Just how grim can it get up north? (Actually, it's quite nice.) One woman's not-so-lonely journey into the Northern heartlands.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
"Try something new today"
Sainsbury's has opened up in the nearest market town. This is akin to the Second Coming. It is such a big deal that Sir Ken Morrison announced his retirement on the same day despite an increase in his company's profits. Last year a small Marks and Spencer's opened up in another market town slightly further away from us and talk among mothers was all of cappuccino and caramel shortbread in the cafe. But this Sainsbury's is serious shopping. It opened at 9am this morning and my husband drove us to it after dropping the children at school. I wondered why head office had not approached me to open it - perhaps they had heard about "the barn". Outside men in grey suits welcomed shoppers while uniformed women dished out store guides and little engraved trolley tokens then confided: "Actually the trolleys are free today." I am not sure the supermarket experience is complete without trying unsuccessfully to feed a pound to a trolley and cursing while you wrestle it from the bosom of its trolley family. The store guide had a little letter from Debra the store manager in which she told us to "Enjoy your shopping and if you can't find something, please ask me or one of the team." I love that idea. Getting to the check-out and saying to the cashier: "I'm so sorry. I forgot the black pepper. You couldn't just ring up to the office and get Debra to pop down with a box?" Anyway the aisles were full of big-eyed shoppers pointing at "buy one get one free's" and I have never seen so many smiling shop assistants in a supermarket ever. Apparently "regional" was in - not sure what this means but it is obviously a big deal in supermarket land. Every time you looked at an assistant, they would beam from ear to ear and look utterly delighted to see you there. I think my husband was even happier than they were. He walked up to the convenience foods and pointed to the Tiger Prawn Paella. He said: "Look tiger prawn paella. Let's get two."
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I got over-excited when given a trolley token with my name on it for Christmas (I'm always without a pound when I need one for the trolley). I should get out more - perhaps to a barn opening! :)
Men just don't get it do they?
Beaming shop assistants and helpful managers is NOT NORMAL!
Oh Yes, just wonderful.
There you are Grocer. I thought you would be first off the blocks. You have never offered me one of those trolley tokens though.
Now you'll get all those northerners-living-in-the-south trailing back home. It was only Sainsburys keeping them there in the first place.
Trolley tokens in a market town? I though they kept that system for inner city hellholes.
I am afraid to have to tell you that Aldi is a lot better - they have all kinds of bizarre and unexpected treats not just Tiger Prawn Paella.
I didn't expect you to be a Sainsbury's kind of a gal, Wife! Waitrose is the only way to go!
I have never got a pound coin in my purse when I go to Sainsbury's, and because I am so awkward I refuse to go in and wait at the customer services counter, so I take a basket and buy the absolute minimum as a protest because I think the trolleys should be free. I know you get the pound back, but that's not the point, it's still annoying.
Sainsbury's haven't noticed my protest yet, so I guess this is a futile gesture, but it makes me feel better. And gives me a good excuse to shop at Waitrose instead.
I'm with swearing Mother on this one,, no question.
I hate trolley tokens and avoid supermarkets that use them, it's not the fighting with it and then the wrenching from the pack that annoys me, or the squeaking wheel and pulling to the hard right that I can't cope with, it's th long walk back to the shop front to get my pound back that really winds me up. Let the buggers fetch their own trolleys!Oh, Blinkered, how right you are, I go to Waitrose mostly, Waitrose are good to farmers....well better than most !
My little voice told me not to, but I did...
I took my mum to Sainsburys on Thursday, after I dropped leaflets off at the local tourism fair, at Willowburn.
We joined cue of traffic at the roundabout, trailed around the car park for 10 minutes, battled with hypnotised shoppers, gazing at the choice of houmous on offer, massaging the little bags of mozzarella. We queued, ten deep, in lines snaking back down the aisles...
I was spat out, (I would have said extruded, but you go in the same way you come out,) had, dirty, used and bruised, knowing full well, I'd be back for more...
Glad Sir Ken Morrison has gone - good riddance!
As to trolleys, having to pay for them keeps them in good order. I patronise Waitrose because it is convenient to me and it maddens me how many of their trolleys have been damaged and won't drive straight! If we had to pay for them, we'd return them instead of running them into kerbs, dropping them into ditches, etc.!
Having to "rent" a grocery cart (trolley to you folks)? We'd have riots here in the US if that every became the practice! So what if the stores donate to a few poor homeless people who need a cart to carry their treasures in...
I saw the name of your blog and because mine is Jean's Northern Niche (Fairbanks, Alaska) I had to stop by.
http://inktrails.blogs.com for a taste of Alaska.
I agree with DogLover, good riddance to Sir Ken Morrison. His stores are an abomonation, full of nasty smelly fat people who don't know how to navigate the isles without bumping into each other. I go to M&S or Tesco where the clientel have more than half a brain cell.
Crazy Cath's right, smiling shop assistants, especially in British supermarkets ISN'T nomal. Buyer beware!
Sainsburys is one of the aspects of UK life I miss the most - having moved south to the Channel Islands where supermarkets are half the size of Tesco Metro, and twice the price.
Ah - a sign of civilisation and death to the local small specialist shops .... at least it isn't a Tesco store. you must be living in a savage area - we don't have to buy our trolleys down in Devon - only if we shop at Lidls do we have to rent a trolley.
PS - I've just stopped by at Amazon to place your book in my shopping basket - it is so very modestly priced - perhaps you had better start shopping at Lidl's ;-)
If it stops you shopping with them I will gladly carry your basket on all fours pretending to be a trolley.
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