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."