It was the great salad revolt that decided me

Related Topics
I CAN pinpoint exactly when I fell out of love with the Sainsbury's way of life. I was in the kitchen mixing a greenish salad, tossing together a selection of those interesting tasty leaves that shoppers encounter in Sainsbury's stores, things such as oak leaf lettuce, rocket, feuille de Chine, frisee and lamb's tongue.

My husband looked into the bowl and groaned. 'I'm fed up with frilly salads that look as if they have come from a French nightclub. What on earth is wrong with real lettuce?' The children continued the attack. 'We like salads with green lettuce, tomato and cucumber and we like ordinary vinegar, the sort you put on chips,' the eldest said. My seven- year-old added wistfully, 'for school dinners we have real salad cream with our salad.'

When a state-of-the-art Sainsbury's store opened at the end of my road more than a year ago I was delighted. I too could make those effortlessly superior meals advertised by the stars on television. Visiting friends who shopped at Sainsbury's convinced me they enjoyed superior perks: their barbecues had fragrant hickory chips thrown upon them. They bought balsamic vinegar, dark and mysterious, by the cut-price pint, vacuum-packed ready-to-eat chestnuts, high-juice natural squashes for their kids.

But the reality of shopping at Sainsbury's proved disappointing, compared with the smaller supermarkets and local shops I had used before.

First, it took so much longer, at least 40 minutes more per week. This is because the entire neighbourhood flocks there; first you hunt for a parking space, then you face queues at the checkouts - even on Sundays.

The distance you are expected to trundle your trolley is equivalent to a good hike. I had not expected to encounter the Sainsbury's exhaustion factor but it is horribly real. I arrived there at 9.30am on Friday morning and was still there at 11.45am. One day I returned home, sat on the sofa and woke at 2.30pm. It was time to pick the children up from school. Sainsbury's was taking the best part of the day.

Second, despite all those cut- price offers they advertise, I persistently spent more than I wanted to: perhaps pounds 30 a week - even when I tried steeling myself against temptation. Another drawback was that I kept running into people I knew. A good friend said it was the only supermarket she knew that she put lipstick on for. I found myself reluctantly accepting supper invitations and discussing teachers while pondering the packs of chicken breasts.

In order to avoid all this, and save time, I even experimented by going at 8.30am. But what shop is worth doing that for? It was just at this point that the salad revolt occurred, a month ago. It hit a raw nerve. I was secretly raring for change. There was something relaxing about standing in a local shop watching the assistants weigh the exact produce you wanted. Local traders, who estimate they have lost 30 per cent of their business since the Sainsbury's store opened, welcomed me back. They even carried my bags to the car.

The specialist cheese shop two doors up now sells better unpasteurised cheese than Sainsbury's: even Lenny Henry's chef would be impressed.

Three out of the four butchers around me have closed in recent months. But the one that remains sells fine meat. The children's favourite lunch, believe it or not, is roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. They also love the shop's sausages made into toad-in-the- hole. These were children recently toying with vegetarianism. They also prefer traditional gammon to the slender, sweet-cure packs I bought at the Sainsbury's store. I have also started to make real rice pudding (1 pint of milk, 1 1/2 tablespoons of pudding rice, 1 tablespoon of sugar), at a fraction of the cost of those fiddly yoghurt desserts. It goes down famously.

In truth, I never once made a Sainsbury's celebrity recipe. There was something too manipulative about it all. My final discovery is that the smaller local supermarket I used to despise is a joy to visit. It is deserted. I go there every fortnight for boring basics and there are always plenty of people available to help me pack.

So, until Sainsbury's makes the experience less exhausting and cheaper I will remain a satisfied post-Sainsbury's person. I've been there and I've done it.

And I've been testing out my experience against friends. They too have been put off. We say long live local shops. But my small daughter has yet to amend her version of the famous nursery rhyme. It runs: 'This little piggy went to the supermarket . . .'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Read Next

I don't blame parents who move to get their child into a good school

Chris Blackhurst
William Hague, addresses delegates at the Conservative party conference for the last time in his political career in Birmingham  

It’s only natural for politicians like William Hague to end up as journalists

Simon Kelner
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past