Well, this is it. The last entry in my ‘A Year at Sainsbury’s’ diary. Not my last ever visit to Sainsbury’s as life and shopping go on but certainly my last recorded visit! And how was it for me this week? Pretty much the same as usual!! Going in, though, there was a cleaner … in the car park. I’m not quite sure why anyone would want to bother to clean a car park, particularly this one as I don’t recall ever seeing any rubbish, bottles, paper etc lying around during the last year as, if I had done, I would have beefed on about it ad nauseam in my diary. Perhaps the ParkMark subscription renewal is looming and the owner wants to spruce it all up ready for that all important police visit? Anyway, into the store. As I walked in I noticed the security man was ‘giving me the eye’. Now I don’t think I am the suspicious looking type but I guess anyone who has 2 large green bags open in his or her trolley has to be a prime suspect. How easy it would be to drop a few items in on the way round and then not get them out again at check out time? Well, not me, my friend, I don’t do shoplifting. Readers will recall me asking why Sainsbury’s had little stickers all over the place saying ‘Tesco Price Check’ and then a price which is exactly the same as theirs? I said that I thought it was a complete waste of time but today it did me proud. And why? Because doughnuts have gone down in price from 13p (or was it 12p?) to 10p, because the Tesco price is cheaper. So, I bought 2 to celebrate even though they are no longer allowed following ‘le retour de France de ma femme’ and the more healthy eating husband campaign that started within hours of the return. There was a bit of excitement in the bin bags area today. We have started using paper bags in our ‘Mittelstation’, these are quite expensive to buy and so I had them on my Sainsbury’s list. For the life of me I couldn’t see them and in the end I asked one of the assistants if she could help. Now, this assistant turned out to be a rep for Korbond and she was only there to stock up the Korbond display stand. Korbond? They sell sewing stuff and they have a small concession in my Sainsbury’s store. I wonder how much that costs? It can’t be very much and I’m surprised Sainsbury’s bother with it as presumably they have to do all the math at the end of each month and send Korbond a cheque for how much of their stuff has been sold. Anyway, back to my paper bags which in the end it turned out that Sainsbury’s don’t sell. Sorry, you’re probably still wondering whatever is a ‘Mittelstation’! Well, our brown friend outside the front door (it’s been promoted from the back door) is call the ‘Brunesheisehause’ and even if you can’t speak German I’m sure you get the drift! And my daughter called the caddy (to give it its technical name) the ‘Mittlestation’ as its half way from the plate to the ‘Brunesheisehause’ – it’s a sort of skiing term as on long cable car journeys there is usually a changing over point half way up which is called the ‘Mittelstation’. Get it? Probably not, but it’s as good a name as any! You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve investigated the ‘Think 21 Cashier Confirmed Over 18’ line that appears most weeks on my bill. It’s all pretty obvious really as it shows on my bills just above any entry for alcoholic purchases – presumably it shows on the cashier’s screen after it’s gone across the beeper to remind the cashier to check that the customer looks over 18 (not difficult in my case!). And I’ve been able to sort out why when I bought the Sunday Times on 3 September 2006 my bill said ‘Think 21 Cashier Confirmed Over 16’. Do you have to be over 16 to buy a Sunday paper from Sainsbury’s? And the answer is … sometimes. Apparently on occasions some of the material in a newspaper may be a bit ‘racy’ and so there is an age warning on it. Well, I could understand this with the News of the World which is full of filth (so I’m told) but the Sunday Times??!!. Unfortunately it is so long ago now that the particular paper has long gone so we will never know. Now I said a couple of weeks ago that I would try and work out how many lines Sainsbury’s have in their store. Well, this week I did and the answer is 24,362. Impressive, huh? Well, I counted the number of items on an average looking shelf, multiplied this by the number of shelves to give the number on one side of the aisle, then multiplied by 2 to give the number per aisle, then multiplied this by the number of aisles and it came to somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 and 24,362 is as good a number as any! As I got to the check outs I looked wistfully at aisle 24, the one that has eluded me all these weeks, but no luck, it is still being used as a sort if dumping ground. Disappointing that I couldn’t get a full set but I didn’t do too badly, did I? And, as it is my last week, I cashed in all my Nectar points and my savings stamps and my Nectar vouchers. I didn’t tell you about these did I? On my board in the kitchen with post it notes, calendar, useful telephone numbers etc I found 8 vouchers worth 500 points each (God knows where they came from) and I waited until my last week to cash them in. And what a result! All this lot added up to a massive £37.50, meaning that my bill was reduced from £64.14 to £26.64. If I’d thought about it I would have engineered it so that the deductions were more than the original bill meaning that, in theory, Sainsbury’s would have owed me money. And then waited to see what chaos ensued. It’s easy to be wise after the event! So that’s about it. But before I go, some statistics. Over the past 12 months my My Sainsbury’s bills totalled a massive £2,704.42 from which cashed in Nectar points worth £30.00 were deducted (equivalent to a 1.1% discount) resulting in a net spend of £2,674.42. I hope Mr King appreciates my custom as if it wasn’t for people like me going into his store week in, week out Sainsbury’s wouldn’t be what it is today and he wouldn’t be driving his Maserati. And is Sainsbury’s in good order? Actually, I think it is. It’s organised, clean, good value (I think) and all the staff I have talked to over the year (sometimes asking them the most bizarre of questions) have been helpful and courteous. There are things I would change, for sure, and maybe one day my diary will find its way on to Mr King’s desk and he will get them sorted. And it would be the most comprehensive and detailed customer survey he is ever likely to get! And have I enjoyed my year? Well, I’m not sure ‘enjoyed’ can ever be used to describe grocery shopping but I’ve certainly found it interesting and I’ve learned a lot. Before I go I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you readers who have stuck with me over the weeks and months – now you can ‘try something different today’! And with that I am going to close my diary for the last time with the words used by our beloved leader (Blair not King) when he stepped down … ‘That’s it. The End’.
Items bought 44
Total cost £64.14
Cost per item £1.45
Checkout no 20
Nectar points 323 (after cashing in 2500)