Supermarket Sweep

Reading time: 2 mins

Apparently the lovely Shauny got some flack over a recent post featuring some of the.. ahem.. delicacies available in Scottish supermarkets. One commenter —and to be fair to the rest of the lovely people who commented, it does seem to have been only one or two naysayers… always the way, isn’t it— even goes so far as to point out that:

If you insist on shopping in Asda then of course you’re going to find low quality food, they cater for low quality people and low quality taste.

Which made me wonder (as these things are wont to do, how else do you think I come up with this rubbish?), does buying cheap food from a cheap supermarket mean you are getting low quality goods?

OK, it didn’t make me think that at all. My instant reaction was… blimey, where does Lidl fit in to this supermarket hierarchy which seems to exist?! And what of Tesco?

The funny thing, for me at least, is that the largest supermarket chain in the UK (Tesco.. do keep up) has never really had much influence on me. We used to visit a branch when we lived in Aylesbury but the nearest store to where we currently live takes us on a route past a Lidl, a Morrisons (Safeway) and an Asda. Not to mention several smaller local stores.

The local stores are where we tend to shop more regularly for everyday items like milk, bread, and … umm… beans…? A trip to the supermarket means we are re-stocking shelves with staples and long-life products, rice, beans… ummm.. and so on. Freezer food is usually purchased at the supermarket. Fresh fruit too I’m afraid, there is one fruit shop in Hamilton which we do visit on the odd weekend but I’ve yet to find one in Glasgow. Yes this is a bad thing.

Hmmm, I’ll losing my way a little here. Some thoughts then.

1. Is there a hierarchy of supermarkets? I’m not talking about in terms of revenue but of, and this next word is for want of a much more suitable term which currently escapes me as I’ve only had one coffee, “class”? I used to view, largely thanks to the one store we used to occasionally visit when I was a child, Tesco as being distinctly grubby and “lower class”. It’s a view I can’t really shake. Safeway suffered similar for a while but bucked up their ideas for a while… and the prices started to rise. I’d say Safeway was “middle class” (and yes I’ve got the Cleese-Barker-Corbett sketch in my head at the moment). Sainsburys is, of course, “upper class”. But why? What forms this view? Does it match yours?

2. Supermarkets keep getting bigger. This is a bad thing. Yet if you venture across the channel you will find “hypermarkets” AND small local stores and markets, both of which seem to be successful. How can the French do it, but we can’t?

3. Where do YOU shop?