At a few minutes to 8.00 pm, I remember that I ran out of cooking oil last night. I decide to alight before my stage so that I can buy this basic need before the shop closes (Naivas closes at 8.00 pm). Being a girl, I shop for more than I came for - cooking oil, milk, bread and ice cream. Everything is good until I check my wallet, and realize that I only have 100 shillings with me. So what do you do when you are cashless and can't walk out of the door without taking with you what brought you here? Swipe right? The teller guy takes forever gazing at my ID and MasterCard before telling me, 'We don't swipe less than 500 shillings.'
And with that statement, I vowed that I was done with Naivas?
I know, it sounds petty. But, my history with Naivas goes way back, way back to the time I wrote this piece; #Nakumatt, Tuskys, Uchumi, Naivas and Ukwala---WHERE TO AND WHERE NOT TO SHOP. At the time, my ethical standards only let me to do an analysis, and let the reader choose what is right for them. But today, I self-nominate myself as an anti-Naivas ambassador.
Personally, here's a list of the stupid service I have had to deal with while shopping in ANY of the Naivas branches:
- Double-charging you whenever you shop with a Visa card. If you're not a big fan of bank statements, these guys will certainly drain your account dry.
- They charge you when applying for a Naivas Reward Card. And, if you lose it, they charge you another KSh. 300 to renew it.
- There happens to be some things that they don't pack in their ugly paper bags. Don't they know that every time we carry those paper bags, we advertise them?
- Selling of expired goods...
My complaints aside, now to 'a few' complaints made by other Kenyans from all across the various Naivas branches:
Ngong-Juanco: Peter K buys eggs from the supermarket only to find them broken when he gets home. Next time he's there, he asks that they pack them properly, which they do. But, instead of finding the 30 eggs he bought, he finds 28.
Westlands: Mark walks into the just opened Naivas Café and places an order. They forget, ask him again, forget, ask him again, forget, ask him again - four times. He decides to leave.
Ngong Town: Mr Maina walks into the bakery section of the super market only to find the employees washing their uniforms inside the food sink.
Ronald Ngala & Nakuru: As Lucy is walking out the door, the alarms go on. She's searched and when nothing is found, the employees simply say, sometimes the metal detectors act up. They didn't bother to apologize. In Rachel's case, she had everything in her bag displayed on the counter, and after finding nothing, the guys just went away. The guy who installed the detectors is the one who came to apologise.
Thika Road: Sells halfway cooked food.
Eastgate: Samuel is so excited when he's told that the fridge he just bought will be delivered in his house. They make the delivery many hours later; at 10.00 pm, and leave it just there for him to figure out how he's going to get it into his flat, which happens to be on the third floor.
Machakos: Ali buys a fridge and DSTV from the shop. It takes hours for the delivery to be made and a whole week before they can install the DSTV satellite dish.
Komarock: A lady buys mattresses at 10.00 in the morning, and is promised that a delivery will be made before noon. At six o'clock, the delivery is yet to be made. When she calls to make an enquiry, someone hangs up on her.
Greenhouse & Oil Libya: The prices on the shelves are lower than the ones on the till.
The only branch that seems to be okay is the Naivas Nyali.
A previous attempt to reach the management in regards to similar complains made earlier in the year, this is how they responded: 'Afternoon all, we commissioned an independent firm to conduct a wholesome customer delivery survey and we expect a report this Wednesday. In the meanwhile, a refresher training is being organized to ensure service delivery is per expectations. Do allow us till Friday to respond fully."
In my opinion, this is what has contributed Naivas into becoming the worst shopping store in the country:
Employees are poorly paid: In an interview with one of the local papers, Mr. Mukuha (one of the directors) stated that the supermarket, which has 33 branches, employees approximately 4,500 employees, both directly and indirectly. He also mentioned that the company's monthly expenditure is about KSh. 75 million while the monthly turnover is about KSh. 7.8 billion. The 75 million caters for the rent, transport, paying workers and others. Assuming that each employee takes home KSh. 20,000, that would amount to 90 million. That means that there's no way an employee earns 20,000. It has to be far much less.
Employees lack formal training: You may have seen that whenever they're looking for new staff, they post an A4 black and white printed advert on their walls- looking for form 4 leavers, who are then trained 'in-housely'. As stated in their website, 'our staff undergo in-house training on customer service and complaint handling'.
Employees are treated like shit: This is courtesy of a Mr. John Doe who's an employee at Naivas Kitengela. Employees are never given leave and if they don't do everything the manager says, they are given punishments, like primary school kids in the days of Moi. What kind of punishments you may ask? Washing the toilets.
In a nutshell, the problem with Naivas isn't just about having rude and arrogant staff, sub-standard goods or poor customer service; it all starts from the top. Mr. Simon Gashwe Mukuha and Mr. David Kimani Mukuha, who are the current Naivas directors, have over the years been involved in a family feud with other family members. One of the brothers, Mr. Newton Kagira Mukuha alleges that the two brothers have excluded him from the partnership, and just like in the case of Tusky's, this case is likely to take years to solve. And should I say that the directors are mere high school graduates?
|Mr. Mukuha - Naivas director|
I understand that the management encourages feedback from their customers' but judging from their social media pages where they never respond to customer queries, complains or compliments, it clear that they just don't care. This is why I had to put it all here.