GRAHAM TURNER: A weekend of very different retail experiences

A personal view
A personal view

Shopping in Bury’s independent stores is, of course, a delight, but there are times when you have to look further afield, which we did at the weekend, resulting in two very different retail experiences.

Tesco has been having a bit of a hard time recently and, after a visit to one of its stores last Friday, I can understand why.

Swathes of empty shelves seem to indicate a supply chain problem, or perhaps a lack of staff to restock, but either way, it’s something the company needs to look at.

Yes, it was a busy time, but surely Tesco has been in the business long enough to predict these.

We stopped doing our weekly shop at Sainsbury’s for a while a few years ago when they started having similar problems. It took a little time, but they sorted it out, so perhaps Tesco should go cap in hand for a bit of advice.

It’s now a given that you have to look closely at Tesco’s buy one for £1 or two for £2.20-style offers, but we discovered a new phenomenon Friday – a special end-of-aisle display for an offer stripped bare, but plenty of stock of the same item in its usual place, not, however, marked down to the offer price. So, which price did we pay at the till? I’ll leave you guessing.

In sharp contrast, Sunday took us cross-country to Milton Keynes and to IKEA.

What a different experience.

Again, a huge operation. Again a very busy time, but even with a disabled teenager in tow, the blood pressure stayed normal throughout.

Thanks partly to its online operation – ahead of the trip we were able to create a shopping list which told us how much we would be paying, where to find what we wanted, how big the packages would be and whether the items were in stock – we actually enjoyed our visit. Independent store service from a huge multi-national company.

-- It was disappointing that the Care Quality Commission found failings at the newly opened Mildenhall Lodge care home, but it’s good to know such a close watch is being kept on this service.

The bottom line is that Care UK wants to make a profit and Suffolk County Council wants to cut costs, so it’s important that someone looks out for the users in the middle.