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Directions: Corner of Tran Duy Hung and Pham Hung highway (which leads to Metro/Ciputra/Noi Bai)Phone: unknown
reading the comments here before - i was very surprised! BIG C hanoi - good shop - going by bus 50 - easy and cheap - not too many people on a friday afternoon - everywhere - both floors - only very friendly and very helpful girls! - smiling - and so on - good value for all the articles i want - vine selection super - good price - will go there more! and can pay by creditcard! have to bargain - BIG C - good choice!
Sometimes, I just have to go to this Big C because I know I can get stuff I can hardly get anywhere else in Hanoi. But, trust me, this experience is like entering the gates of HELL.
The only positive thing is that except western food (the selection is really bad), you can buy almost anything else. That's it.
The place is always crowded, especially in the afternoons and on the weekends. Staff here is really bad, not helping and poorly trained. There are always huge queues at the cashiers. The customers zombie-walking around in pyjamas, taking selfies or group photos in front of vegetables or skin-peeled crocodiles, getting in your way, pushing you, taking stuff from your cart or even "stealing" your cart when you turn away when you reach for something in the shelves...
After visiting the Big C for several times, I have concluded shopping place like this is just not suitable for Hanoi where the general behavioral and sociocultural skills of the population are at the level they are...
On the other way, if you are a masochist or you would like to experience the Vietnamese behavioral "culture" in a deadly concentrated way, just go for it. But otherwise, avoid this "living hell" unless you have no other option left.
I discovered what the "C" in Big C stands for last week. "Big Clusterf#ck", to echo Atomic's sentiments.
There are simply way too many people driving out here to save 10,000 dong on a freakin' hairdryer or other random "necessity". I gave them a shot because I'd heard they have Western-style blankets (Fail). In fact I didn't see much at Big C that can't be purchased in multiple other venues around Hanoi.
The customer service is laughable. After failing at blankets, I walked over to the electronics section, and the following conversation actually happened:
(After picking out some desktop speakers. Give me a break, I didn't want the entire trip to be an absolute failure.)
G: I'll take these.
BC: Khong (No)
G: Hmm... Ok, I want this (in Vietnamese)
G: Do you speak English?
BC: Yes, a little.
G: Ok, why can't I have these?
BC: Nobody can give you.
G: Uh... Do you have them in stock?
G: Can you get them for me?
G: Why not?
BC: I stay here.
G: Can someone get them for me?
BC: No. Nobody can get. Nobody in stock.
G: Ah, so there is nobody in the stock room?
BC: Yes, nobody. Come back tomorrow.
G: Can anyone else here go and get them for me?
BC: No. You come back tomorrow.
G: I don't want to come here tomorrow. In fact, I never want to come here again.
BC: (Smile) Ok, tomorrow.
G: Ok, I want to buy these and these and these and these and these (pointing to a stereo system that would add up to somewhere around $5,000).
BC: Ok, you come tomorrow.
G: ...I want to buy everything here.
BC: Yes, tomorrow.
G: Ok, see you tomorrow. (smile)
Are you F'ing kidding me?
The one amusing aspect of visiting Big C is their camera security system. It's a single camera on a large track with a retracting arm, sliding the camera clear across the store and back. That shit is funny. It looks like something out of the Gilliam film "Brazil". It apparently didn't do its job very well, as I witnessed a middle-aged, well-dressed man dumping handfuls of new batteries into his coat pocket.
If Metro weren't even worse, I'd give Big C one star. Avoid at all costs.
Big C is a good concept, one of the great concepts, as proven by the thousands of Westfields and Wall Marts all around the world, but bad implementation of the formula that so many others get so right pulls Big C downwards into... as other reviewers have said... useless clusterfuckdom. Perhaps I am being presumptuous, arrogant even, but I would say that Vietnamese culture simply does not allow, or has not adapted to allow, an entity like Big C to operate smoothly. Or perhaps to the Vietnamese psyche Big C is a smooth operation, who am I to judge. Anyway, Regardless of the ancient and noble cultural mysteries on display at Big C, I find it to be intolerable. The sluggish, self-centred nature of the crowds make walking around shopping akin to navigating my motorbike through peak hour De La Thanh traffic, with everyone only interested in wherever they need to be right now. I realise that a new country, a new culture requires me to adapt, and adapt I do, pushing and shoving with the best of them, but it doesn't mean I enjoy having to literally force my way through 3 teenage girls, a mother with 2 children and a dwarfish old man with a beard just to get to my butter. Aaaaaaand that brings me to Big C's range of products. Most of what Big C sells is shit. True - they do have almost anything you might want, in almost any area: Lots and lots of fresh produce, meat, cans, drinks, clothes, housewares, cosmetics, lollies, frozen goods (not all that much dairy).. But most of its pretty bottom of the barrel stuff. Prices aren't really any better than anywhere else I've been, and in some cases Big C has been moderately to significantly more expensive than smaller competitors. Staff are disinterested and slow, both at the checkout and on the floor, meaning queues build and build while checkout girls spend almost a minute searching for each individual barcode, scanning each one of the 30 identical packets of washing powder separately and take an infuriatingly long time to count out, recount out (and recount out) change. The individual stores downstairs as well as the food court on the third floor are better, if only because customers are more segregated into smaller chunks than in the monster second chamber, but there is no point to them, the food on the top floor isn't very good and the products on offer downstairs are... useless.
I mean, ok, so big C has its advantages. Its a lot of stuff in one place. Its sometimes cheaper than other stores. And (I hesitate to say this) it has (or had) potential, if both the store operators and customers got their act together. As it stands though, a day spent going to big C is a day wasted, or at least a day that could have been better spent going to smaller, quieter and friendlier stores dotted around Hanoi. The amount of near death experiences one faces getting to the store alone are reason enough to avoid it. Its pointless. Its a cheap and nasty place for cheap and nasty people, run by cheap and nasty people. Don't bother... Unless you too are a cheap and nasty person.
Edit 7/11/11: Since writing this review I have been back to big C two times, the first time I bought glasses and a cheap fry pan, the second time I bought a fan. I still agree with everything I said in my review... Just letting everyone who reads this know that I too am a hypocrite - there are times when I go to Big C just because I know that whatever I want, it will be there.
I have lived in Bangkok for five years and we have many Big Cs there. This Big C can hardly be called 'Big.' It's very small compared with what I am use to in Thailand.
It was so overcrowded on a Friday afternoon, that I walked out without buying anything. That's a first for me! And when I asked about big ticket items, the staff there couldn't be bothered to help.
There are almost no decent Western imported items either. I was definately disappointed about that!
I constantly felt like this was a place where people would steal anything. I was forced to walk around with sealed plastic bags covering my own personal bag that the entry point police carefully inspected before I could go in. This place is worse than any international airport security system.
My shopping experience here was a waste of time and pure hell.
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