Dear PoPville – More Problems at the Tivoli Giant

Photo by PoPville flickr user rosiedawn

“Dear PoPville,

I know you guys wrote about the problems with the Tivoli Square Giant – but I’m unhappy to report that they are back again. So far this week they are installing a new checkout system, that will become standard at all Giant’s. This system, which is designed for smaller receipts to be printed, was called “slower” by the 2 cashiers i’ve visited this week, and clearly has a great number of flaws as well. Most importantly, Giant either no longer accepts phone numbers as a replacement for physical bonus cards, (as one cashier told me) or is forcing everybody to re-register their numbers as myself, and the 5 people in line with me all were told by the cashier that the system “didn’t recognize the number” which mean we didn’t have numbers because the new system was fool-proof.

All in all, my last two trips to Giant have featured 45 minute waits at the checkout and non functioning, “new and improved systems”

I don’t understand why, after fighting so hard to regain the trust of the community, Giant is letting Trivoli be the guinea pig for a system that clearly isn’t ready for prime time. Do you have any more information on what the changes are and why?”

40 Comment

  • The new checkout system definitely has flaws, but it does allow you to enter your phone number still as an alternate ID. After you enter your number, you then need to enter “0000” when it asks for a code. It’s very silly and if it’s required then the system should automatically enter that on behalf of every customer after they enter their phone number. The keypads all have a very small note on the bottom stating to enter the “0000”. I like that we can now sign on the machine rather than having to use a pen to sign a paper receipt, but they definitely didn’t do usability testing on the process ahead-of-time…

  • I’m usually not the one to say something like this but…its a grocery store, if you don’t like it, go somewhere else or open your own. Shopping sucks but you generally need to do it.

    • “if you don’t like it, go somewhere else”

      That’s exactly what I do. I drive to Harries Teeter and it takes less time than the checkout at Giant.

      • +1 for AdMo (Kalorama) Teeter. . It’s a marginally longer trek, but much preferred store. I don’t go daily/constantly.

  • I think the problem is that most of us can’t go to another one and don’t have the ability to open our own.

    Have you been there? It really does suck. Although the employees are nice. The flaws with the store are structural.

    They did not even have one pork shoulder in the entire store the last time I was there. This isn’t yuppy hipster goose pate, I’m talking about a basic meat.

  • +1 This place was on the right track, and may have taken a turn for the worst. I’m hoping that once the employees get used to the system, things will improve.

  • I used my phone number with no problem two days ago.

    One other thing, which I’ve noticed and commented on in other posts about this Giant over the past couple years: Some people say things like “I had a THIRTY MINUTE wait” or even (like the OP here) a “45 minute wait.” That’s B.S. I’ve been shopping at the Columbia Heights Giant for years at all hours of the day and night — I’m there at least twice a week, buying tons of groceries for a family of four — and I have never, NOT ONCE, waited 45 minutes to checkout. Even when the lines are backed up halfway down the aisles, that’s only about a 20-minute wait. I know it feels interminable, but there are plenty of legitimate complaints about the store, so you’re not helping your cause by exaggerating the scope of the problem.

    • I’ve been shopping at this Giant since it was built. I have waited 45 minutes. I have waited 30 minutes. I figured this out by looking at my watch or timing the phone call I decided to take with my ample time. I feel like a captive in those lines.

      Sometimes the lines move quickly, but a lot of times at this Giant they do not.

      • That Giant has always been a mob scene whenever I have been there. If I lived in the area, I would definitely be shopping at Harris Teeter or Target instead.

  • Ahem…. waaaaaaah.

  • jim_ed

    I think its just a matter of overwhelming demand. That Giant is the only game in town currently, and that’s not Giant’s fault.

    I popped in the other day for something, and every single register was open, and there were still lines going up the aisles. Eventually, you’d have to think someone will build an additional grocery store close by, but until then, thats how Giant is going to be.

  • Oh good idea PK! The Columbia Heights Giant takes forever to check out, and I was going to talk to the manager or discuss it with other folks here on the blog, but instead I’ll just open my own grocery store! The obvious solution. Why didn’t I think of it?! Since I’m boycotting Giant now, i guess, I better have my store open soon – I am almost out of groceries. Oh well, once it’s open I won’t have to worry about this ever again. Thanks PK!

  • There are at least 3 other grocery stores within half a mile of here (the full service Latin grocery in Mt. P, HT on California, and Safeway on Columbia Road). I’m not buying any arguments on that there’s no other nearby options. Also, I sincerely doubt that there’s a 45 minute wait to check-out. That’s just absurd exaggeration.

    Once the new grocery stores in Petworth open up, a lot of pressure will be relieved on this Giant location. Until then, try to spread yourself to other stores. The HT is usually not that bad.

  • This place blows. Went there once and will NEVER go back.

  • While we’re on it…it is little known that the store has a sign in the front that states that if you catch them between 4-6pm with any registers closed they will give you a free rotisseries chicken. I have done so a couple of times and given the rain check to someone hungrier than I. HOWEVER…I often catch them with closed registers and get crap lines about how it doesn’t count when the register isn’t working, or someone is on break..etc. The sign makes no bones about it…if a register is closed you get a chicken.

    I would love more people to take the effort to talk to a manager between those hours if you notice a closed line. If you have the energy to push through the bull you could get a free chicken out of it. If you already have dinner you could give it to someone hungry. If you don’t have dinner…then voila!

  • epric002

    i’ve never timed a wait in line, but the lines there are ALWAYS long. 45 minutes may be exaggeration, but 20+ is probably pretty standard. that’s why i use peapod.

  • If you live in Park View this giant is about a half mile away and the stores you talk about are much further.

    I guess you live around 16th. Woe to us poors who would like a decent grocery store over here.

    I really don’t see why this is getting so polarized. No one is saying it’s a human right that we have a decent grocery store, we’re just saying we want one. It’s a relatively decent thing to want.

    At least we all agree the Giant sucks. And I agree the only thing that will help is competition. But we still get to complain until that happens. Especially since there really is nothing we can do about it. Really, there isn’t.

  • If they had cashiers AND baggers at each check-out line, things would go much faster. And I agree, the meat selection is weak.

  • Safeway is not that far away in Adams Morgan. It’s not a gorgeous store, but it’s better than the Tivoli Giant. You can also take the bus to Whole Foods or Harris Teeter. Probably not as convenient as Giant, but your shopping experience–nay, your LIFE–will be so much more positive. Why waste your time and money at a shitty grocery store?

  • I don’t doubt that people sometimes exaggerate their wait times, but I personally have actually spent 45 minutes in line at this Giant, verified with the time stamps of text messages I sent during the ordeal. I too have been there many times over the years, and many times I’ve gotten through in 0-10 minutes. But I have seen it get really, really hairy on a couple of occasions, and don’t find it implausible that other people have suffered through 45 minute waits there as well.

  • You do know that there is a new Safeway coming near the GA Ave. metro, right?

  • Once that new Harris Teeter goes in at Florida and W, we can all just go there! Oh, wait…

  • why are you writing to a blog instead of writing directly to Giant? you can go to their website and write up your whole beef right there. i did it when i wound up throwing out all the produce i had JUST bought. the store manager called me this week, aplogizing and begging me to give them another chance. they are refunding my $$, too. If you really feel like you have a valid complaint, tell it to Giant!

  • I went here a few times when I moved to the area since I always shopped at Giant, my blood pressure spikes every time I set foot in that place. Now I go to the Safeway on Georgia and Piney Branch. My shopping experience has been dramatically better, so peaceful, never crowed. Although I have been an avid Giant shopper switching to Safeway has been the best decision.

  • Just do Peapod. You can order a month’s worth of groceries and have it delivered for $8.00. It is worth every penny.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      +1 Plus, they not only deliver they will bring it up to your kitchen and put stuff where you direct them. If you order heavy stuff like I do (kitty litter) it’s worth the delivery charge.

  • Agreed, even though the Giant is only 1 block from my apartment, I only go there if I absolutely need to. I do the vast majority of my shopping at other grocery stores due the long lines and general unpleasantness of the store.

  • I think the problem is that all of us always put in a fake phone number so now they want you to register with your real information. Its easy. You can set up an account online on their website.

  • My phone number is very real, and it definitely did not work last night at the Giant.

  • and

  • Sadly however, their roitssiere chickens are horrible- or were 4-5 years ago when last I tried one – very chemical/watery tasting.

  • This is the closest grocery store to my home, but I stopped going there years ago. It seems to be the model for just how bad a newly-built, urban grocery store can be.

  • Everybody wants to eat roast beef but nobody wants to date the Butcher…

  • Maybe it is because I go at off times, but I’ve rarely had problems there. I also live close enough that I can walk over, check out how long the lines are and come back later if they’re really long. The new system worked just fine at the self check out a couple days ago when I was there.

  • +1 That’s why I shop at 7/11 and the gas station on Euclid/14th.

  • Wow – I feel the opposite. I was out of my mind going to that Safeway when it was an even remotely busy time. The lines wouldn’t necessarily be long….but they were SO SLOW. Someone would have a problem, we’d have a nice leisurely wait before management could come over, they’d direct the next person to customer service and WAIT for them to get back, there were language barriers over WIC coupons and just a general SLOWNESS that drove me crazy. I have hopes for the new Safeway going in, but I will never go back to the one at Piney Branch. Giant has been incrementally better.

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