Friday, July 16, 2010

The New Victoria Wal-Mart

This is hardly a place one could call "Good Food", but I thought I would check it out.   I did shop at the former Wal-Mart at Town and Country, the price for clothes and shoes was very good and they had the occasional deal on something.

I had heard the new Wal-Mart was huge.  I heard there were deals galore.   So time to check it out.

First impression, they have a lot of people in blue vests around.   Also they use the cool escalator for shopping carts I have only seen in Europe or in pictures of stores in New York.  Coming in the front door it reminded of the look and feel of two places I have shopped, the Maxi Mart in Hallein Austria and the Carrefour Hypermarche in Calais.

Second impression, this place is not that large.   I do not the exact floor space, but does not feel much larger than the Tillicum Zellers or the Real Canadian Superstore in Langford.   I suspect it is bigger, but by combing a grocery store with a Zellers store really means neither part looks as large as a I would have expected.

The selection in the shoe area was either the same as before or less, in fact the whole clothes and shoes section seems smaller than it was in the previous Wal-Mart.    I went looking for some new water sandals and did not find what I was looking for, they did not carry my size.

We checked out the second floor.  Sporting goods, paint, furnishings and other home stuff live up there.   The second floor is a mezzanine and is only about 1/3 size of the main floor.   I am not sure what it adds to have only a partial floor.

We did get a decent deal on a new cooler we needed to buy and diapers were cheap, but really there were not a lot deals that I could see on what they had on the shelves.  The Lego selection was one of the best ones I have seen in the city, though only for Lego, not Megablocks.

I was most curious to check out the grocery part of the store.   It was much smaller than I expected.   The prices were also not very good at all.   Certainly they had a lot of US strawberries for a dollar a pound, but these strawberries were on the verge of rotting.  If I wanted to make more jam, they would have been worth buying sorting out the culls, but for fresh eating they were not worth it.

Milk was $3.97 for 4 litres, not as good as the price in the Shoppers Drug Mart in the same complex.  Their ground beef was selling for over $9 a kilo.  The deli meats were not cheap either, most of the salami was in the $2.70 range per 100 grams.   Parmesan was going for $3.30 per 100 grams for a moderate quality type.

There were more aisles of frozen food than I am used to and much more of it dedicated to frozen meals.  As to selection of more interesting ingredients, it does not seem to be there.   They also have a lot of brands that I have never heard of.

The fruit and veg had some deals, but the quality was not great.   Their were peaches for less than a dollar a pound, but they were unripe rocks.    The price for peppers was close to $3 a pound, though looked not bad.   The whole fruit and veg area was not large.  There was nothing obviously local that I could see.

We also bought a 40 pound bag of Iams for Louie for a good price, though not wildly great.  We got 24 cans of Coke for $7.  The bananas for $0.47 a pound, a bit cheaper than normal.

Also odd in the grocery section was that the pillars holding up the roof were often in the middle of the aisles making movement patterns odd and causing needless traffic problems.  In general the traffic layout sucks compared to the past.   The carts are also not nearly as good as the old ones, there is no tray on the bottom for items and the carts are smaller than in the past.  It is hard to fit much into the cart.

The Macdonald's on the site is cramped and badly designed, the traffic at the tills was wildly congested even though there were not that many patrons.  The staff seemed to be out of their depths, the fries we got were stale, I have never had fries from the golden arches that were stale in flavour.  They were no cold, they were stale.  Freaky.

After having been to the new Wal-Mart, I am much less likely to go back as what I used to go to Wal-Mart no longer seems to be represented as well as it used to be.   I am more likely to shop at Zellers for more now.  Certainly I am not going to ever go there for food, they are the worst place in all of Greater Victoria for food.
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