PHILIPSBURG–Many major supermarkets across the country have been overwhelmed with orders over the past days as residents scramble to get grocery items they need in their homes in the midst of the two-week lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Many residents have turned to social media to complain about not receiving orders in what they believe is a timely manner, or not at all. Many have placed orders at multiple supermarkets in the hope that one of their orders will be fulfilled sooner rather than later, though the latter has been discouraged by authorities.
The situation on the ground at supermarkets has not been an easy one as these establishments have been overwhelmed with orders and trying to fulfil a task that is completely new to St. Maarten.
Giving insight into what some major supermarkets have been facing, Carrefour Market General Manager Thilak Pillai said Carrefour receives between 500 and 600 orders every day. The establishment manages to deliver around 300 daily, working with around 20 drivers and 50 “pickers” who pack orders for clients.
In an effort to better communicate with its clients, for more efficiency and make the delivery system better, Carrefour Market is now taking deliveries online and by email. Clients are given a serial number as confirmation and are receiving according to their confirmation number.
Asked what the average time frame is between someone placing an order and receiving it, Pillai said for now the waiting time for orders placed at Carrefour Market on Bush Road is around three to four days, at the one in Cole Bay around two days and the one in the Cupecoy area around two days.
The supermarket delivery system is new to St. Maarten and Carrefour Market has had to make some changes to ensure that this system works. “We changed from WhatsApp to online/email and confirmation process … so that the communication is better with customers. We have experience with yacht provisioning deliveries, but retail deliveries are overwhelming. It is new for us and for the customers.”
He urged consumers to if possible, place their orders for grocery items that can last them for at least a week or two. He assured that there is sufficient stock. “Since the lockdown was introduced for two weeks, we delayed some produce orders but next week we will [have a – Ed.] produce containers like before,” he told The Daily Herald.
Asked about international news reports of the closure of several meat packing plants in the US because staff were diagnosed with coronavirus and how this will affect St. Maarten, Pillai said, “We are looking into it.”
The situation at supermarkets should be eased soon as changes have been made by government and consumers will be given an opportunity to shop at supermarkets nearest to them on Thursday and Friday this week.
Bron: Daily Herald