I have just come back from the Co-op, where I picked up a pack of "line caught, wild Salmon". (Wild? It was incandescent) The use by date was 26th September and it was stinking and rotten. I mention this, because it is not the first time I have had to throw rotting stuff away from this particular branch. Bear in mind that it is several miles away and the idea of taking it back to complain is just too much hassle. Clearly they have a handling problem in the supply chain. (It was a lot worse during the summer, which leads me to surmise that somebody at the store is leaving fresh meat on a pallet for too long.)
So, in a spirit of retribution, I give you Weasel's Guide to Supermarkets, a highly scientific expose. I shall do it as a top list of the supermarkets I have visited in the last year.
1. Marks and Spencer. ***** Simply the best. Their wine is one or two pounds more than the others, but boy, is it worth it. You can get everything delivered very cheaply, which is very useful to rural types like me.The food is always fresh, and the shelves are always stacked. There is plenty of space to move around and staff are ready to help. I particularly like things like their speciality fish cakes, which make me a good lunch if I am on my own. Strangely, they don't seem to do free-range chicken, so really, I am going to deduct half a star just for that. UPDATE: Yes, they do do free-range chicken. Got some today.
2. Sainsbury's. ***** Within a gnat's whisker of being up there with M&S because they have such an incredible range, but their wine is not up to M&S standards. To do fresh food on that scale you have to be organised, and that is what they are. I get free-range, filleted chicken thighs, which are great for curries. They have an enticing delicatessen for both fresh and preserved goods. I have never been disappointed.
3.Asda/Walmart. *** A lot better than you might think. The wine is average, but no worse than any other supermarket fare. The meat is fresh and they are very good value for basics. Asda is let down by occasional empty shelves and poor personal hygeine among staff. Plus, the customers are a bit yucky and every time I go someone coughs in my face. Asda is usually so busy and so stinky and so full of screaming weans, that you want to fall down in a heap and have a good cry.
4.The Co-op. ** And they get one of those stars for being ethical. The check-out staff are friendly though. That's the other star. You can get some interesting wines. As for fresh food, forget it. You may as well eat at The Fat Duck and do norovirus in style.
5. Lidl. * you can get some great bargains, but you can also buy a lot of crap.
6.Tesco. no stars. It's big. I hate Tescos. The vegetables are limper than a porn-star's dick after 16 takes (and less appetizing). I nearly destroyed a self-service check-out module through utter rage and contempt because the dumb bitch inside the machine kept telling me I had an unrecognised item in the bagging area. I gave up being a regular shopper there because they always ran out of basics, and didn't give a shit about it. After the third or fourth time of not being able to get very ordinary things, I left the half-empty trolley and walked out.
I have not been in a Waitrose in a decade, but it was always full of braying, bejewelled slappers with hard faces, who elbowed you in the groin for the last star fruit, before careering out of the car park in an SUV.
The only rider going with all this is that I live in Scotland, where they do not do good food, nor do they understand it, or the concept of good service. The only place where I eat out is entirely French-owned and run, and the only place that sells decent bread is German.