Thursday, 17 September 2009

musings on supermarkets

I dropped other half at the station today (he is in London working) and decided to pop into ASDA (UK equivalent of Walmart, and now owned by them) for a bit of shopping. Nothing unusual in that you might think.

Except there is. I rarely shop there. It is a shop which has always depressed me. It is better since Walmart got hold of it I think, but not hugely. I just don't know what it is. I decided to give it some thought sitting in the cafe having a cup of tea.

Is it the lurid green decor? Is it ASDA fm, their own in house radio? Was it the signs for the £2 value breakfast ( if they are making a profit, and the food supplier is making a profit, what is the quality of the original produce. Worrying). The staff are very friendly and helpful, there is always plenty of stock, so what is it? Why don't I enjoy the experience at all
Now- when I shopped at Wholefoods Market in Seattle (I think we have one in London) I thought it was fabulous. I loved it. I could have spent hours in there. I thought- if ever I move to Seattle (not going to happen- US immigration would never allow it!) I will shop here always.

Yes I know its rather pricey, but I would work extra hours just so I could indulge and partake. The displays were wonderful, the variety was mind blowing, the ranges interesting. The food was very appealing- I wanted to try everything.

I also hate Morrisons. Stock levels are awful- they are usually out of what I want and they often don't stock what I like. Prefer Sainsbury but there are none near us. I like Waitrose but we don't have one anywhere near us at all. Tesco is ok. I use their delivery service most weeks- very handy, very convenient. We have a Tesco Express in the village: very convenient. Not mad on their stores mind you... but don't mind them.

Booths (only in the North I think) is good. Interesting ranges. We have one a mile away. They are are very pricey, and our local one struggles to keep stocked up (all the tourists self catering!). I shop there quite a lot, mostly because it is convenient and has handy parking (and a coffee shop where mums can chat after school drop off).

Off course, I love M and S. But it's not for everyday food shopping and I think they have got stuck in a bit of rut in the last few years. Still up there in the favourites for me mind.....

So, how about you? Where do you like to shop and why?


Busy Bee Suz said...

I have not heard of your stores there, aside from walmart and whole foods. I shop at publix here...I know where everything is and it is only 3 minutes from my house. Can't be easier than that!!!

Clippy Mat said...

i used to like asda when i came home to the north east but it has declined noticeably in the recent years. i do NOT like walmart, aka the evil empire, and try to avoid it whenever possible.
you can really see the connection between the two. low prices, bad service, cheap merchandise, poor customer service. huge profits.

Decadent Housewife said...

No more M and S in Canada and I miss them. Most fruits and veg from farmers or roadside stands in season, otherwise the big cattle stores - at least that's what it feels like. I miss the old timey general stores. :(

karen gerstenberger said...

This won't help, as it's in Washington State, but we love our Town & Country Thriftway and Central Market, owned by a local family. I think they have 4 or 6 stores in the area...fabulous produce, wonderful seafood, great selection. Also, the Metropolitan Markets. Not quite as fancy as Whole Foods, but great!

Anonymous said...

I used to like Morrison's, mostly because it's cheap, and they're good for basic ingredients that people like me can eat. There's nothing like your Booth's, though- I always recommend that one to tourists. Good range, as you say, and so handy! If only it weren't for the cash.
I think I'm beginning to see how our food budgets are slightly different! Though I'm thinking an M&S splurge now and then is probably an awful lot healthier than the flour and water diet from M's.

jinksy said...

Shopping via the computer is a blast these days - no depressing decor or grotty store layout to put up with - although the websites sometimes leave a lot to be desired. But think of the shoe leather you save, not having to walk up and down the aisles!

Gloria said...

As an expat living in Spain (for the past nearly three years) I was thrilled to bits to read this post and really, your preferences mirror mine EXACTLY!!! I also dislike Asda; it makes me feel poor shopping there and I don't get the feel good factor. My favorite shop for food is M&S but of course only for 'treat' days. Sainsbury's I like very much and of course if you go often and look wisely they have great bargains. And yes, I always worry about the quality of the food content when the in-house food is so cheap. Now Wholefoods!!! Lovely lovely place to shop. My son took me there when I was on a visit to London recently and we spent at least 5 hours there, browsing, taking photos, having wheat grass juice (yew!!!)and buying things we couldn't afford! I spent my time there clapping my hands . . I was so enchanted with it all!!

I could go on for ages and I fear I'm feeling a little bit lonely for London and it's shops now but only briefly!!!

I'm so glad I found this blog. I've been trying for ages to find some UK bloggers and I was beginning to thing they were a rare breed.

I'm new to blogging so hope you'll pop over to see my blog. It's about this and that, my life before and after going to Spain and really, just my musings but I'm sure you'll find something you'll like.

A sign of a great post, I think is when a reader, (me) is so enthused that they want to write on and on and on.

Thanks for sharing and will be seeing you again soon. Off now to sign up to follow you.

Have a great weekend!!

Tracey said...

I have to say that i'm an ASDA girl.. although Tesco is the same distance away but somehow ASDa is for me.
If i'm feeling flush ( not very often) i'll pop into Marks & Spencer for a special something and savour every single mouthful.

I love farm shops but have no idea where to start looking in the Newcastle area... any ideas? i love homegrown and different pickles and pork pies and the like .. xx

Loopin said...

Heh, with you: very much so, on Asda and Morrisons, Jo!

I think each supermarket has its own customer base, and I've never felt part of the Asda tribe or the Morrisons tribe.

I don't feel particularly at home at Tesco (UK's biggest supermarket company). I'm much more comfortable at Sainsburys, really like M&S 'simply food' stores for loads of things but especially the quality and innovation. If I have a favourite it's Waitrose, I LOVE Waitrose (if you've got any food intolerances or dietary restrictions they are absolutely the best choice, even if it's a bit more expensive).

But I'm a bit of a supermarket tart at the end of the day - if I need stuff, I use which everone is nearest - all of the above, or Co-op, or Budgens, or Somerfields. Supermarkets aim mostly at families, and I'm not one of them.

From my visits to Windermere I think Booths is lovely - really enjoyed shopping in there - beautifully presented shop and a nice ambience.

Then you have to consider the extreme opposite ends of the supermarket 'market': Harvey Nichols/Selfridges/Harrods food halls, vs Lidl and Aldi. The former are not feasible except for an occasional shop if you don't live round the corner and have a high income, but Lidl and Aldi which are really cheap often have surprising products on their shelves if you can bear to look for them.

Your supermarket shopping reminiscences and ponderings wouldn't be complete however, without Walter Willson's, now would they?

Kathryn said...

I think the supermarket we shop in is far more important than people realise - I can remember shopping for my son's birthday party in an 'unfamiliar' supermarket and just walked round for 20 minutes with an empty trolley until I decided to give up and drive the extra few miles to get back to my Coop - the supermarket I feel at home in - should I be worried?? Am I bizarre in only having one supermarket where I really feel 'comfortable' enough to do the weekly shop in?? Anyway, my vote for supermarkets in the UK goes to my Mum's Tesco in Exeter - and of course here it goes to my Coop (with Speed shopping !!) here in Italy

Anonymous said...

Supermarkets (shudder) - a necessary evil. I use Tesco delivery to avoid having to go into the stores!

I've been to the States and used whole foods, they are fab. We could definately do with some of them over here!

Granny on the Web said...

I have exactly the same views on all of these places as yourself. I had the luck to visit a Booths whilst visiting my sister in Southport recently and thought to myself, I wish they had a shop near us in the SE. This time last year a huge super Tesco 24 hour place opened up, and I felt like I was in an airport, I hated it, and lost my husband (temporarily) on our first visit.
I have thought of ordering on line, but would I miss sorting through the goods to find what I want?... maybe I think!

Actually I would join the bring-back-the-local-shops brigade if I thought it would have any effect. Not in my lifetime methinks.

Love Granny