Food shopping for putrid peppers as a metaphor for my workplace

I dislike food shopping, we have no good local shops anywhere near us so we are stuck with supermarkets. This means that it takes ages, there is at least one item that is impossible to find, the queues are always horrible, it tends to get horribly expensive very quickly and it is far too easy to pop in many things you don’ t really need.

So in theory online food shopping should be perfect for me. I can look for the items I want and avoid the frivolous things. This sounded ideal and I wanted a piece of this!

I considered my priorities for getting started and decided on the following: a supermarket who had an straightforward website, delivered reliably in the chosen timeslot and reasonable delivery charges.

shopping trolley canal

(Photo from The Guardian)

It didn’t cross my mind that there would be more basic criteria that wouldn’t automatically come as standard from all supermarkets – like the shop rarely delivering rotting food and not cramming a week’s worth of shopping into two fast-ripping bags…

Supermarket A were £3 to £4 delivery, ok website, clear & easy to read receipt and the packing was ok – but the bags struggled to hold anything heavier than 2 pints of milk or pointier than a blunt cucumber. The packing was iffy, basic items were often out of stock and their substitutions were ridiculous (citrus bleach is not a valid sub for orange juice). Their delivery drivers were a whingey lot.

Supermarket B were cheap in terms of delivery cost, the packing was ok, the website was iffy, but the vegetable quality was so bad that I only tried them once!

rotten pepper

(Photo from oisat)

Supermarket C came with an eye-watering £6.99 delivery charge if you didn’t spend £100! The packing was ok, the receipt was a standard till receipt complete with meaningless abbreviations. They weren’t anything special so I didn’t bother more than twice.

Due to lack of options as much as anything else, my business went to Supermarket A. It went ok for a while then they started only delivering half the shopping and one eventful evening they lost an entire van after the 2nd delivery out of 22nd – this would have been funny except my shopping wasn’t delivered and it took two weeks of ringing them to complain before they processed the refund!

I hadn’t considered using Supermarket D as I always thought they were part of Supermarket E and just the prospect of doing weekly shopping at E makes me feel very very poor.

It turns out that D are entirely separate from E but they do delivery Waitrose products – if you are feeling rich! D also price match certain products with A, so in theory with some careful shopping you could do a shop with them and not spend any more!

The reality is I see interesting looking things and want to try them, so I am spending more but the veg is fresher – mostly… there was the putrid peppers incident the other week that ruined an entire bag of shopping, but it was easy to request a refund online so I didn’t bear much of a grudge.

baileys choclat luxe

The major thing that is making me stick with D is they sometimes give me free things – some of them randomly in the shopping (very rarely!) and some using a voucher code published on their website. Recently I got a little bottle of chocolate Baileys, which was a funky – although I haven’t actually tried it yet!

So despite the preconceptions of what I thought I wanted from online shopping it turns out that what I really want is as follows (in order):

  • A clear receipt
  • Minimal rotting vegetables
  • On-time deliveries – or advance notice if they are going to be late!
  • The opportunity to get free stuff
  • Easy to use website
  • Reasonable delivery cost

I am wondering if I need to perform a similar preconception blasting exercise on my job, just to check that I am not settling for the workplace equivalent of putrid peppers…

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