Thing is..I cant quite put a finger on exactly what it is that causes me to dislike the place so much.
It may have something to do with the fact that for such a large space..its really cramped and crowded. They have huge isles..so huge infact that they decided to place products in the middle of many of them thus rendering the walking areas quite narrow in places. For the record I also dread any trips to Nakumatt Ukay because its so cramped, stuffy, lightless and airless.
Maybe its an existing preconception I have from the bad old days that a trip to Uchumi was just a preamble to a trip to Nakumatt..simply because you never ever managed to find everything you would need at the Uchumi so you had to go someplace else to get what you missed out on. However this aspect of Uchumi has improved significantly oflate. I've also noticed that whereas Nakumatt tend to have full shelves, they often run out of products as well. If you're a Nakumatt shopper and you regularly buy Besbix 20kg dogfood for example, I can guarantee that you'll frequently find it's not available.
One thing I can definitely identify as irking me virtually every single time I go to Uchumi in Sarit is the staff...especially till staff. They look and act like they'd rather be waterboarding in Guantanamo Bay than be serving you. They are that slow and that sullen.
I always hated Nakumatt Thika Road and I avoid Nakumatt Ukay like the plague but they have the excuse of not having sufficient space. Uchumi Sarit has a nice big space that they still manage to turn into a small, dark, cramped area.
And maybe thats what it is about Uchumi...in recent times, its always been less than it could or should be. They managed to turn shopping there into some sort of act of charity..a woishe shop if you will. At some point their whole marketing strategy seemed to become: "We aren't as big, nice, polite or swanky as the competition, and you will never find all that you came for in our stores but pleeease just support us because deep down we're really nice."
I guess Uchumi represents alot of what is wrong with Kenyan business to me.....they stop aiming to be the best, give the best service at the best price and thereby see out their competitors..they instead rest on their laurels, become complacent and slow, take their customers for granted and then try to tug at our heart strings when bigger, better, hungrier, cleverer competition comes along.
Until Uchumi sharpen up and start aiming to be the very best at what they do, they will forever be one step behind the competition and we, their customers will forever be the ultimate losers.