8 things that annoy me about supermarkets

So it seems that shoppers are abandoning Tesco in their droves.  Which makes me a little sad, as I still remember the feeling of awe when I first visited their first Superstore in Essex in the 1980s.  With a demanding job, life was busy, and the idea of being able to buy everything in the one place was very seductive.

For me it still is.  The prices are still pretty good, and my local Tesco superstore has almost everything, including a pharmacy, which we seem to need regularly.  I still shop there every week.  But I go to other places too.  And they all drive me demented me in different ways.

Here are my top 8 in no particular order, because I can't decide which ones annoy me the most...

1. The Music

Perhaps it's my age, but I really don't want a bland diet of muzak that messes with my brain while I try and compare prices and find things.  Oh wait, that's two more reasons.

In fairness Tesco is not the worst.  There's another local supermarket where the music is so loud that I just run in, grab the sausages (pay for them) and leave.

2. Special Deals

That sometimes aren't special at all.  You really need your wits about you, as sometimes special offers are definitely not what they seem.  Why do they do this?  It's tiring and annoying when you can't trust what's in front of you.

3. Cards, discounts, vouchers and other annoying bits of plastic and paper

My purse seems to be permanently full.  But not with money.  It's all those ridiculous plastic cards (has nobody told these companies about apps?) and bits of paper with money off this and points for that.  As a result, shopping takes longer, as you don't want to miss out on a saving, and then there's the delay at the checkout while you fumble around trying to find the right cards and tear off all the itty bitty bits of paper.  Really, I would love it if supermarkets would get rid of all of them: cheaper prices would be just fine.  They could cancel their stupid loyalty data collecting schemes at the same time.

In fact, my perfect supermarket would not take any cards at all.  Just cash.

4. Clothes for the family

My local superstore often has a good range of family clothes.  It's very easy to grab a new top and throw it in the trolley. Or a pack of socks, or jeans, or PJs or whatever needs replacing, especially as most are easy care and can be thrown in the tumble drier too.

But recently I have noticed a desperate effort to include more high fashion stuff: the other week I found a cuddly top with a hood, exactly what I was looking for, except.... when I pulled it off the hanger its crowning glory was a pair of bunny ears.  Perfect for the teenager who would never buy her clothes in a supermarket, not so good for the middle aged shopper.

5. Layout and Trollies

Hands up who has got home and discovered squashed bananas and broken eggs?  I don't know who designs supermarket layouts, but they really don't work for the benefit of the shopper.  Many of the heaviest items seem to be at the back of the store.  So to avoid damaging everything else you have to  keep repacking.  One solution would be to have an aisle of heavy basics near the door, e.g. sacks of potatoes.  Or why not have some trollies with moveable sections?

In the days when my family mostly ate meat and two veg, the meat always seemed to be at the back of the store, and I would have to head there first - looking for special offers - before heading back to the start again!

6. Bag packers

Yes I know, I've been a bag packer, and I probably will again. But I still hate bag packing and I hate having my bags packed.  I just feel ambushed at the checkout, so I nearly always use the self-service checkouts now.  Which means I have to use a small trolley (large ones are not allowed) or basket, so obviously I'm going to buy less stuff.

7.  Food quality

I do try to cook meals from scratch these days, as I don't really like the taste of processed food any more.  But sometimes I do need to take short cuts, which usually results in a trip to Lidl, because their ready made stuff always seems to be better quality for the price.

8. Moving things around

It doesn't make me spend more.  I don't cruise the aisles desperately hunting for the latest place that they've hidden the only pasta that my children will eat and think "Oh how lovely I'll just buy this nice tin of cheap sauce as well."  No, I just give up and go home in frustration.  Or somewhere else.

I presume it's not just me?


  1. I go to Costa a lot and they've got a loyalty card scheme which also has an app -- you can either give them the card to swipe or you can use the phone to present a QR code to its special scanner and that'll credit the card (or perhaps use your points to buy the coffee or cake). The thing is that the scanner doesn't always work and it takes longer to get out the phone and then open up the app to show the QR code than it does to just get the loyalty card out.

    As for "no cards, only cash", paying by card is hugely convenient especially for big shops. It also means the shop has to take and bank less cash, and that means less potential for robbery. It's quicker and there is no potential for errors in giving change (or not, and having to call a supervisor to open the till or wait for the next customer). I always use the self-service checkouts myself -- I don't want people asking why I'm buying certain products, thanks very much. They've got better over the last few years; the number of "unexpected item in the bagging area" errors has dropped considerably.

    I've also seen some supermarkets shrink their food lines and replace them with clothes, and often the clothes are fairly generic stuff that you used to get in BHS (which may explain why the latter is up for sale). I was quite annoyed that my local Sainsbury's stopped stocking some of the products I used to buy all the time (mainly Indian side dishes). Their food is generally of high quality; the clothes aren't.

    1. That's interesting about the apps being slower in some cases - perhaps it's a case of technology needing to catch up?

      I have an issue about the push to get rid of cash, because I think that if the banks have all our money, they will be able to charge us more and more to use it.

      Agree on the "unexpected item in bagging area" issue :)

      Here I think that clothes have usually appeared in new stores purpose built to include non food items.

    2. I have to say I agree with you too and like Joanna I have taken to getting it delivered. It definitely saves on buying things not on your list! My "usual buys" or "last order" tends to be what I buy every week so it's fairly straightforward and fast. My pet peeve would be the so-called special offers which imply they're the best offer for that product but aren't. People who don't take the time (or haven't got the time) to do the maths miss out :( I agree with you about the paper bits. I think they should tie in the vouchers with the loyalty card- then there'd be no need to remember what's off when. I hate the moving things around too but thankfully that doesn't happen on-line :)

    3. I wonder is it harder to compare the deals on-line as you have to presumably scroll through the difference pages to check: quicker to do a visual check on the shelves, though still irritating.

  2. Yes to everything. For about a year now I've used Tesco's online service so I get my shopping delivered every week and I love it. Their delivery saver saves me petrol money too. I especially don't miss the bag packers and lugging heavy or bulky items. It's not just you!

    1. I think if you're living in a rural area, the delivery service would be really good value - it's less so in the city. Glad you're in my corner on this one :)

    2. Yes i agree: im in a rural area so even if I have to pay for a delivery the cost of petrol means it costs less than driving out to a supermarket and back! And if you can shop from your phone (or a tablet) its brilliant - you can literally stand at the fridge checking off what you have in there while you pick your shopping. Much easier for special offers too as you have time to sit back and think "do I really need this?"

    3. It sounds as though I need to check out the on-line shopping again, I never found it that easy -- and I'd actually never thought to try it using my phone!

  3. I agree on all the bits of papers, coupons and so on, the loyalty card should do all the work. I usually shop in LIDL for the big grocery shopping. No music, the essentials, they have food that I used to buy in France as well, and the quality is good. I went to Tesco yesterday, and discovered they increased the price of my favourite wine again ( from 3.99 to 5.19 euros!), they are sneaky like that ;-) I hate shopping (even for myself), it's more a chore than a pleasure...

    1. He he, I didn't know Tesco sold ANY wine for €3.99! I must look harder :)

  4. Nope, not just you! Although, as you well know, I do like the 80's music in my local supermarket ;-) !!
    I swear you'd need a calculator to work out what the best deals are.... and to notice an item going up in price before it goes down! xx

    1. Yep, I saw a price "reduction" in a supermarket the other day on a product I buy all the time, and I've NEVER seen it being sold at the higher price!

  5. lol i cannot keep up with the amount of changes in my local shops!
    I find myself getting fed up of them but they are still cheaper than the more individual stores so i dont have a choice!

    1. Change is exhausting, especially when you're in a hurry :)