Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Let's talk supermarkets.


We shop there about 60% of the time. Solid performer on the whole, though I have to say we go there largely out of convenience. Bakery good, wine selection good (I don't drink, but I take an interest), fruit and veg average though improving. Decent offers. They lose marks for the missing apostrophe in the name. Clientelle quite wide-ranging, but certainly more bearable than those of other 'Big 4' establishments, which I will come to.

Score: 7/10


We shopped here last night, hence this post. We don't shop here very often (it's a good deal further away) - perhaps 5% of the time. Whilst I don't have huge issues with value, and even quality (though value brands are to be avoided (except 9p noodles)), I always leave the place feeling dirty. The bakery is average, fruit and veg seem to be quite good, but the giveaway about those who shop there is the whopping cider and lager section. There was a topless man there last night. I'm not kidding. Slogan: "Why pay more?" Answer: "Because I don't want to shop with scum." We only went there yesterday to get my imported tea bags and they didn't even have those. Never again. Well, at least not for a long time.

Score 4/10


A store which knows how to correctly punctuate its own name. Good start. I suppose there's a little of the snob about me when it comes to brands, but a long and illustrious history surely counts for something? So the value isn't so good, and the quality isn't always any better than competitors, but Sainsbury's shopping somehow makes me feel a better person. The bakery is normally very good, likewise fruit and veg. They seem to clean the windows a bit more often. I like Sainsbury's. I'm not sure why we don't go there more often than around 10% of the time. Perhaps it seems frivolous to spend more than necessary. I suppose this is what keeps us from doing our food shopping at M&S or Waitrose. The quality of food at both those places is generally
way above any of the others I've discussed here, but so are the prices. It's not as though we couldn't afford to shop there, but for whatever reason we don't. Maybe it's a class thing. I like to think that in a few years we'll be regular Waitrose shoppers. The parking at our local one is expensive and limited though. I seem to have digressed from Sainsbury's a little...

Score 8/10


Hmmm. I tend to think of Tesco as a cross between Sainsbury's and Asda. I don't dislike shopping there, though we rarely do 'big' shops there. They have started opening 'local' stores and devouring the business of independent local shops, which is a nasty habit. Bakery is fine, fruit and veg okay. All in all a solid performer, but with this inescapable and rather alarming apparent intention to take over the world, or at least the UK. Moving into finance more heavily now, and rumoured to be interested in acquiring Northern Rock when it is released back into the wild. Not bad for a 90 year old surplus grocery stall - thanks Wikipedia.

Score 6.5/10


The Co-Operative is the venue for the remainder of our weekly shops. It's the largest consumer co-operative in the world, don't you know, and for some reason this makes me feel happy to pay prices which often seem to bear little resemblance to those in some of the above mentioned stores. My local Co-Op superstore is always alarmingly empty to the extent that one wonders how on Earth the place makes enough money to stay open. The answer I suspect is that it doesn't, but that 4.5 million members generate enough profit elsewhere in the various businesses to sustain the odd dead duck for a few years. I suppose the conclusion I've reached here is that, within reason, price is not the biggest issue for me when shopping. Quality, and nice wide aisles punctuated with a manageable volume of fellow middle-class shoppers are far more important, and when you couple this with the Co-Op's almost unrivalled (and I tip my hat once more here to M&S) commitment to fair trade, animal welfare, environmental friendliness and general all-round good-heartedness, it's a combination I don't think can be beaten.

Score 9/10

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