Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Supermarket speed dating

I was reading this Guardian article on customer profiles of supermarket shoppers, and it got me thinking about my own habits.

I used to be a die hard Sainsburys girl. But now, being in the city centre without a car means I'm limited to what's in town - otherwise it's a creaky bus ride to the Sainsburys in Fallowfield or Asda in Hulme.

We don't have Waitrose in the North, and Morrisons are in posh small towns outside the city. I don't thing Lidl exists up here either. But anyhow, in the city centre you have a choice of Marks & Spencer (one flagship store, one smaller in Piccadilly Gardens); Tesco Metro (Market Street); Somerfield (Piccadilly Gardens) or Sainsburys Metro (one in Piccadilly Station, one on Oxford Road and one on Deansgate - but only the one in the station is close to our flat.) Oh, and there's also the food halls in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

So - it's Tesco for the main shopping, but I try to shop before work or at weekends, because it's chaos after 5 pm. Somerfield for bits and pieces - it's actually rather nice and has a good bakery section as well as self-check out, and it's usually pretty quiet too.

And then there's treats. M&S for when I'm in a traditional mood - it is definitely the kind of place you would go shopping with your mum. And it's true, the chickens do make the best roast dinners. Selfridges for American food (overpriced, but sometimes necessary for the soul!) posh cakes for dinner parties when I don't feel up to baking, or the very occasional splurge on Laurent Perrier champagne. There's something very seductive about walking back with your goodies in the yellow Selfridges carrier... I most often find myself going there after say, a nice trip to the hair salon or on days where I just need a bit of a boost. But for some reason, I never ever shop at the food hall at Harvey Nicks. There's something too snooty about it.

On the other side of the scale, I also top up on cleaning basics from the various pound stores in town. So unlike the people in the article, I don't feel overly loyal to any one store. Am I a consumer research nightmare?

I've thought about shopping online at Sainsburys and coughing up the £5 for delivery - but to be honest, when you have a miniscule fridge, limited cupboard space and no freezer, it doesn't make sense. One day...

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