Giving up Tesco for July #2

Thursday, August 02, 2012

My last July challenge post left you at day 14, half way through my month without shopping in Tesco. The first two weeks where a steep learning curve, I found new shops, discovered local produce stalls and found myself slowing down at every roadside sign to see if it pointed to a farm shop or advertised a market. With more local knowledge under my belt the second half of the month was easier.

However, there is something very comforting about a place you know well, a place you can rely on to have what you need at almost anytime of the day or night and, I'm not going to lie, this is why a panic for horseradish sauce sent me running back to Tesco. The thing that I have found the most disconcerting is not knowing if I will find what I need. This is okay if I'm just cooking an average meal for OH and I, I either make a substitution or go without but, if I want something specific for a recipe when cooking for friends, I like to know that I have everything I need. Again, this just comes down to local knowledge. As I get to know the shops I've discovered, and find more, I'll get to know where to go for what.

I've enjoyed the challenge, I like gathering fruit and veg from my local market and popping to the butchers for meat. My local farm shop has a surprising amount of useful 'stuff', especially given it's size (about that of an average garage). And I've noticed that I'm cooking differently. I've noticed a turn towards a more traditional meat and two veg type dinners. I've made pastry for pies and we're eating more eggs and less pre-prepared foods. Yesterday you would have found me Googling 'how to make pizza bases'. It's easier to find ingredients rather than ready-made food now.

The comments on my first post seemed to be in two camps - those that already do shop locally where ever possible and those that would love to but don't have the time. It has to be said that shopping in this way takes more time and planning. The opening hours of local shops tend to be very limited. I have now dedicated my Saturday mornings to visiting certain food shops simply because my work hours don't allow me to get to them during the week. I wonder how receptive local shop owners would be to opening and closing an hour later a few days a week? It would certainly make my life easier.

As for the financial aspect of it, whilst things tend to be more expensive I find that I am only buying what I need, I'm not lured by BOGOFs and other special offers and as I now have to plan a menu I'm not wandering around the aisles putting random items into my trolley. Hell, I'm not even using a trolley anymore, it's all baskets and potatoes are heavy - great for toning the arms. Anyway, my point is I'm not spending as much as I did because I am only buying what I need.

Something I hadn't thought about was the service. I'm not saying that the service was always bad in Tesco, sometimes the service was charming - but then I was using the self service checkouts more often than not *grins*. During the last month every single person that has served me has said hello, thank you and goodbye, along with some banter or polite chit chat. I haven't had to wait for anyone to show their colleague a picture of their grandchildren before giving me my change, no one has been bored witless, mute or rude. What I have discovered is genuine customer service.

And now here comes the confession - I will be returning to Tesco. By some fluke or stroke of luck I have not needed to buy any cleaning or laundry products, but I have wondered where I would buy things such as these, if not from Tesco?

So this is what I have decided to do - I will shop at supermarkets for the things that I can't easily buy elsewhere. Never again will I go to Tesco for greeting cards, books, fruit, meat, a new kettle, paint (!), pants or clothes.

I think that sounds like a plan. What do you think?


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  1. Well done on sticking to it for so long. I must admit we do buy bits from Tesco that we can't buy from Aldi but other than that we done't shop locally. A bit like you said time is a big factor as well as high prices. That said local stores do have more of a community feel to them which is a lovely thing.

    X x

    1. I've found buying groceries in this way a little more relaxing too, I'm really beginning to dislike the supermarket crowds (I'm turning into a grumpy old woman!)

  2. good for you! isn't it amazing the things you learn by not shopping somewhere for a month...mainly that it is actually doable!

    1. Thank you. I think I'm beginning to find a good balance now.

  3. It sounds like you have struck a great balance there. As I may have said on your other posts, I get my Tesco shop delivered. It really cuts down extra buying and forces me to plan ahead. I would be lost without our local butchers now.

  4. I think I'll order online for the bits that I'll buy from Tesco, that way I don't even have to go in store. My menu planning needs to be honed a little but I'm getting there :)

  5. You plan is the way I do it! I go to the local famers market every Saturday and the other days I go to the one and only local coop. For things I can't find in those two places I rely on a "normal" grocery store. It's a little bit more difficult, but I feel better about myself, the environment, and the world. Cheers to you!!!

    1. Thanks Bre. It does have a nice feeling about it, I find it calmer too x


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