Saturday, 7 February 2015

Changing Shopping Habits - A Quantum Leap.

One store closes - another gets the feel good factor.

Well, there is no use procrastinating. I had to bite the bullet. Our local Tesco is one of those hit by the recent changes in the supermarket world.
let me be clear. Our local store is not the mammoth store in the centre of town where you have to negotiate numerous roundabouts and lane changes just to buy a loaf of bread.
No, where we lived now and have lived for many years we have been lucky enough to have a Neighbourhood Shopping centre about half a mile down the road - on a bus route. In fact before we moved we had one where we lived in the Dee |Valley.

First it was Kwik Save - all excellent basics and no frills which meant a trip to Sainsbury's for extras.

This was in the hey-day of Kwik Save when they had these Neighbourhood Shopping Centres. (As a trainer/assessor working in a Cheshire college I was fortunate enough to sample these across the North West, North East and Midlands of the UK. And believe me - they were for the local neighbourhood, slap bang in the middle of a housing estate and not easy to find or be directed to if you were not local! Numbers of main roads? a shrug of the shoulders with the rejoinder "do you know . . .?" "Well actually, I am from North Wales / Cheshire and no, I don't know." Oh, happy times!)

I actually started my Direct Sales career at Kwik Save Gwersyllt when the manager of Wholesale Windows sent me to meet a Rep there. It was the week before Christmas and buying new windows wasn't the topic high on the list of most people.  "He will show you the ropes." He did. I chatted to the throng as they came through the checkout. I got four leads. And they all sold.

Then Kwik save became Somerfield with a move up in the selection pecking order.
Somerfield then became the Co-operative with a loyalty card and even more improvements. Then the store was transformed to Tesco with all the added benefits of their wide selection. The area had expanded. We were laughing - or at least enjoying a one-stop-shop for once.

Now, in the wake of the news of closures, out local store, which in one form or another has served a community (made up of various bordering villages which together make up the size of a town) for around thirty-five years is to close. It is a devastating blow. The local papers have been informed that Tesco will meet our needs with the Tesco Extra in the centre of town or the new one about eighteen or twenty miles away in the south of the county.

Will Lidl come to the rescue. Will it fit the bill? 

Today, I bit the bullet. Since the massive expansion  last year it certainly has become more popular as
Photo courtesy commons.wikipedia.org
testified by the car park. It is but a few hundred yards away from the Neighbourhood Shopping Centre. Today I had to queue on the railway bridge as there was a bottleneck at the traffic lights onto the other main road into town. I managed to find a car parking slot. I got a small trolley - well I was only looking wasn't I?

In reality, it was an upmarket replica of what Kwik Save used to be. No frills, no fancy gimmicks. Just lots of goods stacked high and - I have to say - in some cases in no particular order.
How exciting. It was like browsing in a market. Popping items into the trolley, telling myself that the nutrition content was similar so I would have to be open-minded about brands, I worked my way around the store. In some cases I found my usual brand (oatcakes) jostling for shelf space with other totally unrelated items. The fruit and veg looked fresh and enticing. Whole mangoes? A large selection of meats? Salads? Dairy? The flowers could not be equalled on quality but at a lower price. The list went on.

At the checkout, where you offload onto the belt, put back into the trolley before going to a packing shelf, the friendly assistant comforted me. " 
      You will be alright when you get used to it. It has improved since we re-opened and it is cheaper."
I will just have to remember a few things:
  • Don't go at 12:30 on a Saturday
  • Be open minded about brands
  • Try to gwet at the back of a queue so as to have enough time to get shopping onto the belt before it starts to go through the till
  • Sus out the best place to park so as to not mingle with traffic coming in
  • Allow enough time to wander and browse.

And last but not least in winter  - take a woolly hat. As I said, no frills!

Hey Ho!

Rosalie xx
PS. If  I really can't cope I can simply hop on a train to Liverpool for some R&R. It is right next door to the car park.