Sore shins and tears for Sainsbury's pains


SAINSBURY has been receiving more than its fair share of brickbats in the past few weeks. So here is another one.

The company probably thought it was doing us a favour when it introduced mini-trolleys for mini-people. The idea was that children would feel thoroughly fulfilled as they pushed their boxes of Frosties around, and would burst with goodwill towards both their parents and Mr Sainsbury.

Reporting from the front line, a superstore in Dulwich, I can reveal that the mini-trolleys have brought nothing but tears, sore legs, and more tears. The sore legs belong, of course, to adults foolish enough to stand in the way of flying trolleys propelled by five-year-olds. The French call them chariots, which our youth reckon is about right.

The tears and tears belong to other children who, having been promised a trolley of their own, find the fleet has already been collared by rival youngsters who are even now assaulting lower limbs in frozen desserts. I am told that parents are having to arrive ever earlier in order to nab a trolley and avoid hysterics for the rest of the day. Please, nice Mr Sainsbury, do us a favour by not trying to do us this particular favour.

I DETECT subtle collusion between wicked multinationals in Vauxhall's advertising campaign for its appallingly named Vectra. The billboards use the catchline "Designed for the next millennium" and have a picture of a car driving past a futuristic city. Now this is where the subsidy comes in. The city is quite clearly built on an oil rig. And who would like cities built on oil rigs so they don't have to tow them away and be lambasted by environmentalists? Oil companies, of course. Is there a tie-up between two of the biggest companies in the world - General Motors and Shell? I think we should be told.

Bitch of a son

IT IS all very well analysing companies by looking at their earnings per share, technology and so on - but the most important element is of course the quality of management.

How do you find out whether management is any good - except by doing frivolous and time-consuming things like talking to the workforce or analysts? Easy. Listen to the radio.

One reason I am not crazy about GEC is that I heard Lord Weinstock, its chairman, on Desert Island Discs. He sounded like a dry old stick, but worst of all he chose eight bits of music all conducted by the same man. Since then, I have regarded GEC with suspicion.

But on Thursday I had to modify my view when I heard the Hon Sara Morrison, one of Weinstock's closest colleagues, on the Today programme. She brings her dog with her to work, she said, and it is called Jeremy.

Best of all, Jeremy is a bitch. Mrs Bunhill has a bitch called Grumble, which most people think is a bloke's name (if anything). But Jeremy? That's wild. Buy GEC.

WHAT is going on at the new Hackney dog track in deepest east London? Two colleagues, one a photographer, visited it on Wednesday evening in the pursuance of an honest crust (see page five for the elegant result). The snapper raised his camera to take a picture of the climax of the 8.45, when an official put his hand in front of the lens.

What was going on? We will never know, but I can report that the race was declared void. I can also tell you that one of the dogs was called Let's All Panic, which could be the explanation.

Facing consumers

I SUPPOSE it is obvious, but it had never occurred to me before that market researchers regard the human race in much the same way as David Attenborough views marsupials. I received a folder from a company called Vox Pops. The tag line was "Bringing Consumers to Life" (have you ever met a dead consumer?).

Inside was a note singing the praises of video market research - pointing a camera at people when you ask them questions. "Facial expressions are a good way of gauging opinion ... This visual element is extremely important given the fact that 80 per cent of impressions are based on body language, 13 per cent on tone of voice and 7 per cent on the words themselves."

But the real giveaway comes with a quote from an American market researcher, Jeremy Warshaw. The way to succeed, he says, "is to film people in their natural habitat with their guard down". Mating, presumably.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business


£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Finance Officer

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education are seeking a Fi...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice