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Photo-a-day 160: Kingston Park Tesco

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This is our local Tesco in Kingston Park. With 119,000 square feet of retail space, it was once Britain’s biggest hypermarket. Unusually for a modern hypermarket, the retail space is almost exclusively on one level, with only the cafe being upstairs (above non-retail space, rather than as a fashionable and rent-reducing mezzanine). It has a number of concessions inside, including a Johnson’s dry cleaners, a Card Factory, a Co-op Travel Agent, and several more besides.

It is really a bit too big, the size rather getting in the way of a pleasant shopping experience. Staff used to zoom around on roller skates, though I haven’t seen them doing that for a little while. That said, I relatively rarely venture in these days. I can’t remember the last time Wendy and I did a big shop there. It’s big, busy, tatty, dirty, unfriendly, and altogether quite unpleasant.

In 2010, Tesco opened a store at Walkden in Salford thats about 50% bigger. I’ve no idea how they fill the space, and I struggle to imagine how the extended pain of pushing a trolley 50% further is met with commensurate benefits… I don’t plan to go and find out!

This 1,679th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , .

Photo-a-day 124: Tesco, alcohol and service

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I’ve spent some time today reading Balance’s stuff about responsible marketing of alcohol… then was forced to walk through my local Tesco’s makeshift aisle of discounted alcohol in order to get into the store. Hint: this doesn’t tally with Balance’s idea of best practice.

I don’t often venture into Tesco, but I had some bedding to return today, so popped along. The customer service was truly awful.

The customer before me didn’t speak great English, and had a coupon that had been refused at the checkout. The *two* customer service assistants adopted the Basil Fawlty method of communication, almost shouting at the lady that the terms and conditions on the voucher excluded e-topups. The customer’s protestations were met with increasingly loud insistence, until one of the assistants had the inspired idea of actually reading the terms and conditions. The customer had been right: e-topups were not excluded.

As the customer left, the assistants started a frankly racist conversation about the preceding customer, before one beckoned me over with a wave. I asked to return the bedding, and the assistant continued her conversation, directing only three words at me: “receipt”, “clubcard”, and “card”. They were quite literally the only three words she said to me throughout the encounter. She didn’t greet me, she didn’t ask why I was returning the bedding, she didn’t say goodbye, and she certainly didn’t thank me; her rudely continued conversation with her colleague did provide a live demonstration of parochial bigoted opinions that was deeply disrespectful to the previous customer.

Tesco’s problems, it seems, run deep.

This 1,632nd post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , , , , .

My Life-changing Experiment (aka ‘The Joy of Sox’)

Three years ago, everyone’s favourite Guardian columnist Tim Dowling wrote a G2 article listing low-cost ways to transform your human existence, in Even £50 can change your life.

His lowest budget suggestion was buying socks:

£50 [is] enough to be able to throw out your entire sock collection and buy a new set from Tesco. No more holes or mismatched pairs. Just fresh, clean socks every morning from now on.

Doesn’t that sound appealing?

Around the same time, another of my Guardian favourites, Anna Pickard, was blogging about the frustrations of socks, and perhaps because of the sheer volume of sock-orietated content that permeated my brain around then, the idea of having a whole new collection of socks has been lodged firmly in my mind ever since.

Now, back to 2010. Having recently accepted a dream job in Public Health, and having just about finished my job in General Practice, I was in the mood to treat myself this weekend. But this being credit-crunch Britain, and the job I’ve just finished being un-banded, the celebration was hardly going to be grandiose.

But – given Tim’s advice – why not make it life-changing nonetheless?

So off all my socks went to Oxfam (well, nearly all of them, I kept my favourite ones). And, clutching Clubcard vouchers, Partnership Card vouchers, and a Debenhams voucher from Kantar, off I went to the shops, and procured myself three fine sets of shiny new life-changing socks for nothing.

This does mean that I’ve swapped a whole drawer of socks for just about fourteen pairs, but it cost me nothing, and who needs more than two weeks’ worth of socks anyway?

I can officially declare that it is entirely liberating to have a whole collection of comfortable, hole-free, well matched pairs of brand new socks. That initial sense of mild disappointment and frustration each morning that “all my nice socks are in the wash” has been eliminated.

And my feet have never felt happier.

A Happy Foot

A Happy Foot - It's not mine, it's just illustrative. Courtesy of evelynishere (used under licence).

By-the-by, it turns out, that the Guardian‘s position on this has changed. Michael ‘Smugface’ White doesn’t do new socks. Instead

I still wear my own children’s discarded socks and, if they were a particularly good black pair, occasionally even darn them.

Just think of his poor feet.

Is this really, as he claims, an environmental micro-choice which remains with him from his time spent growing up in the aftermath of the Second World War? Or is it just a pitiable sign of a being a tight, grumpy old bastard? It’s hard to say for sure, but I know which explanation I favour.

Knowing what’s under his highly polished shoes, will we ever be able to take his pompous self-righteous TV political commentary seriously again? Here’s hoping no-one will.

This 1,415th post was filed under: Headliner, , , , , , , , , .

Tesco special offer: FAIL

23p... or 4 for £1

As seen in my local Tesco Metro yesterday.

This 1,394th post was filed under: Headliner, .

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