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Somerfields - somerthing disgusting

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08.01.2008

Advantages:
convenient (umm .  .  . thats about all)

Disadvantages:
where do I start ! ?

Recommendable No:

Detailed rating:

Price

Value for money

Layout & presentation

Selection & range

Quality

Waiting / queues

City / Branch address Undisclosed

Frequency of visitSeveral times a week

AvailabilityGoods are never in stock

In store customer servicePoor

After-sales serviceVery poor

Staff knowledgePoor

Freshness of goodsPoor

22 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (6%):
  1. mcleism01
  2. JAVER1967
very helpful by (94%):
  1. EVIT
  2. demonbarak
  3. Spottydog11
and 26 other members

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The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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I felt compelled to write this review after visiting Tesco and being truly amazed by the service, the staff and generally excellent layout. The only problem is that I live next door to Somerfield's and the nearest Tesco is a 30 minute drive away. I have little choice in where I can shop and this is often a problem when I require ingredients for recipes.

The thing that really got to me the other day was the fact that when suffering with an awful cold I couldn't buy anything due to the delivery being cancelled. I continued to look around the store because I thought some fruit would be nice to eat, particularly lemons and honey…but as I had predicted no lemons or honey. The apples were bruised and there were no bananas.

I have just been down today because my other half is now feeling under the weather and cannot take Lemsips (the only cold remedy currently on sale at Somerfield). I needed to get a few herbs, spices and vegetables for dinner tonight. We had decided to do a recipe from a book received for Christmas. The thing is half of the staff at Somerfield have never heard of most of the herbs and were very unhelpful with my problem.

STORE LAYOUT
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OK so my view maybe very different to someone else's as I used to work at Somerfield's. Over a year ago however they started laying staff off due to financial problems and many of the nice, helpful staff left. I hated working in the store and hate shopping there for the simple but true fact that the manager is a total pig.

The store is in my opinion very well laid out and seems quite consistent. The fruit and vegetable isle is positioned in the entrance as you enter the store. Around the perimeter of the store you will usually find refrigerated goods, delicatessen, meat counter, bakery and freezers. The other isles are parallel to each other with a checkout at the end of each isle (on the side of the entrance/exit). Really the store is well structured and works quite well. My mum is so used to the basic structure that she can write her list to take this into account. They do change the parallel isles around by the freezers, fridges, meat/bakery/deli counters never move. I believe that from working here the structure is created and passed down from Bristol to store managers and shelf stackers.

STAFF
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Well considering I left Somerfield's due to a bullying incident with some of the staff and a totally ineffective manager I am not going to say they are courteous, my issues aside however some members of staff will go out of their way to help and others will not.

I can draw on a few examples of staff and management in this store and considering they make every new employee sit through several hours of videos on 'how to be a good employee' they certainly do not follow this through.

The missing debit card
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My dad popped down one evening to get lottery tickets and some snack for work the next day. He didn't have enough cash and paid on his card and asked for cash back. He placed the card into the chip and pin reader and completed the transaction. The girl on the checkout took the card out placed it onto the scanner and counted out the cashback. Obviously my dad checked the cashback to see it was there and the assistant gave him the receipts but left the card on the scanner.

My dad in a rush popped the receipts into his wallet assuming the card was in them. Four days later he went to buy some lunch at work and realised his card was missing, luckily he knew straight away that he had last used it and had it in Somerfield's. My mum popped down and asked for it. "Sorry madam, we have not recorded it in the book which means we don't have it". Another assistant then said "I will check the safe just in case". But it was not there. All they could do was cancel the card and wait for a new one to arrive. My dad however was certain it was in the store and went down and asked for them to check again. The girl who served him was serving someone else but my dad managed to speak to the supervisor. She looked in the book and said "It not written in here so we have not got it" but then the girl finished serving and said she put it in the safe the night it was left behind and went straight to the safe and it was there in full view. My dad was very cross as if it had been there that day they would not have cancelled the card. By law apparently (according to my dad's bank) the card should have been cut up after 72 hours if not claimed. Without wanting to make an accusation but it's strange that the card arrived that day.

The mouldy chicken
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I went to return some foul smelling chicken but the supervisor (used to give me hell when working there) said "we don't sell chicken in that condition, it can't be from here". The total immaturity in her voice astounded me. In the end I managed to get it changed but with a lot of attitude.

On the other hand however…
Some members of staff are very polite and helpful. Some will happily pack bags others will be more than happy to show you where something is when you cannot find it…or even better look out the back if the shelf is empty (not that they can find it but the thought is there).

Like I said previously a lot of this could be due to my past with them but as a customer they really should grow up, the only thing I really did wrong whilst there was get a union involved over severe bullying and harassment towards me.

PRODUCTS AND STOCK LEVELS
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The only thing that makes me angry at Somerfield's is their inability to order properly. When I worked there a lot of waste was thrown out and rats would circulate the bins outside. As a customer I can now see why there is so much waste. They tend to always have unpopular items on sale and reduced but the more popular items especially the seasonal goods or items advertised in their leaflets. In recent months I have tried recipes from their own magazine and been unable to buy any of the products in store.

Considering their 'healthy eating' posters they never have fruit or vegetables of an edible quality. I am very disappointed with the stock levels and to think they are already stocking isles of Easter Eggs I despair that we will ever be able to get useful products like ground ginger, rice, bread and milk.

It's not only the availability of products but the low quality on offer. When I worked there was shocked that I was asked to put old bread out past the sell-by but put a new label on it. It's hardly surprising that meat from my local store often tastes stale. Their meat is also very tough and chewy with a lot of sinewy bits. The meat is in fairness disgusting and I wouldn't feed it to a dog. There was a programme on a few months ago called 'Whistleblower' and featured Tesco and Sainsbury's I was not surprised by anything I saw on there as my local store is as bad. If you did not see the programme this website may be of use http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6676345.stm in cases like this I feel that McDonalds get a bad press but supermarkets who are on a par also deserve a similar press. I remember an assistant from the deli bringing raw meat into the bakery as It had gone off and they wanted to cook it up as testers rather than it go as 'wastage'. I then had an argument with my line manager as I believed the bakery work surface should have been thoroughly disinfected but due to time constraints was told to leave it. OK so this probably happens in every supermarket but it comes as a simple warning to check all meat before it is cooked/eaten.

IN GENERAL
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Somerfield's are not the lowest priced supermarket and in fairness if they were not on our doorstep we would avoid them. The CD's are often priced at the top of the scale (£9.99 for old CD's and £17.99 for new DVD's) The store car park is owned by the council and 30 minutes will cost 50p so compared to stores such as Morrison's, Sainsbury's, Tesco or ASDA parking will cost a lot if you are a regular shopper at the store.

SUMMARY
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I do not find shopping in Somerfield's an enjoyable experience, I do it because I have to. I have just started taking driving lessons and cannot wait for the day I can drive to Tesco and get my weekly shop. I will end my review of saying that this is based on my local store and 4 other stores near by and not all stores will be as awful as this one but I cannot see them being much better.

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Comments about this review »

mcleism01 11.07.2008 19:12

I shop at Somerfield and your review writes perfectly about what it is like (thumbs up)

Spottydog11 18.04.2008 13:48

Never shopped here as it never appealed, now I know why, thanks x

JAVER1967 02.04.2008 13:12

Excellent review. The only time I visit Somerfield is when I need petrol as they seem to have their stores attached to Texaco Petrol stations.

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Review Ratings »

This review of Somerfield (Shop) has been rated:

"exceptional" by (6%):

  1. mcleism01
  2. JAVER1967

"very helpful" by (94%):

  1. EVIT
  2. demonbarak
  3. Spottydog11

and 26 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.



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