Gone to sniff out the Giant at Tampines – twice this month.
Even with the new KPE tunnel, the distance is still quite far (around 25 minutes), but on a weekday, there is significantly less traffic on the roads, so it turns out to be a fairly pleasant drive.
I like grocery shopping at Giant – but with a major qualification – i shop only on weekdays now.
Shopping at Giant on weekends can be an entirely different experience.
I used to wait for at least 15 minutes for a car park space on weekends at IMM. And I’ve not even gotten into the supermarket itself.
The endless crowds is something I certainly do not miss now.
But with the luxury of being able to grocery shop on a weekday, Giant is my best bet for fresh veggies & fruit, and their home brands (for soaps, tissue paper, etc).
This is especially so when I shop alone, and do the fine balance of pushing a trolley load of groceries and keeping the active toddler out of trouble.
It is easy to move from the car park to the supermarket and back – which is a HUGE consideration for a shopper like me. There’s also a shelter from the car park to the building, and a generous space between car booths to load groceries into your car. Nice touches.
Grocery shopping, or rather, grocery handling in Singapore can be challenging. Not every supermarket has facilities like ramps or travellators to help shoppers cart trolley loads of groceries to their cars, or the nearest taxi stand. I’ve learned (the hard way) to work out a step-less route back to my car or taxi stand before stepping into the supermarket. If I can’t find a satisfactory route, I’ve aborted shopping there.
So it’s a real joy to find supermarkets in Singapore that go out of their way to make it easy for their shoppers, from the check-out to the car.
Oh, parking is free at Giant – same for the other branches at IMM (free parking first 3 hours) and Turf City. Parking at the Vivo branch is not free, though.
For those who do not park, I saw signages offering free shuttle buses – similar to the Turf city branch – probably to the nearest MRT station.
Once inside, the building layout is simple. There’s a pharmacy (Guardian) and 7-11 on the first floor, and the supermarket is on the second floor.
But there is only one long snaking travellator (and one cargo-like elevator) to get to the supermarket on the 2nd floor, so good luck to those shopping on weekends…
I spotted at least 5 staff who are stationed at the travellators, and at the entrance of the door to help shoppers. Probably for crowd-control purposes.
Even though it was a weekday, Giant was fairly crowded. There is a food court offering local food, and the place quickly filled out closer to lunch time, and the crowd did not thin even at 230pm.
On to Giant Supermarket itself.
I like Giant’s wide range of non-fresh food items, such as cooking oils, rice brands, canned food, drinks and snacks. Items that are usually better priced at Giant (than elsewhere in Singapore) are fresh eggs and veggies. There are also good fresh seafood (fish) buys, but selection is usually seasonal. On both occasions I was there, I passed over the fresh fish selection.
There is also a lot of non-food / household items like cleaning stuff, floor mats, modular furniture (mobile shoe racks, for example).
All in all, Tampines Giant / Ikea / Courts is where I would recommend someone who has just moved to Singapore, or someone who is just setting up home, to go to. Or someone looking for inexpensive household items like dustbins or seat cushions that look fairly decent.
The whole area looks as though it is set up for serious household shoppers – Giant, Ikea and Courts are conveniently located near one another – literally within walking distance.
My preference would be to start at Courts, then browse & lunch at Ikea or Giant (depending on whether I feel like eating Swedish or local) before finishing up at Giant’s supermarket, since most perishables would be bought at the latter.