Wednesday, January 18, 2006

21 November
Sommerfield Loving
You have to love Sommerfield Supermarkets, not because there's some kind of law enforcing your love for them, just because they ignore any innovations/standards of competitors and tread their own directionless path through the murky retail jungle.
Whilst the uninspired Tesco and her friends will try and place goods in some kind of logical order, allowing shoppers to get a picture in their mind of where the next object on their list might be, Sommerfield are much more artistic, randomly spreading goods into every nook and cranny with aisles that seem to have categories like "Yellow things" and "Stuff that's boring". For example, one day you may come across a jar of mustard. If you are a mustard fan, buy as many jars as will fit in your basket, because you'll probably never bump into them again unless you form some special mustard locating task-force. In fact fire a flare in the air to tell your fellow shoppers that mustard has been found and that you were the dude that found it.
On my last visit, I picked up my out of shape basket and noticed they had started placing corporate slogans on the insides. This one enthused the simplicity of Sommerfields shopping experience with the slogan, "Shop, Pay, Go!' Exactly what kind of revolution in shopping this is I am unsure? I suppose Sommerfield must see this as a simplification of their old system, and thus they must have rid themself of some bizarre fourth stage of supermarket shopping. Previously you may have had to 'Shop, Pay, Shake it like a Poloroid Picture and Go', Although alternatively it could be that the contempt they have for their customers means they have no confidence in their ability to complete the shopping process with out these instructions. Sommerfield may have mistakenly believed that thieves were just nice normal people, unaware of the second stage of supermarket shopping.
Then there's the till staff. It's unfair to say they are all bad, but you have at least a 50% chance of being served by someone who: A) Doesn't really like people. B) Will never truly get to grips with the whole bar code scanning process and must rotate each item 5 times to find it. Then after finding it and finding the bar-code reader, that wont, for some reason read this bar-code, they will give it a further forty attempts, before realising it's not going to happen. They'll let out a big painful sigh and give you a look as if to say 'I can't believe you've wasted my time and everybody else's in the queue, by not visually checking the bar code before you brought it to my altar! Go shop in Tesco you novice.'
I sound old and grumpy. I still love Sommerfield...

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