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Why is Woolwich Tesco such a poor shopping experience?

Woolwich Tesco hasn’t had a charmed life. The building itself gained notoriety after completion by winning the carbuncle cup.

The store experience itself has also come in for a bit of a battering over the years. Inadequate staffing is a common complaint with long queues a frequent irritation.

Not a looker from some angles

Then there’s the escalators. Ah, the escalators.

They’re so bad they’ve inspired a Twitter account.

Currently one is out of action and has been for some time. That means the other is switched off. The lifts have a tendency to stop working too. So it’s walk up and down steps or queue for a lift – which on a busy Saturday isn’t quick.

It’s not a great experience.

The car park also had issues of commuters parking all day for a while depriving visitors. That wasn’t supposed to happen when awarded planning permission.

What’s weird is how this branch seems so slow to rectify problems, if at all. I’ve never heard so much complaining about a supermarket. When altered on social media there’s little response from the company.

Sainsbury’s, Lidl and other nearby shops must love it.


  1. Simon

    As I understand it the staff have to take an IQ test get over 75 and no job for you

    • Charles Calthrop

      That’s a rather shabby dismissal of honestly employed people. The poor decisions at hand are those of Tesco and the developer, who decided to outfit such an outsize store with a single pair of escalators. Even three at the front would have suggested that more people are eager to gain entry than leave, and the singular lack of clearly-signed alternatives means any emergency evacuation will result in injury.

      None of this is the failure of the staff, just the result of an incompetent architect and a developer with no sense of the practical. As with any organisation that displeases you, your sanction is to simply walk away. A process made unfailingly easy by the lack of a working escalator.

    • Simon

      Basically Simon is a twat who probably don’t even have a job!

  2. I was there this morning. Totally agree. A miserable experience — and it wasn’t that busy!

    Totally unfair to blame the shop floor staff though. There’s nothing they can do about it, but cop people’s anger and insults about their IQ….

    • Robert

      Agree Chris. That comment about IQ above is out of order. I visited this store on Tuesday and it was a mess. The escalator situation is dangerous as well. Seems to be really badly managed. I normally shop in the Sainsbury’s at Charlton. A much better experience.

  3. Carolina

    Not just the lifts and escalators. The store and car park always seem to be dirty. The staff is overworked and the lines are always big, no matter what time you go there. If anyone can afford the privilege of choosing stores, they go to the Welling Tesco, which seems to be miles better. I don’t know why so many bad stuff happens in this store but fresh management may help.

  4. Glenn

    Yes , has anyone been to the Ikea in Greenwich. ? How was your experience? . I have to admit after 30 minutes trying to find one item , I was giving up the will to live , No signs large enough to show where things are , A store Map as you go in Would help . Luckily a lovely member of staff showed me . And check out what a performance. It said borrow a bag , the big yellow ones , the checkout woman said You can’t use them You have to buy a Blue one , then decided to argue with me about the amount of items I had , after I told her and the total price. Which was correct. I don’t think I will be going again .

  5. Special K

    I have stopped shopping at Tesco Woolwich good few years ago when during my shopping I have found a soiled nappy laying on the top of bananas… Could not believe my eyes….
    And in general at Tesco when I found out how they treat their suppliers, especially the smaller businesses

  6. Plumstead Resident

    It’s been abysmal for years. The worst supermarket in Woolwich by a mile. Lidl, Sainsbury’s, M&S Foodhall, and even the Tesco Express in the Arsenal is far better than the Extra store.

    Shabby front, with overfilled litter bins, dirty floors, escalators that don’t work, lack of shopping baskets, long queues, staff not knowing where basic products are, staff actually shoplifting(!), self service kiosks in poor shape.

  7. CDT

    Special K with regard to the soled nappy that is down to the shopper who had left there ! Although agreed any member of staff should have called for the offending item to be removed Some of the stores mess is also down to the shoppers who open packets eat the contents and throw the packaging on the floor. Not only is this stealing it makes the stores a mess.

    • Plumstead Resident

      Quite, but why is worse in Tesco Extra then say Iceland or Lidl? Two words: “bad management”.

  8. anonymous201486

    I live too far away from Tesco Woolwich to make regular visits, but the last time I was there both escalators were working.

    Considering the size of the store, it should be a beacon. That it isn’t is definitely the fault of management.

  9. Tim Scott

    About 18 months ago I was caught short in there and had to use the sit-down facility. The locks were broken so I hoped my bags propped against the door would prevent intruders. I was wrong, and was treated to the sight of a man in a hurry wanting to invade my space. Afterwards I complained to the woman at the customer service desk while we both tried to keep a straight face – well, you have to see the funny side of these things. But she said she’d put the word out and get it sorted. A month or so later I returned to the scene of the crime, again in need (honestly, I don’t usually make a habit of this), and was again rudely interrupted while deep in thought. Yes, the locks hadn’t been repaired at all. Perhaps their new slogan should be ‘Every Little thing that goes wrong Helps our competitors to gain customers’.

  10. CDT

    Good points raised here. When I go in Woolwich Tesco’s I hardly ever see a Manager on the shop floor, Unlike other stores like Morrisons,

    Asda and Sainsburys. Every department should have a Team Leader so where are they too? You cannot manage a large store from behind a desk in a room.

    Only the actual store Manager should do this. The rest of the Managers/Team Leaders should be out on the shop floor.

    The comments about the stores staff IQ are totally out of order. At least the staff are working and working hard for their living.

    The escalators do appear to be a on going problem at this store, but if this is down to Tesco’s or the Escalator Company who maintain the escalators I am not sure.

  11. Maria

    No one has mentioned the smell of urine always in the car park (near the entrance). I don’t shop there anymore – I drive to Charlton for the pleasant m&s and Sainsbury’s experience. Tesco Woolwich is shambolic.

    • Yve

      I know! It’s just awful! WHAT A STENCH!!!! And human faeces all over the car par as well as urine. Totally unsanitary.

      I feel bad for them however And they need to help the homeless relocate from there. Fed up seeing stained and soiled mattresses in a shoppers car park. Although the car park is free (which is the only good thing about it) It is a terrible experience to walk through to do a simple shop – especially when you have children and you’re telling them to dodge the urine puddles, mind the poo, and avoid the beggars. Some times I have no choice but to park there if I’m going to the Council office there to see someone or have to buy my ethnic foods and hair products in Woolwich. It’s cheaper there – but a terrible experience.

  12. Mike

    I agree this store is a very unpleasant experience, but actually the worst decision was building seats outside of the store entrance where people do drugs, drink alcohol, eat their takeaways and generally cause a nuisance. Despite all of the litter bins they leave all the c**p all over the floor! Very unsightly and unnecessary and I wish they would remove the seats altogether 😬

  13. S D L

    Meh, I never have a problem walking up static escalators. There’s also two travelators going up into the store from the car park, so yeh, it’s really not impossible or that problematic. Just a bit inconvenient.

    Complaining for complainings sake as per usual it seems.

  14. Gina

    I have only been there twice, and definitely the last time I didn’t feel safe there. Tensed and cramped. Lidl for me, very well staffed and more mellow environment

  15. The place is just oddly set out , it`s difficult to find anyone to ask,and the atmosphere is just plain weird. Dismal place.

  16. KK

    It seems enough customers haven’t switched loyalties for the management to notice the extremely poor experience their retail outlet offers!

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