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Morrisons is my closest major supermarket and, consequently, is my main port of call for my weekly (often daily if I'm particularly disorganised) grocery shopping. I do go through stages of loving and hating Morrisons and it probably wouldn't be my preferred option if I had equal access to all of the major players in the supermarket arena. Having said that, Morrisons does have a lot to offer mainly, in fact, its offers which are always plentiful.
I don't make a habit of researching the history of supermarkets but even I know that Morrisons was primarily a store based in the North of the country until the takeover of the Safeway chain back in 2004. My local Morrisons is actually a former Safeway store and I don't think it has ever quite lived up to the purpose-built original Morrisons supermarkets. As an undergraduate student, many years ago, I used to frequent a large Morrisons in the Merrion Centre in Leeds and our local converted Safeway store isn't a patch on that one. Attempts have been made to incorporate Morrison's trademark 'Market Street' but it basically resembles any supermarket aisle with a grocery section and fish/fresh meat counter.
Range of products
Unlike most of the other main supermarkets, Morrisons has continued to focus on its core grocery range and hasn't yet ventured into clothing or household appliances and so on. I personally find this an advantage as I'm constantly in and out of the store and hate the layout of the massive Tesco Extra superstores, for example, where I have to wander through seemingly endless aisles of clothing and appliances before I can find my way to the cooked meats! Morrisons generally has a limited selection of homeware items, a few DVDs and a uninspiring seasonal range but the main focus is undoubtedly groceries.
One of the main advantages of living so close to a Morrisons is the ability to take advantage of their endless offers and deals. The store is the King of the BOGOF and these are actually on regular everyday products, not just luxury high-end products. It has also exploited the recession with its 'Credit Crunch' deals, including going even better than BOGOF with Buy One Get Two Free (although BOGTF doesn't have quite the same ring to it!) Although advertising of rival supermarkets makes a point of showing that Morrisons is not the cheapest for an average shop, I think a canny shopper can take advantage of the offers available and stock up, planning meals around them. One of my favourite offers is their promotions on baby products which tend to occur at least every couple of months. This generally includes pretty generous offers on Pampers baby wipes and nappies, provided you're prepared to stock up and buy in bulk!
Morrisons have a good selection of branded products available although I must admit their own brand products are surprisingly good quality. I don't tend to use the basic 'Bettabuy' range particularly but this does not seem as extensive as other supermarket's value brands. I do have a taste for the finer things in life, although unfortunately not usually the budget, and Morrisons 'The Best' selection is of a consistently high standard and does seem to be the best out of its rival premium ranges. My personal favourites from this range are the 'Tear and Share Garlic Bread' and the 'Toffee Cake', both of which are absolutely lovely and surprisingly reasonably priced for a premium range.
In my local store there is a unusually high proportion of older male cashiers and these seem to be particularly helpful and enthusiastic members of staff, far surpassing the service offered by the usual bored students on the tills. My only bugbear is the supermarket's attitude towards vouchers and coupons. Whereas rivals such as Tesco and Asda will accept pretty much any old coupon, even if you haven't actually bought the item in question, the staff at Morrisons view any coupon with immense suspicion. From the obvious look of distaste on the face of some of the cashiers' faces, you would think I was trying to pay with a sheet of used toilet paper rather than a harmless 10p off my Hovis! Even worse is when I try to use the Luncheon Vouchers which I earn from online market surveys. Even though it clearly states on the back of the vouchers that they are accepted in Morrisons (and I have used them there many times) I always get told that they are not valid and end up holding up the queue while the cashier 'checks' with a supervisor. I never get a hint of an apology either!
Likewise, I often find that offers indicated on the shelf edges aren't recognised by the tills. When I try to get this corrected at Customer Services, I'm treated with suspicion as though I'm set on trying to rip off the store by claiming money that I'm not entitled to. Again, once the staff return to refund me having discovered that, yes, the wipes/burgers/ bread rolls should indeed have been on BOGOF, I never get an apology and I'm left feeling as though the money has been begrudgingly recovered from some staff slush fund or something! If the tills and/or offers were kept updated I wouldn't need to be standing there asking for a refund. Believe me, I have better things to do with my time!Aside from these minor niggles, I do feel that Morrisons deserves its place amongst the major players in the supermarket world. I certainly won't be telling them to BOGOF just yet (unless they turn their nose up at my coupons yet again!)