February 24th, 2006


(no subject)

Ocado have let me down for the first time. I have been praising this service to the skies. They always come when they say they will, there are no substitutes, the goods come in colour-coded bags for easy unpacking, the fresh items have good long sell-by dates. Today, something went wrong and several items had gone missing. The van driver and customer services were full of apologies but apologies don’t cut it when, instead of getting on with some work, a person has to go out into the bitter cold just to get bread, milk and wine (let’s not forget the essentials). The wretched shop didn’t have exactly what I wanted so I spent 99p on a bunch of daffodils to cheer myself up. What?! The shop provides poor service so you fork out an extra pound? No wonder they stay in business.

You may well ask why an able bodied person needs to have shopping delivered at all, even once a month as I do. The fact is that the delightful country town where we live is now a place where people without a car/plenty of money/lots of spare time could if not starve, at least have to put up with a poor diet. Safeway arrives: shops close. Safeway sold to Morrison’s: shops still closing. Somerfield take over: last decent butcher and only delicatessen closes. The trouble is that Somerfield is a rubbish shop. Every week I find something I used to buy discontinued, empty shelves, poor quality fresh produce, shelves which used to hold food now laden with sheets, pots & pans and other items which can be bought elsewhere in the town. It could be such a pleasant place to shop. The staff greet you by name and you always see some friend or acquaintance to exchange a kind word with. Unfortunately things are getting so bad that the staff are taking time off due to stress caused by listening to customer complaints all day long.

The alternative is the all-conquering Tesco or a trip to Waitrose in Bournemouth or Ringwood. Each of these options involves a round trip of at least two hours. I don’t expect sympathy from anyone for a comparatively minor problem which could only affect people living in the prosperous parts of the western hemisphere. But I can’t help it, it makes me MAD.