A Year at Sainsbury's

My diary of weekly trips to Sainsbury's to do my shopping whilst my wife is abroad for a year!


Having closed my blog in 2007 I have had to re-open it! The reason ..... well, I turned my blog into a book and it is now available for buying as a paperback for £4.99, as a PDF for £2.99 or as a download onto your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and on your computer with iTunes for £1.99. What a bargain! All you have to do is go to Lulu.com and put the word Sainsbury's into the FIND box. Ignore Jamie Oliver (most people do) and pick which format you would like to buy. So, don't delay, buy today - lots of people already have!!
Well, it had to happen - my Year at Sainsbury's has finally come to an end and my diary is now closed. For those of you who stuck with me as I braved wonky trolleys, Nectar points and trying to buy British thank you for your support and your e-mails! I hope to see you sometime in the orangery - you can't miss me, I'm the man of a certain age reading the small print on just about everything ...


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)


There was a great item on the news recently - a man had got more than he bargained for when he bought a pack of Sainsbury's lettuce as inside was ... a lizard! This caused much mirth on Radio 2 where I heard it (the station for people of a certain age). Anyway, it sounded a bit of a long story but in the end the lizard went to a reptile collector and Sainsbury's visited him and gave him a replacement bag of lettuce, which was very big of them I thought. Funnily enough, the day after I heard this, a squashed beetly looking thing (dead and cooked) dropped out of my Sainsbury's bread as I was cutting it! Ordinarily I would be straight back to the store with it but I decided that if all you get for a lizard in a bag of lettuce is ... a bag of lettuce it probably wasn't worth it. So the beetle went into my brown friend outside the front door (it's been promoted from the back door) to await turning into compost or whatever they do with the mush that is collected once a week. Anyway, onto this week's shop. Once again I met some people I knew on the up escalator as I was going down. Perhaps the people I know only come out in the summer? Now, these two are 'neighbours' who we don't speak to. They have built themselves an old people's bungalow at the bottom of the garden and lied and cheated their way to getting a building built that was never approved by the local Council in the first place. It's taken forever and we've had to endure planning appeals, the Local Government Ombudsman, worry, frustration etc and it's all cost us a fortune. Meanwhile Lord & Lady Muck sit in their garden sipping their Sanatogen as though nothing has happened. So I did the usual 'staring and ignoring' routine at them as they trundled up the escalator. Believe you me I will get my revenge and it will be so sweet! Into the store. I bought some blueberries this week. In truth, I've been buying them for a while since 'elle' has returned from France and I noticed that the price sticker has £3.99 crossed through, £1.99 crossed through and then the real price of £1.49. As far as I can remember this has always been the case so it seems the illusion that we are getting a bargain is just that - the price always has been £1.49 and perhaps this is a ploy to make us thing that we are getting something on the cheap. Another e-mail to Sainsbury's perhaps? Perhaps not. Success! You will remember that I found a product with 4 reds and 1 orange on the wheel of death (health) and surmised that it would not be possible to find a product with 5 greens unless it was water? Well, this week I did indeed find a product with 5 greens - 'British Chicken Quick Cook Breast Steaks'. Needless to say I bought some immediately - a British product with 5 greens, how exciting is that! On to missing milk. As I turned into the milk area I saw 2 Sainsbury's lads hunched over a calculator type thing uttering words like 'we should have 5 of these' and 'where can they have gone' etc etc. I chatted to one of them later on and I found out that Sainsbury's can scan the bar code of any product into this little machine and it tells them how much stock they have! If you know how much is in the stockroom you can then work out how much should be on the shelves. How clever! And even more clever is that most of the time what they should have, they have, although when there is a discrepancy it is usually less stock than there should be probably due to shrinkage (theft to you and me). And I'm not surprised that there is less milk than there should be as it is a Saturday and the light fingered brethren amongst us would have been hard at work. Next, the Top Ten items. As you know I often look at the Top Ten board and today was no exception. But guess what was on there - Bernard Matthews turkey! It seems so long ago that I was giving BM a hard time in my diary following the bird flu scandal (Bernard Matthews turkeys - they're flootiful) and I can't remember what the outcome was. Were they guilty or not guilty? Whatever, Sainsbury's are obviously still stocking his mush masquerading as turkey and I'm delighted that it seems they are struggling to sell it and are having to put it on their Top Ten offers board to get it away. You will be pleased to hear I've stopped putting my vegetables into those clear little plastic bags and I now put them loose into my trolley. This gives me the opportunity to lay them out neatly on the checkout conveyor as though they are in a show waiting to be judged! I really must get out more. I was greatly excited by a banner offering 5p off petrol for the next few weeks but due to the excitement of the vegetable laying out I forgot to ask the cashier for my voucher. Damn, must remember next time. And next time or the time after may be the last of my Year at Sainsbury's ...

Items bought 29
Total cost £36.11
Cost per item £1.25
Checkout no 12
Nectar points 2761


Well, I knew it wouldn't last and here I am back again 3 days later! Looking on the positive side it means you are getting your money's worth as my diary nears its conclusion. So what happened today? Well, I noticed that there are lots of little stickers up all over the place saying 'Tesco price check' and then an amount which is exactly the same price as the Sainsbury's price. I can't see the point of this. OK, so some stuff is the same price as Tesco's is but statistically that has to be true for a certain percentage of what Sainsbury's and Tesco's sell given the large number of items that are the same in both stores. So why tell us? Actually it begs the question as to which items are more expensive in Sainsbury's and which are less expensive. Perhaps what Sainsbury's should do is to put little stickers on items that are cheaper than in Tesco - assuming, of course, that there are some! Is this allowed under competition law, health & safety rules etc etc? Probably not. Moving on to a subject dear to my heart - wine! Sainsbury's put the white wine that is 'on offer' in a fridge near the drinks aisle and as I was extracting a couple of half price wines I noticed a little sticker (this is my week for stickers!) saying that 'To maintain great prices fitted with security device'. Whatever does this mean? First, there was no security device that I could see and what fitting security devices has to do with great prices I really don't know. The only thing I can thing of is that security devices prevent theft and theft costs money so less theft means cheaper prices. Maybe I'll e-mail Sainsbury's and ask them - but, then again, perhaps not. Some excitement at the checkout today. First, the man in front of me spotted that his orange juice was leaking so there was the ringing of the bell which was followed by the going and getting another one routine. And then it was the wrong one - he wanted one with bits in. Men have to look out for their bits! So then there was another ringing of the bell followed by the going and getting another (correct) one routine. Success! By now the queue was building up nicely. And then my cashier had trouble with finding nectarines on his fruit price list. There was much looking up and down the list and scratching of head and in the end he asked me to find it for him! This I duly did with no trouble (if you're interested nectarines have the code 4063). By this time the queue was snaking away into the distance and I fully expected the lectern that comes out at Friday lunchtimes to be rolled out for an emergency consultation! Whilst all this was going on I noticed a book tucked behind the till with the title 'Record of Challenges and Refusals Book'. I assume this is for noting instances when people under 18 try and buy drink and the cashiers are unable to 'Cashier Confirmed Over 18' having looked at passports, driving licences and the like. Is it a legal requirement? And what is in it? Is it Big Brother at work again? I must take a peek and report back! The title of the tome is interesting - surely 'Record of ... ' is sufficient, without 'Book' at the end? Another one for Lynne Truss or John Humphrys. Also whilst in the queue the alarms went off - is there no end to this excitement? As ever they were completely ignored by everyone apart from me! Looking around for the reason (perhaps a 14 year old was trying to buy drink?) I noticed that there are 3 lights on the wall - red, amber and green and the amber one was flashing. It soon stopped but I wonder what the red and green lights are for. I ought to find out - if there is a real alarm I want to be first out! Finally today I met another person I knew on the down escalator as I was going up and out. Funny how I've been coming to Sainsbury's for a year and it's only in the final weeks that I've run into people I know. Where were they for the rest of the year? And finally, finally eons ago I said I would check out the 'Cashier Confirmed ... ' as sometimes my bill says 'Cashier Confirmed over 18' and sometimes it says 'Cashier Confirmed Over 16'. I'm on the case!

Items bought 29
Total cost £42.47
Cost per item £1.46
Checkout no 22
Nectar points 2689


It's been a while since my last visit because I've been given time off for good behaviour! Anyway, as I zoom into my last month of my diary there is still much to report. First, today there was a big banner up over the door saying 'Over 7000 prices reduced since January'. This is an interesting statement as I presume this means that in 7 months 7000 items have been reduced in price for a period of time before being increased in price (ie the Top Ten special offer and the like) rather than there are 7000 items in the store that are cheaper than they were at the beginning of the year. This has got me wondering how many items there actually are in the store? There would have to be more than 7000 but how many more? I might do a bit of math & calculation on this before the end of August - it would be nice to conclude with a wonderful piece of research! Despite the grotty weather the 'Enjoy Summer' promotion is still in full swing - the box containing the picnic rugs, cool bags, badminton kits etc is full to overflowing and is even more battered that it was a couple of weeks ago so presumably people are still fighting over the goodies. My picnic rug is being used this week by daughter - I'll report how it fared being sat on by 3 'young ladies' and having assorted liquids and solids spilt (or is it spilled?) on it. And just when I thought we were safe the Animal Hoovers are back, only 2 of them so there has clearly been a cull but back nonetheless. Will they be still there, looking forlorn, as my diary closes in a few weeks time? The excitement of it all! Next, the Coinstar machine. I took in a huge pile of pennies & twopences (and other assorted buttons, Euros and the like as it turned out) and was reward with a voucher for £10.36! My goodness me it did make a noise as all this lot was processed and the nearby checkouts ground to a halt as the source of all this racket was sought and then stared at. I stood there nonchalantly whistling (as you do) not caring one jot and watching the counter click up the 1ps, 2ps 5ps etc etc. Finally on this quick visit - rocket. I jotted this down but now cannot for the life of me remember what it was all about! Ah well, perhaps it will come back to me and if it does I'll let you know.
Items bought 15
Cost £23.05
Cost per item £1.53
Checkout no 18
Nectar points 2605


Well, here I am again and when tomorrow comes (1 August) I will be in my last month of my Year at Sainsbury's! When it's all done whatever am I going to do? How about a Year at Waitrose or a Year at Tescos? I'm open to offers! Maybe I should get this published (if I can find anyone insane enough to take it on). Perhaps Sainsbury's would be interested? I'm sure they would take it all in good heart - if nothing else it must be the most comprehensive customer survey they have ever had or, indeed, are likely to get. I could see it this Christmas nestling next to the magazines at the checkout and being snapped up by shoppers as a stocking filler. And making me a fortune! I can dream. And then there's the film rights! A bit dull I must admit but it has to be better than Big Brother ... Anyway, on to this week's shop. First, David Baarda. 'Who?' I hear you ask. Well, Dave (as I will call him) grows tomatoes for Sainsbury's all year round according to the huge sign above the vegetable aisle. And a good, honest grower he looks with his moustache and body warmer. Quite why he has to wear a body warmer if he can grow tomatoes all year round I'm not sure! And also, is he British? 'David' is okay but I'm not sure about 'Baarda'. Whatever, I looked closely at the tomato packaging to find that they come from Yorkshire so they must be Dave's! With regard to where Dave comes from, all is well though as an internet search reveals that David runs a tomato business on Teeside. Now, there's been a lot in the press recently about the floods and the effect on food prices and Sainsbury's have started to warm us up to this by posting a notice saying that some vegetables are in short supply as a result of 'harvesting difficulties'. Must be the understatement of the year! It will be interesting to see whether S puts up another notice in due course to tell us that their prices have gone up as a result of the 'harvesting difficulties'. Somehow I doubt it ... Next, small chickens. Regular readers will recall that many months ago I asked how all Sainsbury's small chickens can always weigh exactly the same amount week in week out, without any real conclusion other than to suspect skullduggery! Anyway, I haven't bought one for ages but this week chicken was on my list again and I noticed that the small chickens had 'New' stickers on them and that the price has gone up! Quite how they can be new as they've always been there I'm not sure but there you go. And I have no problem with the new price of £2.14 as it still seems ridiculously cheap but ... yes, you guessed it, they are still all exactly the same weight and price. If anybody knows the answer as to how this can be please let me know asap as my diary will be closing soon! Whilst passing the cheese & ham counter I noticed that the pork & egg cutting pie is back! It is, however, following the return of 'elle' from France no longer allowed so tempted as I was I had to pass it by. Whilst in the queue for the checkout I noticed a couple pouring huge quantities of coins into the Coinstar machine much to the interest of everyone in the store. Money laundering perhaps?? This week I remembered to ask for a Nectar game card only to be told that Sainsbury's have run out! How can this be? I thought of lodging a complaint but decided against it - if they have still run out next week I will though. You have been warned!
Items bought 29
Cost £49.55
Cost per item £1.70
Checkout no 10
Nectar points 2559


Coming out of the lift this week a man came in pushing a trolley and looking at the buttons asked me, in a semi-hysterical voice, if there was a floor 2 and, if so, how on earth could he get there? Readers who've been with me since the start will recall that I had this problem early on so it's good to know that I am not the only geographically challenged shopper! I was tempted to let him suffer but took pity on him instead and told that he needed to take the lift to level 3 and then walk down the ramp to level 2. My good deed for the day! Also on the way in (is there no end to this excitement) I met someone else I knew!! I bet there'll be another soon I thought, thereby proving the 'buses come along in threes' theory for humans as well. In the store I decide to buy another cheese & onion sandwich for my lunch only to find that they are no longer made by **. They are now made by . Whoever is now seems to make all the Sainsbury's sandwiches so well done them for getting one over on **. No doubt at the ** factory, when they heard the news that Sainsbury's were taking their business elsewhere, all you could hear was **** and *******! Moving on, I took a good look round for cameras this week and I can report that there are none apart from the brown glass thingy over the drinks aisle. So, it seems that it is relatively easy to shoplift in 'my' Sainsbury's! I know that shops measure their shrinkage (theft) and it would be interesting to know how much is lost from 'my' store. I suspect a lot. At the checkout I noticed that the wobbly card wipe machines on stalks have been fixed so they are no longer wobbly. I commented on this in my diary ages ago so maybe somebody is reading it after all. I remarked on the stiffening (of the machines on stalks) to the cashier in the hope that it would result in some stimulating conversation, but it was not to be. And guess what! In the checkout queue there was someone else I knew! QED!! Actually, to be fair, I wasn't sure it was someone I knew and I wasn't prepared to say hello to a woman on her own without being absolutely sure - I could get arrested for that kind of thing these days. Anyway, I'm 99.9% certain I did know her so I claim her as my third scalp. Now, I spent more than £10 or whatever it was I needed to, but I didn't get my Nectar swipe card. I realised this on the way out but hadn't the heart (or, to be frank, the interest) to go back and make a scene. Next time I will remember to ask!
Items bought 27
Cost £33.20
Cost per item £1.22
Checkout no 17
Nectar points 2461


Despite a 'big shop' a couple of days ago I've been sent back again for some more healthy foodstuffs - lettuce, yogurt, you know the kind of thing. On the way there was a traffic jam caused by ... a Sainsbury's lorry! I have to say I thought that big lorries were banned from towns during the day so quite why this one was on the loose at 4 o'clock in the afternoon I'm not sure. Anyway, its driver was adept at weaving his way through very tight spaces and in view of my (unhealthy) interest in Sainsbury's I was quite content to sit and watch him do his stuff (unlike the other drivers) leaving only inches to spare. Anyway, on to my shopping experience. Having bought the greenery on my list I passed the meat counter and noticed a bizarre sign which read 'Mey Selections'. I asked whether this was a spelling mistake for 2 month old meat only to be told that Mey is in Scotland and that this was an advert for the 'Sourced in Scotland' meat. Well, I've never heard of Mey, but on checking I find that it is indeed in Scotland between Thurso and John o'Groats, in other words in the middle of nowhere. I don't think there is much there apart from a castle, so it seems a bit odd for Sainsbury's to be including it in its advertising, although full marks for being absolutely honest about where the Scottish meat in fact is coming from (unlike the 'British' meat I had a go about last time). At the checkout the man in front of me had his face painted like a clown's and I was very tempted to ask him why but I'm afraid that I was wary of doing this just in case he was a little challenged in the brain department (you can't be too careful these days!). So I asked the cashier instead after he'd gone, which gave me an excuse to engage in conversation with the cashier which I said I would try and do from now on. Anyway, it turned out that he had a good reason for looking like he did (other than lunacy) - his daughter's party or something like that. Whilst in the queue I noticed a small child under the Coinstar machine! I presume he was looking for coins that had broken loose but I heard no whooping or cheering so I assume he was unlucky. On the way up the escalator without steps (I think this is called a travelator) I saw an old friend, an acquaintance really, coming down and we started a conversation that got louder and louder as we got further and further apart. She's the first person I've seen that I've known on my JS trips for ages - perhaps there will be more in the weeks to come on the buses principle that you wait ages for one to come along and then three come together. We will see!
Items bought 10
Cost £14.26
Cost per item £1.42 (didn't need a calculator this time!)
Checkout no 7
Nectar points 2377 (including 10 extra, not had these before ... )


Well, my wife has now returned and here we both are doing a 'big shop' as the fridge and cupboards are bare. And whilst I am no longer a bachelor again (yippee) it does mean that my Year at Sainsbury's is drawing to a close and with it my diary (boo hoo). But let's not be downhearted, it's business as usual for a few weeks anyway! So, what happened this week? Well, first, there is a new promotion - 'Swipe to Win'. Whilst this sounds like a prize for the person who can pinch the most stuff without being caught it is in fact a Nectar card promotion - if you spend more that £10 at Sainsbury's and present your Nectar card (hence the 'swipe') you get a game card. I (sorry, we) get one but despite the upbeat '1 in 3's a winner' when I peel off the front the disappointing message 'Have Another Go' is revealed. This involves going on to the Nectar website (yes, there is one), typing in the unique code from my game card, then my Nectar number and then my e-mail address and then there is a load of small print that tells me that I have now agreed to be bombarded with 'offers' from Nectar (spam in other words). Luckily I have a defunct e-mail address that I never look at for this kind of thing. Anyway, having done all that I then have a choice of 4 balloons to pop (why is this all so difficult?) - I choose the green one and, surprise, surprise I am indeed a 'winner'. And my prize? £8 off horrifically expensive family attractions such as Chessington Zoo and Madam Tussauds. No doubt the other balloons have exactly the same 'prizes' and all of this is an elaborate way of collecting up e-mail addresses for 'marketing' purposes. Well, I won't be logging on to the Nectar website again but hopefully soon I will win first time and will be able to report a more satisfying winning experience before my diary closes. Talking of being caught for pinching stuff there was a security man from Reliance patrolling around this week (aren't they the lot that let all the prisoners go?). Is this a new phenomenon or have I not noticed him before? Perhaps he only comes out on a Sunday? Whatever, I presume he is there to deter shoplifters but I cannot imagine a young lad in a uniform wandering around looking bored is going to make any difference but I guess it's worth a try. But it did remind me to look for cameras! I'll look round a bit more carefully next time but I think there is definitely a hidden one above the drinks aisle as there is an suspicious odd looking circular thing in the ceiling above which I bet lurks a camera. Moving on, you will recall I was unhappy with the 'Best of British' banner above the meat counter when most of the meat had been 'Produced in the UK' according to its labels as opposed to it being 'Sourced in the UK'. Well I e-mailed Sainsbury's about this and my fears were well founded as they told me that 'meat that is produced in the UK means that the animal was not born, raised and culled in the United Kingdom'. So, despite the impression given by the banner the vast majority of the meat beneath it was British it was in fact not British. I am appalled! And whilst I am sure that Sainsbury's are following the rules it is quite clear the rules need to be changed. Not sure who is responsible for this (is it the dreaded EU I wonder?) but somebody, somewhere needs to sort it out. And it is blindingly simple! To be labelled as British the product needs to originally come from the UK. Period. Ignore all the processing, packaging and so on it's where the product originally comes from that matters. Luckily the banner has been taken down otherwise there would have been hell to pay! Anyway, on to the check outs and a new experience this week! The cashier actually started a conversation! She asked me whether it was still raining to which I responded 'yes'. Not a great conversation I admit but it's a start ... Next week I will make a point of engaging my cashier in stimulating conversation such as 'Have you had your holidays yet?' (the good old hairdresser's favourite) and I'll let you know what transpires. Well, that's about it for this week other than to tell you that just like I said they would the animal Dyson hoovers have gone! I doubt they sold so presumably they have been rounded up and deported to Malaysia from whence they came.
Items bought 62
Cost £96.79
Cost per item £1.56
Checkout number 20
Nectar points 2339


Well, I'm off to collect my wife from France demain (tomorrow) and will be gone for 2 weeks so this is just a quick trip to JS to say goodbye (adieu) and to pick up a few essentials like the presents needed for the French chums she has made whilst she has been away. My daughter is back home from university and amazingly she agrees to come with me to help! First, I introduce her to the Coinstar machine. It duly does its stuff with all the 1ps I've been saving up over the last few months, spits out the odd non British coin and produces a voucher for £1.73. Daughter pronounces it 'cool' - praise indeed! We then march into the store proper and start to work through our list. After a while we realise that we need a basket so back I have to go to the entrance. Not my usual efficient self I admit but apart from this it all goes remarkably smoothly. We are greatly cheered by the fact that Pimms is being sold for £8 (yes, eight pounds) off per bottle - now that's what I call a sale. Shows the mark up though doesn't it as I presume Sainsbury's still make a handsome profit even with £8 off. As we have '10 items or less' we went through one of the '10 items or less' checkout and that was that. Easy!

Items bought 11
Cost £24.28
Average cost per item £2.20
Checkout number 6
Nectar points 2107


I've been 'en France' again so it's been 10 days since my last trip to Sainsbury's. There's quite a bit to talk about this week so here goes! First, on the way in I had to avoid a Virgin Media stall that had sprung up since my last visit. Luckily they were talking to a potential customer (mug) so I managed to slip by unnoticed. Second, I made a deliberate attempt to see if I could find a Sainsbury's product with 5 reds on the Wheel of Death. I'd already worked out that prepared pies and cakes were likely candidates and I was right! The Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and the chicken pies and steak pies were all 4 reds and an orange, as were the Viennese Whirls but I couldn't find anything with 5 reds. I wonder if there is anything? If you find something let me know please! Perhaps next week I should look for 5 greens - now surely that must be impossible unless it was bottled water or lettuce or something like that? Talking of greens, in the vegetable area I alighted upon a 'pointed cabbage' and indeed it was! I've never seen these before, if it wasn't in the organic range I'd be accusing of Sainsbury's of trying to sell us genetically modified vegetables. Of course, as everyone knows, the real name for these is 'Brassica Oleracea L. var. Capitata' and apparently they originate from some cross breeding in Germany in the late 20th century. Gulp! Doesn't this have a familiar ring to it? Whatever, I guess the ultimate in genetic modification would be cubed cabbages (ie cabbages in the shape of a cube) as these would pack perfectly into boxes with no air and wouldn't roll about on the shelves generally making a nuisance of themselves. Next, over the meat counter there was a banner with 'Best of British' on it. Now, as you know, I'm worried about Sainsbury's’ use of the word 'British' so I took a closer look. The chops and other meat on the left of the counter had 'Produced in UK' on their labels whereas the Scottish beef had 'Origin UK' on it. My goodness, this sounds fishy (or meaty perhaps?). I have an awful sneaking feeling that the 'Produced in UK' is not British meat at all but has had something minor done to it in the UK so that Sainsbury's can say 'Produced in the UK'. I've e-mailed Customer Services about this - I'll let you know the outcome. If it does indeed turn out not to be British meat at all I will be apopeltic, aplotetic ... very cross! Anyway, I mustn't jump the gun but I'm not holding my breath. Now, here's a bit of useless information for you. Justin King (Mr King to you and I) drives a Maserati according to the Sunday Times. There is clearly money to be made in running a shop! I guess this explains why he has yet to visit my local Sainsbury's - it would probably get stuck going over all the bumps and humps in the car park and despite the ParkMark award I bet somebody would do some mischief to it. Don't be put off though Mr King - you can always park at my place and we'll get the bus down. Now, checkout 24. Regular readers will know that this the only real checkout (ie not baskets only, 5 items or less) that I haven't been through and recently there has been all manner of junk on it and by it - a broken chair, piles of magazines etc etc. Well, today it was clear and looking every inch like a checkout waiting to be used! I'll keep my fingers crossed although there isn't long to go now, probably only 5 or 6 visits what with my holidays coming up and so on. Great excitement whilst I was in the checkout queue. Over the public address there came an announcement 'First Aiders to the checkouts please' (I must admit I don't recall hearing public address announcements before, perhaps this is something new?). I looked up and down the checkouts expecting to see someone suffering from shock at seeing the bill or finding that the Nectar card had been left behind or some other serious ailment but it wasn't until I'd left the store that I spotted the culprit (or perhaps I mean patient?). A young girl was sitting on one of the benches looking very pale and sipping water with 3 First Aiders giving her helpful advice like 'Don't try and move'. Now, I'm not an expert in First Aid but 'Don't try and move' doesn't seem particularly helpful to me, although I'm sure the Aider was doing his best. Actually I'm surprised that Sainsbury's can provide any form of First Aid under Health & Safety Legislation because if, in fact, the worst thing this girl could have done was not move then Sainsbury's could well have been liable? Interesting. Or perhaps not. Anyway, the moral is - don't get ill in Sainsbury's, hold on a bit longer and go round the corner to Boots and get ill there, preferably next to the pharmacy counter! So, that's pretty much it for this week, other than to tell you that during my time off from Sainsbury's (for good behaviour) I bought some petrol and claimed some Nectar points with the result that the closing balance on my last Sainsbury's bill of 1961 points turned into an opening balance of 1991 points on this bill. Now, on the basis of 2 points for every £ spent this means I bought £15 of petrol but I thought I bought more than this ...? I really ought to check it out but you'll be pleased to know I've 'moved on' from Nectar points.

Items bought 23
Cost £34.64
Average cost per item £1.51
Checkout number 21 (twice in a row!)
Nectar points 2059