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Tony Grist

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In Praise Of Supermarkets And Waitrose In Particular [Jul. 22nd, 2014|10:46 am]
Tony Grist
We stopped doing a big weekly shop at a supermarket several months ago. I was barely hacking it: unloading Ailz's scooter from the car, going round the shop, putting everything on the belt at checkout, bagging it, loading it into the car, loading Ailz's scooter into the car, unloading the car, putting everything away; it was just too much. So now we have Waitrose deliver.

They're expensive but the quality is brilliant- and if they make mistakes they offer generous recompense. This morning, for example, one of the eggs in our box of 15 was broken so the delivery man gave us the whole box for free. It's the sort of gesture that builds customer loyalty. Again, if they have to substitute one item for another the substitute item almost always represents a trade up- and you get it for the same price.

Julie Burchill was on TV last night singing the praises of the big supermarkets. A brave thing to do- but then Burchill is fearless; I admire her for it even when I dislike what she's saying. On this matter though I've been in her camp for years. We forget- in our ineradicable but idiot nostalgia for all things dead and gone- how the small shop was so very often a rubbish shop. The supermarkets are not only a good thing in themselves, but have forced the small shops that are left to raise their game.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: porsupah
2014-07-24 06:16 pm (UTC)
The problem with supermarkets, inevitably, is they tend to carry rather a limited range of items, within each product range - maybe one or two others' sausages, say, plus their own brand. And inevitably, never made locally (though, Waitrose does go to some modest effort to procure local items - the Bath branch, f'rex, has Ermie & Gertie's wonderful Yarlington Mill & Pippin cider, Bristol Beer Company's Southville Hop, and Kingstone's 1503 Tudor Ale), so it's always the same mass-manufactured stuff shipped out everywhere.

Sometime, I want to get an order placed with a local farm produce operation, which supplies some damned good sounding sausages, various seasonal vegetable boxes, and Scotch eggs I know are really tasty, having been sold at the deli in town, before they gave up the ghost. They appear to be interested in offering local beer and cider, too, which would easily secure my business, but they've been kept busy enough with things as they are, plus all the legalities involved.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-07-24 09:06 pm (UTC)
I think there will always be a role for specialist shops selling local produce or specialities of one kind or another. What the supermarkets have killed off are the small general stores- which carried a very limited range of items indeed.
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