Visited the new SM Hypermarket in Iloilo City this past Saturday. The "Lizard Poop" Crew, my asawa, niece JalAmiel, and myself, The Kano, were anxious to visit this one-stop shopping establishment. I was looking forward to the new deli and the convenience of pushing one cart to a centralized checkout and not having to hop from department to department and separate checkouts as is the case when we shop at SM City in Iloilo. What was my overall rating of the new store?
- The overall store staff. Very "Happy to Serve" as is the tradition of most SM establishments. Friendly and helpful. And a BIG plus for me was the fact that the Hypermarket was not quite as discriminatory in their hiring practices as the main SM Department Stores are. I spoke to one young Filipina that was only 4'9" tall, and she confirmed what I thought. She is too short to be hired at the SM Department Store, but is welcomed at the Hypermarket. I also saw a couple of non-management workers in their 30's which is something that is also rare at the the regular SM stores.
- The centralized checkout lanes and their staff. Very convenient There was not a huge crowd in the store even for a Saturday, and we did not have to wait at the checkouts. An EXTREMELY helpful cashier that insisted on unloading my groceries from the cart and putting them on the checkout counter. The baggers/boxers also boxed up our groceries for the pump boat ride back to Guimaras and absolutely refused to take a tip when they hailed a cab for us and loaded our groceries. Hands down, the BEST cashier checkout personnel and baggers/boxers in any SM we have shopped at in the Philippines.
- The bulk goods section. The Hypermarket had a wide selection of goods that could be purchased in bulk, much larger than the supermarket in SM City or any supermarket we have been to in Iloilo.
- The lack of a good air con system. It was terribly warm in the store, and as a spoiled American used to shopping in air conditioned comfort, it lessened the shopping experience for my wife and I.
- Smaller selection of grocery and non-grocery items. Although, as mentioned, the bulk good items were abundant, there were some grocery items not available in the Hypermarket that we could find at the SM City Supermarket. Of course the store cannot begin to offer all the items that can be purchased at the SM Department locations. Also, I wanted to look at digital cameras in their electronics department, and they did not have any cameras at all. However, most items on my shopping list could be found.
- No deli and smaller bakery. I could not find a deli (maybe it will be put in later.) The bakery is also much smaller than what is available at the SM City Supermarket.
- Limited dining options. No McDonald's, KFC, or Chow King. They had "Hot Dog on a Stick", and I was able to purchase a pricey Johnsonville brat (75 pesos, approximately $1.73 USD), but there were only about six or seven eating establishments, and the store did not have a special cooking area for Filipino standards such as banana cue which the Hypermarket in Metro Manila have.