If all of the supermarket chains in the UK except for Aldi and Lidl disappeared, would you care?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 175mph, 17 Jun 2019.

As the discussion title

  1. Yes

    79.0%
  2. No

    21.0%
  1. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    We do our primary shop in either Aldi or Lidl and whilst there’s a handful of my regular items I can’t buy there, it isn’t that much, so if they were the only options then I wouldn’t be too hard done by (I’m excluding things like toiletries which you could buy from a non-supermarket).

    I do however go shopping in normal supermarkets in addition for a number of reasons:

    1. Often the discounters are not the cheapest, I’m thinking of products like spices which I often buy in the jumbo bags from the international aisle in normal supermarkets in diverse areas, and certain basics/value ranges

    2. Queues; the wait time (in Lidl especially) is usually quite long whereas it’s uncommon to have to queue for the self service machines in the normal supermarkets. Particularly relevant if I’m only buying one or two things such as bread or milk

    3. Plastic & food waste; the discounters wrap most things in their fruit & veg aisles in plastic for their convenience. We’ve recently switched to buying some of our fruit & vegetables loose even though this usually means paying more

    4. Opening hours; I don’t think that the discounters have many shops open outside of core hours (08.00-22.00) whereas I often have cause to go shopping in the early morning or late night because of my work pattern

    5. Location; there simply isn’t as many of them in places convenient for me

    and finally, something which is equally applicable to normal supermarkets but seems to be especially common in the discounters, 6. Stock control; I can’t remember the last time I went in Aldi/Lidl and they had everything in stock that I wanted!
     
  2. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    If we're going to start looking at environmental issues... a big concern I have with every supermarket chain is that they invariably provide free car parking for customers at their newer/bigger stores. Since they don't provide any free equivalent for people who don't drive to do their shopping - and building a car park does cost money and uses a lot of (potentially, expensive) land, this amounts to a free subsidy given to people who drive, at the expense of all their other customers. That may be popular with many of the public - but given everything we know about pollution etc. these days, there's surely no excuse for subsidising people to drive.

    Related to that, I've noticed in a few places that stores have one entrance that's convenient for their free car park, and another entrance that's convenient for anyone walking to the store. In a few locations, at some point in the evening, stores close the entrance that's convenient for people walking, while leaving open the entrance that's only conveniently usable by motorists. That is incredibly frustrating if you're trying to do the decent thing by walking or cycling to the store, and you get there after the 'pedestrian' entrance has closed. And it seems to send completely the wrong message about protecting the environment.
     
  3. 175mph

    175mph Member

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    Some of the newest Lidl stores have features like self checkouts and customer toilets.
     
  4. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Most Lidl’s seem to have customer activated terminals... Many of the smaller ones in London ONLY have them, however the queues are still terrible and in many cases worse than when they had humanoid checkouts.
     
  5. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Don't forget, we're on a TRANSPORT forum, so such behaviour is almost de rigueur!
     
  6. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    Probably, yes as I like popping into Sainsbury's and M&S for lunch. However for everyday staples and household stuff I think Lidl and Aldi are often great. Having worked for Asda in my student days and spending so many hours with their booming music, stupid tannoy announcements and other gimmicks, I'd be happy never to step in one of their branches again. :) I find Aldi bliss in comparison....
     
  7. 175mph

    175mph Member

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    And, since the lighting in many of their stores has been refitted with LED ones, it's now too bright, even at night, except for the Hessle Road branch of Asda in Hull where after dark, the lighting appears to be dimmer.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Tesco normally turn off every other light or thereabouts at night.
     
  9. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I agree, I personally don’t think there’s much in it between Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s price wise, although I usually go to Tesco’s for little items for their Meal deal, and because they have ‘Metro’ shops which means you can get some of their cheaper prices in central locations. Sainsbury’s used to have a ‘Central’ format but that was ditched a few years ago and the product lines were changed.

    One thing that is noticeable though is how shabby Tesco’s presentation is compared to Sainsbury’s, the shops are frequently very untidy and seem to be suffering from a lack of maintenance, and the staff generally of a much lower quality, plenty of the staff in London seem to lack social skills and often struggle to speak coherently.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    This seems to be a London thing generally, most probably because you'll never get quality people in those kinds of jobs if you pay them poverty wages. (The London living wage is all very well, but even that is still a poverty wage in London).
     
  11. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It most certainly isn’t my experience in rival supermarkets, seems to be an issue with Tesco’s specifically. Only once have I had this issue in a branch of Sainsbury’s in London, and the staff member there was just plain rude rather than lacking in the ability to speak clearly!
     
  12. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    My local "Tesco Extra" now closes its "hot food" counter where you can buy such things as a hot chicken etc at 15.00. A backward step as you would think most people would seek out those items at teatime.
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It might be me being a Northerner in exile, but I find that customer-facing staff in retail businesses in London generally are of poor quality compared with elsewhere. The one that irritates me most (and as I've said before, also irritates my Polish housemate, unless I suppose they happen to speak Polish :) ) is those who do not have an acceptable command of English. But I find all too often there is some kind of issue e.g. poor presentation, poor language ability or rudeness.
     
  14. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    An annoying thing that occurred to me on two separate occasions at Sainsbury's at Streatham Common: like many, you're required to pay £1 deposit for a trolley, a plentiful supply of which were near the entrance but, when you returned to your car and went to the nearest stowage point with your trolley, every single one had been removed by the attendant, so you didn't have the necessary one to push your own trolley against to return your £1: as I'd just had severe leg problems and been confined to bed for a couple of weeks I wasn't best impressed. On the second occasion, having had to return my trolley to near the entrance, I mentioned this pleasantly to the late middle-aged guy who was doing the shepherding i.e. why didn't he leave a spare trolley? He gave me a look of utter contempt and told me it wasn't his problem! I probably should have taken it further, but I was with my (permanently) disabled sister and hadn't the energy for it.
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Don't the stowage points have a chain attached to them to clip the first one into? That's been the case in every case I've seen.

    That said, the attitude ("int moy fault, guv") is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about - go up into the wilds of Yorkshire (and I'm a Lancastrian! :) ) and you'd get a lengthy apology and explanation, most probably.
     
  16. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    The Lidl in my hometown closed years ago and I've never really used them much since, despite the fact that one of my workplaces is fairly near one. When we still had it, it was the most diabolical shopping experience - it literally felt like you were imprisoned in the shop, and most of their food appeared to be made of grey rubber, except (weirdly) the parmesan cheese, which was an unusual bonus when you would have perhaps expected it to have been rubberiest of all.

    I'm sure they've improved, but the Co-op which replaced it is much better for convenience, and the nearby Sainsbury's is now huge and sells everything apart from an actual house to put all the stuff in.

    Our local Iceland has been around donkey's years and hasn't changed much - indeed, judging by its reputation locally, I quite expect half the stuff in their freezers was around when I was a teenager.

    Every time I've bought a sandwich or anything baked in M&S in the last couple of years, it's not lived up to the price, so I tend to avoid them - except for the odd special confectionery item or preserves, which I find to be quite nice in their own way.

    My area is in a bit of a Waitrose blackspot. The local Morrisons is a poor contender compared to some of the others I've visited. Tesco is confined to a couple of huge out-of-town ones a bit of a drive away, and a couple of Metros. To be quite honest, the main reason I use Tesco is either because it's near where I happen to be, or because it's open when nothing else is. I am in the entertaining position of sometimes unpredictably needing to buy lunch at 2am, which means it pays to know where the big supermarkets are!

    No Aldi stores anywhere near me, but I've used them to stock up for group holidays in various other bits of the country, and they've been reasonable in quality, although manic.
     
  17. LOL The Irony

    LOL The Irony Established Member

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    Those can be a steal if you get the right things.
     
  18. Condor7

    Condor7 Member

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    This is very true, I hadn’t thought of that. :). Although being on a transport forum you shouldn’t use words we have to look up.......at least I now know what ‘behaviour’ means.
     
  19. dgl

    dgl Member

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    Personally my favourite supermarket is Morrisons, a good selection of counters inc. a large selection of hot food, pasties Etc. Most of them having cafés is nice when you want a decent meal for a good price.
    Tesco would be my second choice.

    As for Sainsburys/Waitrose, I find their food no better than Tesco but sold for inflated prices that I can't justify spending.

    As for Aldi/Lidl, the QC can be a bit off sometimes but the middle isle is generally a way to get good products for a good price, even less common things like a large box of croc-clips! Soon we will be getting our own Lidl so that will end up being my local supermarket, and as such my view may change.
     
  20. trentside

    trentside Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    We use our local Sainsbury’s most weeks, but the staff are awful. We’ve started using the SmartShop scanners so we can mostly avoid the horrible checkout staff. The online deliveries from the same store are also very hit and miss - their substitutes are often ridiculous and much lower quantity than we ordered.

    I’d go elsewhere (I like Morrisons, personally) but my wife likes Sainsbury’s range and we use their own brand nappies a lot at the moment.
     
  21. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    I think Morrisons vary widely according to location: the further south you go, the lousier they are. I got reasonably excited when Morrisons took over Safeways, as my parents-in-law in Preston were always enthusing about aspects of the store, but those aspects never came south and, frankly, I think my local one is just waiting to close down if they can find someone who would like to buy the site (there is reason to think this could happen.)
     
  22. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I’m not sure about that; there are some very good ones in London. You’re probably accurate in that the smaller ex-Safeway shops are less good though. I often find with Morrisons that how good it is depends on the time of day you go!

    I’d agree with others that Morrisons is the best of the big four/five though. Price wise it seems the most comparable with the discounters; I like the layout and format of the shop and they also seem to be doing the most to promote plastic free alternatives (although they’re still terrible like all supermarkets are). Not bad going given this was the shop that pioneered the shrink wrapped banana on a polystyrene tray! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 20 Jun 2019
  23. underbank

    underbank Member

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    I agree about their cafes - better range and pricing than the likes of Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury. We actively seek out Morrisons cafes when driving long distances instead of motorway service stations - there are lots pretty close to the motorways if you search them out.

    As for the "fresh" counters, ours is pretty dire. The "in store" bakery produces all kinds of delicacies such as stale bread, sultana/cherry scones without fruit, soggy under-baked hot cross buns. We just don't bother with it anymore as got fed up taking stuff back for refunds. As for their hot pie/chicken counter, the disinterested staff will wait to finish their gossiping before coming to serve you and even then, most of the counter displays are usually empty and it's a lottery of what they've got to sell you. Many times, they've no hot chickens and the rotisserie behind the staff is spinning empty. We go in varying times of the day and it's always the same, mid morning, noon, mid afternoon, the counters are never actually well stocked with the full range. The only good fresh counter was the butchery one, but they've just got rid of it and now you can only buy the packaged meats as they are (with the butcher there, you could take him a packaged joint and he'd cut it down to whatever size you wanted) - now it's take it or leave it - we usually leave it!
     
  24. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    A few things to bear in mind:

    - The big 4 stock a far larger range of items than the discounters
    - Often have longer opening hours
    - Offer an online home delivery service
    - In the case of Sainsbury’s and Tesco operate a chain of convenience stores
    - Operate a large number of petroleum stations
    - Are also large scale retailers of general merchandise and clothing
     
  25. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    I don't think I've ever managed to buy a whole shopping list from the pallet shops, even when there's nothing unusual on my list. It seems like they just don't stock certain lines or don't seem to care if certain lines run out for a few days.

    If I've got to go to another shop anyway, I'll probably pay the extra and get it all there so I don't have to plod around a second shop and deal with the longer checkout queues in the pallet shops or the stupidity of putting everything back in the trolley quickly because there's no space just to move it 6 foot to an old-fashioned packing shelf. I guess they're set up for people who drive and don't care if they're repacking as they put it in the boot, not for people who walk to the train.
     
  26. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    That annoys me too. Why the hell do they get called "discounters" when they're not discounted more than others? They're pallet shops, with pallets on the shop floor. Just a modern update on the old bucket shops that used to sell loose goods from barrels, bins and buckets on the shop floor. Call a spade a spade and a pallet a pallet.
     
  27. 175mph

    175mph Member

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    And many of their stores offer cafés too.
     
  28. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    All bananas still in plastic bags in my local. Yesterday I was so annoyed by their tomatoes that I counted the display: half a case of loose tomatoes, 17 and a half of plastic. And there's never any chance of any loose potatoes other than baking or Jersey royals. Morrisons are the cheapest of the big four but their much-vaunted "Market Street" is a deluded nightmarish homage to single-use plastic waste! Oh for a late night greengrocery!
     
  29. Rob F

    Rob F Member

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    Used to do our shopping at Morrison's but about 4 years ago decided to give Aldi a try and we are still using them. We have yet to find a product (with one exception) that Aldi sell that we do not like as much as the one we bought before. We still use Morrisons for the stuff we can't get in Aldi.

    My wife informs me that what we save on the weekly shop for us and our two teenage sons pays for a week in the Canary Islands every year, which can't be bad. Also, Aldi are excellent at opening extra checkouts when they are busy, the staff in Morrison's seem glacial by comparison and the queues in our local store often grow to ridiculous lengths just through shortage of staff.
     
  30. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    That's to punish you for not juggling your shopping over to the packing shelf on the wall/window behind. I only know this because I grew up with shops laid out like that, rather than the British/American style of long trays and staff waiting while you pack before you pay - I don't think I've ever seen anything in the pallet shops to tell you to do this.
     

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