I remember years ago, Tesco used to have these little feedback slips by the checkouts.  You could tell them how your shop went, or suggest things for them to do and improve.  I used to fill them in all the time, from when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, and had some rather interesting responses over the few years.

In particular, I suggested on one occasion that they should play music across the store, and actually got a letter back a few weeks later to say they’d trialled it in a few stores but didn’t think it would work out.  (Funny how now, quite a few stores do indeed play music…)

Sadly, the feedback cards are no more (they probably got bored of reading all the ones I used to put in).  And over the years, things have got worse, a little better, then worse again.  To be fair, this probably applies to many things though.

In any case, I went in today for the weekly shop, armed with a camera, to see what points of interest I could find.  I’m not sure what order to put these in, so I’ll just keep them in aisle order.

Cucumber

So cucumbers are sold per, uhh, cucumber.  Not by weight.  Which makes both of these 65p, even though the upper one is about 30%-40% shorter.  Funnily enough, they had two crates of them – one full of the longer kind and the other with the shorter kind.  Which one would you choose?  Perhaps the shorter one because it lasts longer (unusual considering most of the larger sizes of things usually have extra shelf life on)…

2-for-1 cauliflower

Great offer.  Don’t you usually call that “buy one get one free”?

Also, it’s £1 each?

Cauliflower price

Lies.  And that makes the offer even worse – 26p each or two for £1?  What.

(What’s that?  You don’t know what that thing above is?  It lets you scan and bag your shopping as you go, and pay at the end by transferring all the info over.  Don’t know how many stores have these, but none of the “local” larger stores have them.  It’s not listed on the Enabling features section of the store info page [see below].)

Also, whilst we’re here in the vegetable aisle, half of the broccoli is the stalk.  Seriously, they are huge.  When you’re paying by weight, that’s a significant amount of extra baggage…

Purple strawberries

They look…  uhh…  a bit battered.  They’re positively purple.  Ew.  Ouch.

Here’s a reference for what colour strawberries are supposed to look:

Purple strawberry comparison

See those nice, red, almost out-of-date strawberries?  Yeah, nice shade of red.  You know what isn’t a nice shade of red?  Bruised, battered, beaten-up strawberries.

Speaking of off-coloured food…

Raw bread

Okay, they don’t look too bad.  Comparison necessary:

Raw bread comparison

The lower ones may look a bit well-done in the photo, but (for once) they were actually cooked for a decent amount of time.  Unlike the top ones, which don’t appear to have set foot in the oven at all.

Rock bread

On the other end of the scale, these windmills were rock solid.  Bit difficult to show though.  It wouldn’t bend, like, at all.

Coke

They do love their Coke offers.  So much that they changed it three times in the last two weeks.  Once three for £5, then buy one get one free, then buy two get one free, and now three for £3.  Make your mind up.

Veal mince

They look a bit off-colour.  Maybe because it’s veal…  I dunno, surely that should still be beef-coloured.

Veal mince comparison

Like that.  Surely?  (I’ll have to ask a resident beef expert…  is, uhh, anyone a resident beef expert?)

Steak comparison

The steak on the left also looks a bit off.  Not looking particularly healthy.

All this food is making me hungry…  I fancy some chips.

Chips

Uhh…  where are the chips?

Chips again

Any chips?  No?  Nothing?

Chips once more

Bah.

There they are

Oh, there’s a few over here.  Nothing like the normal selection though.

An aside: when things are “out of stock”, about 70% of the time, they’ve still got stuff out the back.  After some rough research asking staff if they have any X Y Z out back, ~20% of the time they will immediately reply “no”.  The rest will go and look, where probably 75% or so of those who actually go and check, will actually return with the requested product.  Similarly, when there’s no “out of stock” warning (just an empty shelf), it still seems to happen just as often.

Tl;dr: “out of stock” labels mean nothing.

Trip

Ooh, a trip hazard.  Nearly fell over that.  I thought I ought to be the better person though, so I put it back and made a point of it.  The staff member nearby didn’t look particularly interested.  Ah well, they seem to like their hazards…

Puddle

Have you ever seen those floor cleaners?  Sometimes see staff driving round the store on them, kinda like the council lawn mowers.  This was after he cleaned the aisle.  Three little puddles still.

There was a huge mess by the milk cartons too.  Alerted a staff member and they said they’d get a “wet floor” sign for it (never mind clearing it up).  Had a quick look back later, no sign, puddle appeared to have grown slightly.  I was just waiting for that guy to slip over and sue for damages.

Ice-cream

More empty freezers.  In this heat, quite a bit of wasted energy there…  (I suppose there’s not much that can be done, but still.)

Nearing the end of the trip, but another (minor) price rant – £1 for two sheets of wrapping paper, or…  £1 for a roll of it.  Hmm.

Wrapping

So, high-point of the trip?  Apparently I saved 1p on my shop.  Great.  Wonderful.  Not that that means particularly much.

The whole system is kinda flawed when I, probably like many others, tend to target things on offer.  I don’t go out of the way to buy discounted goods, but given the choice between two things I could have, one on offer and one not, I usually get the one on offer.  Different supermarkets discount different things, so the discounted things I choose won’t be discounted elsewhere.  Ergo it’s more likely to be cheaper, regardless of shop.

(Even so, a few weeks back, after being told by the self-scanner that I’d saved over £10 in discounts, I still spent over £3 more than “other supermarkets”.  Ouch.)

So, I suppose I ought to speak to a manager or something about all this.  From the store page:

We welcome your feedback; please let one of our stores colleagues know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Interestingly, the store manager wasn’t available to discuss anything with them.  Apparently they were over at another store?  Not the first time they haven’t been around for a comment.  The guy I asked also said about a general manager, but they weren’t in either.

Whilst we’re at it…

Happy to help

That’s hardly a facility.  Especially when the majority of them do nothing in the way of helping.  Also, they don’t list the scan as you shop devices as a facility.  Would be nice to know how many shops use them.  Also, how is the user “trust” established?  The first few times, it asks a staff member to check certain items have indeed been scanned and nobody’s stealing (sensible), but after that, it seems happy with anything (uhh…).  I mean, yes, it would probably be annoying for the customer, but still, two or three valid shops and they’re free to steal stuff?  On your head be it.

But anyway, although this isn’t necessarily the usual (some hyperbole used), the number of issues in a simple weekly shop is on the rise.  You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops for it…  or something.

Alright, I’m hanging up now.  This seems a pretty long post.