanyard, not just with a staff on a register.
  • Tell the checkout person how you want items to be bagged. If you arnt picky tell them that. I love it when I hear "pack the bags however you want" it's a big reliever. Every single staff on each register packs bags differently. We arnt trained to pack bags when we start. We just have to know via common knowledge. But I have customers that want meat with meat, cold stuff with cold stuff, cans with cans. But I also get customers that want meat on top of the cold stuff. So dont think we know how you want us to pack them. 
  • Want a refund? Go to the service desk, only supervisors can do that.
  • Forgot to scan your everyday rewards card? Yes sometimes I forget to ask customers if they have one, and sometimes they crack it at me afterwards. It's human of me to forget. So if they forgot to scan your card, you can go to the service desk to get your points if you really want them back.

Now that's all I remember on the top of my head.
I do recommend people who maybe have just turned 15 and are looking for a job. Do consider working at Woolies. But I know some people hate it. I personally think it's based on which woolies store they work at. I find that at my Woolies, I get along with maybe 80% of the staff I work with and I'm lucky enough that the 20% of the staff usually work on the days that I don't work on so, it's fine with me. Also the customers I find are quite nice. It's the best feeling having regular customers. Knowing that they like how you do things.

If you have any questions or anything I've left out, feel free to comment below!


  1. Wow, I've not read a post like this before but it was so so useful to read. I'm nearly 17 and have never had a job, primarily because I just find the concept so darn scary! This was the most wonderful idea for a post and you have eased my concerns so much, and I'm sure the concerns of many others. Thank you so much!

    1. A bit different to the usual beauty posts but I'm glad you liked it! It's never too late to start working, though I am a bit jealous of you since I don't have as much free time nowadays. I think you'll love the experience of working when the time comes :)

  2. i found this post so interesting to read! Just gives some perspective to what you guys do. I have a few friends who works at safeway/coles and they absolutely hate it haha

    ♥ M&L
    Enter our Bloggiversary Giveaway!

    1. Thanks girls! I wanted to do a post like this, knowing that there are rarely any posts about the whole "behind the scenes" of some common jobs. Does give some info to the people who dont know what they're going in to at working in Safeway! I think it's a 50/50 chance whether people will like working at a supermarket but I think its a whole lot better than working at Maccas or a fast food place haha :)