Okay, Tesco: I Forgive You

4 Mar
This is an image of the Tesco store at Kingsto...

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I have a habit of boycotting supermarkets that annoy me.  Morrisons irritated me once too often by not having goods in stock that were advertised as on offer – again.  We started shopping at Asda.  Asda gave us an undeserved parking fine: we didn’t shop there for three years, and never went back as regulars.  That was a dearly bought £20 on their part. 

I shopped online with Tesco for a while but, as I paid by credit card, I found I was spending the grocery cash on frivolous items like electricity bills (rising because I was shopping online; have you ever done a supermarket shop online? It takes three times as long as getting in the car, driving to the next town, shopping for a year, stopping for lunch, spending the night in a hotel because you had too much to drink at lunch, and driving home again next day.  Really not worth the effort), and so I went back to schlepping it in Hub’s taxi.

Tesco Online missed me after a while, even though I visited the local store, and they sent me a £10 off voucher to persuade me to shop with them again.  I thought it was worth the effort so I spent two hours finding £50’s worth of groceries, went to pay, only to be told, ‘This voucher is not valid because you are not a first-time user.’  I don’t swear often.  Tesco has been a dirty word in our house ever since.

However, I am a forgiving girl, and I accepted their recent apology: £10 off a £30 spend, times four weeks.  I may have principles but they can be bought for the price of a full freezer.  Our food budget is small but laying out £20 in actual cash is manageable.  The Hub went alone last week, and got just over £30 in food for a payment of just over £20.  He went alone because I am not allowed to go food shopping: I have a habit of filling the trolley, going over budget, and arguing with him over what is essential (Spud’s French Fancies) and what is frivolous (Hub’s Sensodyne toothpaste).

Yesterday he wasn’t having a good day so I was allowed along for the loading and unloading of groceries, with the occasional side order of whining (But we need olive oil and French Fancies).  The Hub stopped to rest in the fruit and veg section and noticed some stuff being marked down.  He put a few items in the trolley.  He stopped to rest again in the meat section and started chatting to staff member Martin (when he isn’t laying down the supermarket law, the Hub is a sociable guy).  How happy he was to have needed a rest: Martin told him that – and this is such a great tip, I’m going to highlight it in bold –  in Tesco, if you find an item on the shelf that has to be sold that day, you can ask a member of staff for a reduction.  It was like truffles to a pig: the Hub had his nose in every meat shelf and came away with a few items marked down by Martin…by 65%.

In fact, because we arrived around five-thirty on a Saturday, a lot of stuff was already marked down.  We saved – wait for it – including our £10 voucher, BOGOFs and mark downs; but excluding items reduced in price for promotion – I can hardly believe it – £152.80.  I may have wet myself in excitement.

We didn’t spend anywhere near that, though it was a little over £20.  We spent almost £50 on items [see photo] we wouldn’t normally buy, mostly because we can’t afford them.  There was a 3kg piece of silverside: we haven’t bought silverside in sixteen years, never mind three whole kilograms of it.  There was prepared fruit.  We love fruit but buy the cheapest range and prepare it ourselves.  There were luxury doughnuts.  Need I say more? 

I now have enough meat in my freezer to last for months so, even though we went over budget, we saved future grocery money.  I might use a little to buy the Hub some toothpaste.

Thanks Martin: you made a Tesco shopper out of me.  For now.

39 Responses to “Okay, Tesco: I Forgive You”

  1. vivinfrance March 4, 2012 at 13:03 #

    Wotalotugot. The thing I hate about supermarket shopping is putting the darned stuff away.


    • Tilly Bud March 4, 2012 at 13:04 #

      Me too, usually; but the cupboard has been rather bare lately, so it was fun.


  2. jmgoyder March 4, 2012 at 13:51 #



  3. jennysserendipity March 4, 2012 at 13:57 #



  4. colonialist March 4, 2012 at 13:59 #

    I find it is far more fun to visit supermarkets or superstores in the UK than here. My Scot genes emerge singing happily, and I ferret out all the genuinely good 2-for-price-of-1 deals, the genuine specials, and the items which are genuinely cheaper than at other places. Of course, I also fill in at pound shops and car boots until my Och Aye goes away.
    Morrisons, Tescos and Asdas saw a lot of me during our last visit.
    I would have had a total cadenza about that 20 pounds that wasn’t!


    • Tilly Bud March 6, 2012 at 12:09 #

      When we came back on holiday after seven years in SA, we were amazed to find free packets of Club biscuits in PG Tips tea.

      The Brits know how to do good offers 🙂


  5. SchmidleysScribbling March 4, 2012 at 14:04 #

    Somehow, even though we live a world apart on opposite sides of the pond, the big corporate grocery store chains have managed to establish residence.

    Our local Chain, ‘Super Giant’, is owned by a British company, the second British Corporation to the chain in a few years. If I can think of the name, I’ll write it down, but right now my brain has fuzzed over. They have a store on Oxford Street in London I think. No, it isn’t any of the stores you name above, and it isn’t Marks and Sparks.

    Anyway, we too are coupon clippers and shop with a list so as to not overspend. David does the shopping because I am weak, as in I buy stupid stuff we don’t really need.

    I tried the shopping online for a year and gave it up when the new Giant opened up the street. We are now saving big bucks and I have finally used up all the fancy mustard I had accumulated.

    Sill having difficulty remembering the name of the British firm. Dianne


    • Tilly Bud March 6, 2012 at 12:15 #

      Hope you remember.

      Walmart own Asda here. Can’t imagine those group hugs first thing in the morning go down well with phlegmatic Brits 🙂


  6. mairedubhtx March 4, 2012 at 14:08 #

    Being a single, I avoid grocery stores whenever possible. I despise them. I plan to brave one today to get some supplies with which to make fudge because I can get in and out through the 10 items or less line (unless some idiot with 20 items decides to use it). I usually pick up the few groceries I use at the drug store (amazingly, they have a wide selection of groceries I want and need). Grocery stores freak me out. They are large, cavernous bastions of vicious hordes of people ramming their shopping carts into you and being rude and then you are forced to stand in line forever to pay an outrageous amount of money for food that (for me) will probably only spoil because there’s only me and I shouldn’t buy so much.


  7. McGuffyAnn March 4, 2012 at 14:13 #

    You & The Hub did a great job! What a team! And I’m glad you were able to reward yourselves with some fun stuff too!


  8. Tinman March 4, 2012 at 14:44 #

    You never think about the fact that if you shop online someone has to actually do the shopping. I girl I know who’s worked in our Tesco for over 20 years said that when online shopping started out first she used to be sent around the shop with a trolley. She said people would order nappies, or dog food, and since she had no dog and a 16 year-old son she had no idea where any of these things were, and used to have to ask other staff for directions, which they all found terribly funny.


    • Tilly Bud March 6, 2012 at 12:17 #

      Do they not train these people properly? When I worked for Woolworths SA, we had to work in every department at some point.


  9. Tinman March 4, 2012 at 14:46 #

    I didn’t mean you personally there, I should have started “one never thinks..” but I thought I’d sound like a twit.


  10. kateshrewsday March 4, 2012 at 16:22 #

    I love supermarket happy endings. I share in your joy. Have you encountered Aldi?


    • Tilly Bud March 6, 2012 at 12:22 #

      Just up the road. I’m not mad about it, but it’s good for bread and French Fancies.


  11. Elaine March 4, 2012 at 17:15 #

    What a great result (and tip for looking for dates on packaging)!

    That photo of French Fancies is very tempting – I may have to put some on my list for my next shopping trip.


  12. judithatwood March 4, 2012 at 17:26 #

    Any port in a storm, my dear, and any strategy that works when it comes to feeding your family. Well, almost any. These stores use strategies in their advertising and in the stores which they hope will appeal to healthy people, or unhealthy people, or vain people, or poor people, or anyone else who sees their adverts. And, while the two of you did so well!!!, many, if not most people will pick up at least one item each trip which has been marked-up by over 200%. Thanks for striking a blow for freedom!


    • Tilly Bud March 6, 2012 at 12:23 #

      Yes, the prepared fruit was £2 a packet! Even buying the items individually wouldn’t have cost that much.

      We paid 30p 🙂


  13. Gobetween March 4, 2012 at 21:12 #

    You get nothing for free here 😦
    Staff glare at you and the specials are not to be trusted either.


  14. Pseu March 4, 2012 at 21:26 #

    Was Martin on work experience? 🙂


    • Tilly Bud March 6, 2012 at 12:24 #

      Incredibly, not 🙂 An all round great guy who will, I am sure, go far.


  15. laurieanichols March 4, 2012 at 22:30 #

    That was fantastic, there are women here who make it into the morning shows. Who go food shopping armed with their coupons and can get 300. dollars worth of food for say twenty dollars. I admire their discipline and you and the hub do likewise. Hats off to you.


    • Tilly Bud March 6, 2012 at 12:26 #

      I think that coupons are a big deal in the States. Not as much here, sadly. I think it’s so sweet the way they pronounce it ‘kewpons’ 🙂


  16. gigihawaii March 5, 2012 at 00:51 #

    David does all of the shopping — Costco, Sack n Save, Kmart, and Target. He’s a more savvy shopper than I am.


  17. Kate Kresse March 5, 2012 at 10:05 #

    so glad you were able to get such a great amount of things at such a bargain, Tilly


  18. lanceleuven March 5, 2012 at 10:45 #

    Very funny! I particularly liked the line ‘I may have principles but they can be bought for the price of a full freezer’. It reminds me of the Groucho Marks joke ‘Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.’

    And well done on the super shop!


  19. Grannymar March 5, 2012 at 18:28 #

    Nothing as satisfying as coming home with a trolley load of bargains. Enjoy the feasting.


  20. ElizOF March 6, 2012 at 10:49 #

    Good for you. I love savings on groceries int he supermarket… Some food items are just ridiculous in price. 😉


  21. earlybird March 7, 2012 at 09:33 #

    Brilliant. I’m SO impressed!

    You could perhaps soon consider applying for Scots nationality?


  22. Perfecting Motherhood March 8, 2012 at 07:20 #

    We have Tesco here in parts of the US (they’re called Fresh & Easy). The best coupon I can ever find is $5 off $30 so you got a great deal!



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