Monday, 13 September 2010

An open letter to Mssrs Asda, Sainsbury, Morrison, Tesco et al

To whom it may concern,

Vast chunks of my income disappear into your coffers. Over the years it was enough money to have bought a sophisticated pied a terre, a snazzy (and clean) car, a bigger house and some dry-clean only clothes.

Not that I was reluctant. It’s necessary to buy food and various other household stuffs – hunger, hygiene and so forth dictate.

So the fact of the matter is I need you as much as you need me. I admit I haven’t been loyal; I flit from one of you to another. Morrison’s you’re handy, Asda you’re cheap, Tesco you’re bound to have what I’m looking for and Sainsbury’s you manage, for a while, to make me feel a bit special. You might have been a bit concerned with my flightiness, showered me with special offers, but you all knew I’d be back. Eventually.

My family has grown along with the amount of money I lavish on you. Children, bless ’em, keep eating, growing and making a mess.

So in order for our happy relationship to continue I have a few simple requests:
Make a trolley secure enough that Boy Three doesn’t escape while I shop. It can’t be that hard, he’s not very big. If I put him in a pram, I can’t push a trolley. If he’s in the backpack, I can only buy things at eye level, in your trolley seat, he escapes.

Don’t try to tell me that self scanning is in any way simpler or time saving. I don’t like a machine that shouts at me when what I’ve bought needs to be put into two bags.

You tell us you make our comparisons easy, but it’s not true, is it? Make the like-for-like info simple, comparable and legible oh, and keep it in the same place. It might seem easy enough to work out the difference between your eight varieties of seemingly identical pancakes, but you try it with three kids all making noises at you while one attempts to recreate the acts of Harry Houdini.

For Pete sake stop shifting things round. I’m not in your shop as a leisure activity – I’ve got better things to do. Do not hide the eggs, it just isn’t cute.

And I know we all quite like your non-food stuff especially the clothes. You’re on to a winner there, we aren’t going to try anything on are we? We’ll just sneak a little sparkly top under the French loaf, new shoes under the bacon. So I’d like to say, Tesco your bras are horrid – my breasts just aren’t that shape (and neither would I want them to be). Sainsbury’s your clothes are of surprisingly poor quality – two pairs of trousers fell apart at the seams and a necklace lost its colour at first wear. Asda your kids’ clothes look cute, but can we have ones for real children please – more dungarees, all in one waterproofs and hats that stay on. And Asda, please could you calm down with the seasonal tat – I bet you’ve got warehouses full of flimsy orange and black plastic things for Hallowe’en, well no one really wants them so stop it.

In some of your busier shops, how about traffic lights on the car park crossing? A play area beside the checkouts or at the very least those ride-on motorised jobs but, hey, without charging 50p a go? Snacks for kids as you go round – maybe you could give them for free? And what about games, puzzles or something to amuse bigger kids while you shop? And how about a drink of water? Or something that matches up a shopping list I emailed (or keyed in at home) and what I actually buy. I wouldn’t mind a machine that said ‘dozy cow, you forgot the ketchup’.

Why bother though? You know I’ll be back when the cupboard is bare. It would just be good if it wasn’t an ordeal every time.

Yours in exasperation,

Pic: Boy Three helps put the shopping away


  1. And I forgot to add (proper shopping list style) that I hate two-for-ones and the way they make you feel cheated when you only buy one.

  2. OK I don't have the same choice of supermarkets in this neck of the woods, and my children are over 30 now (!!) but on the shouting-at-you machines, and moving the stuff around I'm with you.
    Have to say that apart from the odd tee-shirt I haven't sampled much in the clothes departments, because on the whole I'd rather have one £100 coat than ten costing a tenner each, but I can see it should be good for boys' clothes.
    However, short of a straitjacket, I doubt anyone could come up with an anti-escape device for Boy 3!
    This open letter made me laugh, then immediately have concerns that there are clear indications that you may be moving even nearer to morphing into your mother?

  3. I'm printing this out and taking it shopping with me tomorrow.

  4. Excellent list. Can I add:

    1. Please stop stacking things so high, or at least have steps handy for short arses like me. It's embarrassing at my age to have to ask a random stranger to get things down for me.

    2. Clothes: plastering Peppa Pig / Dora the Explorer on things cheapens them in my eyes, don't use it as an excuse to whack another fiver on. And, Asda, I looked for nursery clothes for my daughter the other day and I'd be horrified if she selected much of it as a teenager, never mind aged 4.

  5. M, my husband certainly things I'm turning into my mother x

    Ehmummy, thanks

    Jo, consider them added.

  6. Snickering......... We just came from a place that gave away free cookies to kids. We had to make a beeline for the cookies then I could shop. As we enter the supermarket here the boys- sigh and remember the old days ( Like you can when you're all under 8) of free food and samples galore.

    Love the list

  7. Hear, hear. Why does it have to be such an ordeal? I once asked a Tesco employee where they'd hidden the sugar and she was really offended. Great post!

  8. WW, Mags, Melitsa, Thanks. I'm glad I'm not alone.

  9. I think we have found the asnwer over's "Peter" (although I am sure there are others.
    H&S whacked her thumb (much hilarity) a few weeks ago and was sporting a natty hand brace when attemptng the weekly shop for me (allergic to shopping must be genetic!) and baby G.

    anyway she was accosted by "peter" who offered to help her with her shopping...and followed her all around the store!


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