Now Londonist, who has a very good friend who is a shopkeeper, would love to run a ‘how are the mighty fallen’ story around this tale of Sainsburys’ shortcomings and the evils of the food giants. But we thought we’d try something new today….
Not that we are planning to endorse the supermarket ethos in any form, shape or size. Nor are we going to attempt to defend the big orange one. Selling out of date food is occasionally pardonable – if it is reduced and labelled as such, or if it is one item of something non-toxic tucked away on the top shelf: but selling out of date meat or pate is really really naughty, and deserves at the very least a smack round the corporate face with a wet (out of date, albeit sustainably sourced) kipper. And the fact that the manager of one of the two London branches where these ‘violations’ occurred offered the slightly nauseous punter who returned her 11-days-out-of-date turkey (‘What’s the matter Madame? Don’t you know there are twelve days to Christmas’, roars Basil Fawlty in the background) a poultry £20.00 to cover her, er, medical expenses shows something lacking in the customer services department. Anyway, as we said, we’re not going to turn this into a Sainsburys bashing exercise. And they have been heavily fined for their trespasses.
The point that we would like to make is that food is a great leveller, and for all of Heston Blumenthal’s alchemical mutterings, there is no great magic to buying and selling the stuff. The big boys might have glossy packaging, computerised everything, and an affable Essex superstar as front man, but they are still just shops, just as vulnerable, and they still rely on often dozy, frequently unwilling, and usually unsmiling staff to carry out their dictums.
Incidents like this just go to show that you are really better off shopping at the corner shop. Mr. Corner Shopkeeper is fallible too, but it is his shop, and therefore stocked and polished with pride. And if you can’t buy as much over-salted ready-rubbish, and have to visit two or three shops instead of one – well, tough: we are all getting complacent and lazy.
Um, end of rant.
Piccie courtesy of dominic’s pics’ flickr photo stream.