Advantages Every Little Tescoette Helps Paul´s Tormented Soul
Disadvantages Lack of in-store giraffes!
|Value for money|
|Layout & presentation|
|Selection & range|
|In store customer service|
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN November 2000I have been shopping at Tesco for the last couple of years. I usually buy groceries, as the frozen foods on offer though tasty seem to be on the expensive side. Prices are competitive compared to its rivals Sainsbury's and Safeway although this is a matter of swings and roundabouts.
There is adequate parking space but obtaining a parking ticket for free parking upto 2 hours can be a pain.A few years ago Tesco was a food only store. How times have changed. As you enter the store on offer is a selection of newspapers, magazines, plants, mobile phones, atlases etc. The range of food available would satisfy most shoppers.
There are no signs for where various items are situated so this may be a problem for new shoppers. Most of the bread is freshly baked. The fruit range is amazing eg sharon fruit from Israel, papayas from Brazil.There is a nice Chinese + Indian takeaway section where you simply choose the items required and they are packed in little foil cases. This is ideal for people returning home from work who cannot be bothered to prepare a meal that evening.
There is a section where you can purchase barbecued chicken. I usually purchase chicken quarters which cost £1.09 per portion. The taste is fantastic.There is a selection of meals known as Tesco's Finest. This is food which caters for the upper class. Items include beef wellington, King prawns and tiramisu. Prices are more expensive than the other products. But the Finest range seems to sell well. The range is luring those customers used to buying high quality food at Marks & Spencer.
I do have a couple of complaints about Tesco's products. Every time I have purchased Tesco liquid soap the squeezing mechanism stops working. This means that I have to manually pour the soap onto my hands. I also tried to make a trifle consisting of sponge fingers, custard and jelly.
After eating the trifle both my wife and I had blotches on our skin.
Stationery, CDs, CD-ROMs, cards, toys, kitchenware + household stuff like cushions are available on another floor.There is a cafeteria selling sandwiches, coffee etc. Part of the cafeteria resembles an Internet café but surfing charges are a rip-off.
Tesco was the first supermarket to introduce its loyalty card Clubcard. This scheme gives back £1 back to you in vouchers for every £100 you spend.Tesco has also moved into financial services offering products such as motor, life + travel insurance, deposit accounts, credit card etc. At times TVs, videos + PCs have been put on sale.
Clearly the diversification from food is due to the threat of Wal-Mart, the giant American discount store, who has already snapped up Asda. Clearly this means a wider range and cheaper prices of goods for the customers in the future.
The only other shops nearby were some Indian owned stores where prices went through the roof eg a loaf of bread cost 78p.
Most of the time I have lived in London I have shopped in Iceland. This entailed 2 bus trips. Carrying about 5 or 6 bags of shopping onto a bus is not a pleasant pastime.
So it was with some relief when our local Tesco opened about 3 years ago. I could even do my shopping via walking. Nowadays I am lazy and use the car.There is ample car parking space. It is best to avoid the ground floor car park as cars are constantly coming and going. I prefer to use the first floor car park.
The rush in the store on Saturdays and Sundays is amazing. It is quieter to shop on weekdays.There are toilets located on the same level as the first floor car park. There is also a photo booth for those flattering passport pictures.
There are stairs and lifts to take you to the first floor.
In the past few years Tesco has started selling more non-food products. The first floor is full of these items.As you enter there is a vast assortment of greeting cards. But the prices are more expensive than Clinton Cards, Birthdays, WH Smith etc.
You then see the stationery section. Everything needed for school is available here eg pads, pens, rulers, calculators, geometry sets, files etc.Nearby is the software section. Here several CD-ROMs are sold eg games, education and leisure software. The prices are reasonable.
Nearby is the music CDs section. Prices are slightly cheaper than HMV, Virgin etc. Nearby are two huge CD players where you can listen before buying.Paperback books are also displayed.
The next section deals with home furnishings. You can buy candles, light bulbs, lampshades etc. Prices here are slightly higher than average.The final section is the kitchenware display. All sorts of useful items are available eg mugs, cutlery, can openers, plates, egg slicers etc. You can also buy Brita water filter jugs and cartridges here.
Every type of food is available here. The best thing is that prices are cheaper than rival supermarkets like Sainsbury's and Safeway.
The range of food sold is fantastic eg fresh fish, fresh meat, convenience meals, pizzas, cakes, eggs, sandwiches, doughnuts, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, sauces, cereals, soups, Indian cuisine, Chinese cuisine, pet food, toilet rolls, household cleaners, barbecue sets, baby stuff, dental stuff, batteries, camera films, shower gels, vitamins, canned food, bin liners, biscuits, chocolates, nuts, crisps, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and frozen food.I am sure that I have missed out a few sections but you get the general drift.
Other specialist sections include:
Plenty of tobacco is sold here. You can also purchase stamps here. I use this counter to add any Tesco ClubCard points from an old receipt if I have previously left my ClubCard at home.
All types of magazines and newspapers are sold here. No wonder local newsagents cannot compete with supermarkets.
There is a nice assortment of flowers and plants on sale. But the fresh flowers do not last long. Prices of plants are lower in Homebase though.
There is a salad bar next to the delicatessen. All sorts of fillings are available. There are 3 salad box sizes available.The delicatessen sells ready made Indian and Chinese meals complete with brown paper take away bags. A few minutes in the microwave are all you need to reheat these meals.
We often get some barbecued chicken quarters for our lunch after shopping. Cumberland sausages, whole chickens, potato wedges are also available. One tip is to leave this section until last so that the food is as warm as possible.
The smell of freshly baked bread draws you towards this section. The French baguettes are especially good value.
Everything from Pampers nappies to baby food is available. There are 3 kids clubs available for children in 3 different age groups. These baby/kid clubs seem a good idea.
Everything you require for the bathroom is sold here. There is no need to go to Boots to stock up on supplies. Prices are also cheaper than at Boots.
You can have a snack at the cafeteria for a nice meal after shopping. Many sandwiches and baguettes are available. There is also tea, coffee and soft drinks. You even get ClubCard points on food purchases here.
These terminals are constantly in use. But the prices charged are much higher than standard ISP prices. But having Internet terminals is an innovative idea.
We used to get all our frozen food from Iceland. But now we find everything we need from the frozen food section of Tesco. As a result our monthly food bill has fallen by £80.
Tesco's finance division has expanded in recent years. There are leaflets littered all over the store selling car insurance, travel insurance, loans, credit cards etc. Pet insurance leaflets are conveniently placed in the pet food section.Currently I am a Tesco travel insurance customer.
Most of the till operators are friendly and chatty. We have made friends with a couple of them.
Recently Tesco advertised that prices were reduced on over 30,000 items. But it was later found that the prices of these goods were hiked up a few weeks earlier. So no real price reduction took place. It helps in the long term if Tesco is honest with its customers.
Being a regular weekly shopper to Tesco I thought it was worthwhile buying Tesco shares. I purchased some shares at 191p. The price today is 244p.But the dividends are paltry given the size of profits generated. But as a rule the dividends from supermarkets are lower than average.
I think it is a good idea to regularly use companies in which you hold shares. Psychologically it is a great feeling.
We have been shopping at Tesco for over the past 5 years and it is more than just a shopping experience. The range and quality of products is excellent. Innovative ideas are being introduced regularly. I have even made a few acquaintances amongst the staff, which is difficult for a loner like me. My father prefers Morrisons to Tesco but each to their own.
Since returning to Ciao I have only updated existing ops. I have probably exhausted my knowledge in all the Ciao ops. I do not have that much extra knowledge to put into new ops. I might look around the Ciao Café if there are any interesting opinions to write about.
UPDATED January 2005
Over the decades the weekly grocery shop has not changed much. In the mid 1960s I used to enjoy being pushed in a shopping trolley by my father on the basement floor of Hammonds every Saturday. Fine Fare had a similar ambience. Clifford Dunn in Albion Street even sold plimsolls, which were useful for my PE lessons. Jackson's was also great to shop in. Dee Shop on Calvert Lane was just as good before it burnt down. The Scouse equivalent would be Leo's. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
EATING FOR HULL
Apart from ambience, supermarkets also have food in common with restaurants. I usually judge a meal by the waitresses rather than taste/price! A couple of years ago the 4 of us got into the car for lunch at a restaurant only for my father to conveniently forget his chequebook. He returned to the flat and stole a tube of breadcrumbs from the kitchen cupboard. My parents were hosting a party for doctors a few days later, which they kept secret. If they had asked me for the breadcrumbs I would have gladly given them free of charge. It would have been nice if we had been invited. I don't think that black sheep was served up on that particular menu. The poor die of starving whilst the rich die of overeating.The best way to lose weight is by the Tesco Healthy Living range. The range has expanded over the past year. The taste has improved and the price has become affordable. I have been a member of the Tesco Healthy Living Club for over a year now. A booklet is sent every 3 months with money-off vouchers. The booklet contains common sense tips for healthy eating, exercise, weight loss etc. After joining the club I have lost about 7 stone. I read somewhere that the thinner you are the more of a babe magnet you become. Only time will tell!
At the end of an arduous 5-6 hour drive to Hull from London I usually fill up at the petrol station on Kingston Road. Over the last couple of years a mini Tesco has opened alongside the petrol pumps. I cannot remember if this was a Metro or Express Store. I usually buy some supplies to see us through for the next few days at Bates Motel. But the bill was far less than an equivalent London store. There is a north-south divide from Watford upwards. I wrongly assumed that the prices in all Tesco stores would be uniform. These mini-stores are a great idea but no ClubCard points were awarded for the petrol purchase. I am also very impressed with the Marks & Spencer Simply Food mini-stores. But the M&S loyalty points reward scheme needs improving.
TESCO MINI CONVENIENCE STORES
Usually my parents' doctor friends come and go throughout the day. Some do not even bother phoning. But when we arrive you can hardly hear a pin drop. It was as if everyone was forewarned to avoid us. So on one occasion we just turned up without any notice. I told my predicament to the pretty blonde at Kingston Road petrol station. I then phoned my parents using my mobile standing next to the pump. Luckily the assistant warned me off the call. I was too exhausted from the long drive to remember the explosion risk. Fortunately another Flixborough was avoided.
I do like shopping at the Tesco store in Orchard Park, Hull. The ambience is lovely. The prices again are much cheaper than in London for the same food items. More food with high fat was on display in the Hull store. Presumably this came about after some market research.I have an interesting memory of a visit made in 1987. My father parked in a disabled car park spot, which really annoyed me. Other drivers do ditto at Homebase stores. There ought to be a chip embedded in a post in front of the parking space, which identifies bona fide orange badges. The shopping bill came to around GBP 80. I only bought a single item. After returning to the car my father went back to the store to replace my item for a cheaper version. I was incredulous. But I too have the penny-wise pound-foolish gene.
A few months later we were again shopping at the same store. This time my cousin popped up behind me giving me an almighty fright. Growing up together in Hull he was jealous of my swottiness and snobbery. I in turn was envious of his mixed-sex schooling and his knowledge of the female of the species. He could programme a VCR and was not interested in aliens. Whatever happened to the likely lads? I looked forward to buying a hat a la Cilla for his younger sister's marriage. But my parents did not tell me about her engagement etc. When will the GMC learn from the experience of Drs Crippen, Shipman, Kevorkian etc.? FRCOG, my metatarsal.
My parents behave like a small fish in a big pond when shopping at the Tesco store in London. On one occasion I drove the 3 of us to the store. But my parents elected to walk back despite there being enough room on the back seat. I managed to put my wife in the flat in the nick of time before unloading the groceries. My father distracted me whilst my mother raced upstairs to feed her kleptomania. She nearly jumped out of skin when my wife answered the door. Bacofoiled again!The weekly shop to Tesco has nowadays become the highlight of my dull life. My obsessive compulsion disorder makes me spend more than I ought to. I have lunch at the dishy Café Refresh restaurant on the 1st floor. The shopping bill is always lower on a full stomach. I love using the new self-till. My confidence has been boosted as a result. I heard on the radio that the technology exists for the bill to be calculated just by pushing the trolley across a scanner. Tesco food is always washed down with Tesco toilet paper. I also purchase magazines, local paper, photo processing and some toiletries from here. ClubCard points are given with every purchase. Soon enough loyalty points will have been accumulated to hire my very own pop group.
Thanks for reading.Paul xxx
UPDATED July 2005
I joined the mental health charity SANE a few weeks ago. I was impressed with their courtesy and manners. I was even more surprised when I saw a leaflet on Depression sponsored by Tesco. This is what corporate social responsibility is all about.The website is www.sane.org.uk.
I must be the only person in the UK who believes that supermarkets are pseudo-psychiatric hospitals. I also feel the same about retail outlets such as Harrods, Boots and M&S etc.
I feel that the Tesco staff perform the same function as psychiatric nurses. Refer to my schizophrenia op. I love Paris. Even the fish are inseine. Every little insanity helps.
My life is so turgid that the weekly shopping trip to Tesco is the highlight of my week. I reckon that period is the new headache. Every little Always helps.When I was young my father used to call me 'dog' just to upset me. I should have pointed out his lily bitch of a sister. As a dysfunctional family we all love hot dogs. My father likes his Cumberland sausage. My mother surprisingly has a liking for a chipolata. I am content with my mini hot-dog Frankfurter. My wife Soma likes a little relish on the side. Every little nanometer helps.
Sometimes on shopping trips my father refused to let me buy what I wanted. He used to reply 'goo kha' which is Bengali for 'eat s**t'. Our family suffers from verbal diarrhoea and should have patented the Kandoo toilet wipes. Every little father helps.My wife hardly helps me with packing the shopping bags. Back home she would be considered sacred. Even Trinity finds that amusing.
I wish Mr Geldof had asked Ann Breen to perform at Live 8. I for one would not have minded checking out her vocal chords. What do you call a Bengali with a sesame seed on a knob of mayonnaise? A quarter-pounder!Sheila and I used to watch the A-Team at University. She fancied Murdoch. Then I considered myself to be an amalgam of Hannibal, Face and BA Baracus. Nowadays I am the nearest thing to Murdoch. Every little Sheila helps.
Which song title(s) loosely connects Status Quo, Shaggy and Neil Diamond?I am now off to find a blue-eyed blonde, pretty, perfect figure, intelligent, busty, nice tongue and a sense of humour who even laughs at my jokes.
Every little Caroline helps.Thanks for reading.
Ciao for now.Paul xxx
UPDATED February 2006
Tesco has gone from strength to strength over the past year. Even the overseas operations have gone well. I believe that Tesco will make its first foray into America soon.Tesco is unusual in that it stocks products which its customers want. The strategy is high-risk but has delivered the goods so far. Every little ebitda helps!
Tesco recently opened its first non-food store in Slough. Tesco Xtra only sells mobile phones. This is an interesting diversification in growth. I am sure that customers will purchase Tesco mobile phones simply because of the Tesco brand name. I certainly have. Every little red book helps!
In my locality I see locals in the supermarket and in nearby areas as well. I just want to describe a few quirky characters who light up my life.
There is this old blind man with a stick who follows me around. He is often seen on Fulham Island and in front of the bakery section at the local Tesco. Every little cluedo helps!I keep seeing this 80+ lady who regularly stalks me. I also see her at the cosmetics counter in Boots, High Street Kensington. In Tesco she often pushes a trolley containing a new born baby. Every little Ena Sharples helps!
Another fanatic is a gorgeous blonde who always wears expensive raincoats. She always seems to be talking into her mobile. I first saw her in the books section on the 3rd floor of Harrods. She next popped up in the Ealing Broadway Centre. Judging by the contents of her Tesco trolley, she probably is a psychiatrist. Every little Dr Quinn helps!
The Tescoettes always fascinate me. They come in all shapes, ages and nationalities.There is one blonde Tescoette who keeps banging into my shopping basket. Another one parks her trolley in front of me.
On one occasion a model and her mother were using the self-till after me. We got chatting and soon I was putty in her hands. Every little Page 3 helps!I bet that Tesco head office becomes a hotbed of hormones every time Caroline enters the building. Every little testosterone helps!
One of the best services are the staff who help shoppers with the packing. Last June a pretty blonde with perfect fingernails and legs called L packed my bags. Ricky Valance sure knows where to get inspiration from. Every little helper helps!
Tesco has increased the amount of organic products sold over the years. I recently bought some organic jam by Duchy Originals at GBP 2.39. It was the best jam that I ever tasted.Duchy Originals is owned by Prince Charles. I hope the Diana inquest is not a whitewash like the Hutton inquiry.
I just want to relate an incident from last May. One Sunday morning I just came out of the local Tesco Express store. As I was heading home, a car sped towards me easily breaking the speed limit. The car then changed lanes and nearly ran me over. I only had a split second to identify the driver. He looked like a big cheese from Kensington Palace. Out of all the ways to scare me why did he choose the running over mode to scare me? Who alerted him to my presence outside the Tesco store?Every little Davina Sheffield helps!
A local Tesco Express opened in our locality last February. It has the facilities of an excellent convenience store. I am sure that it has taken away many customers from other convenience stores in the area. Everything is available: fresh fruit and veg, desserts, sandwiches, main meals, cakes, magazines, flowers, frozen food, toiletries etc. I must add a kind word to all the Bangladeshi staff who are all top-notch.
Due to the small size of the store, it can get very crowded at peak hours and on Sundays. My only criticism is that certain items are more expensive than the larger Tesco store a few minutes away e.g. grapefruit costs 42p as opposed to 38p. I have already written to customer services about this.When the store opened, I introduced myself as the most famous nutter in the area. So one of the staff called V acted as the local psycho to scare me. But she was not as scary as F who works opposite. Back in October 2003 I came face-to-face with my alcoholic psychotic nemesis in the main Tesco store.
I last saw him in an opticians store in King Street, Hammersmith. Prior to that he was on the same floor as me in the Priory. His job was to scare me which he certainly did. Now when I think of him, my thoughts immediately turn to Tesco rather than the Priory. This has eased my mind.Every litttle expresso helps!
The Nutricentre is now the UK's leading alternative health store. When Tesco acquired the Nutricentre I was not sure if it made business sense. Having regularly used it over the past few years, I can say that it was a sound investment. Almost every alternative health product is stocked in the store. The Nutricentre is located in the larger Tesco store.
The store layout is very good. There is a seating area to read a whole range of literature on the subject. A touch-type computer screen provides information on every ailment.I regularly purchase Weleda shaving lotion and cream. These are more expensive than conventional shaving products but the results are very good.
I also regularly purchase Green People hair products such as shampoo, conditioner and styling gel. As these are alcohol-free my hair has improved over time. Again the price is expensive but the results are worth the extra expense.The variety of products in-store is huge. The products sold include food, medicines, toiletries, tonics, books, muscle building powder, loofahs etc. Tesco Clubcard points are obtained with every purchase.
The staff are well-informed and friendly. I have often spent 30 minutes chatting to them about my symptoms. Compare this to the paltry ten minutes afforded with a GP.One staff member suggested giving up onion to ease my symptoms. Coincidentally a soothsayer at the Kamdebpur temple in West Bengal suggested the same thing. I did give up onions for some time and detected some improvement. But I feel that this was due to the placebo effect. I like onions too much to abstain from them.
In for a penny - Slade.
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