Shopped : The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets
18 journalers for this copy...
From the extracts I read in the paper I became convinced I wanted less to do with supermarkets from an ethical angle. Now I'm halfway through the book I want less to do with supermarkets because I'm convinced I can do far better elsewhere.
This book will be heading out on a ring once I've finished reading it.
ladychass (moved down by request)
We had strawberries last night from the local greengrocers. They had flavour! I'm sure I will find it very hard to continue my shopping habits as they are at the moment. I've already started buying fruit and veg from a greengrocer's rather than the supermarket.
There is a chapter at the end of the book on what individuals can do, which I felt was very necessary after reading the rest of the book.
This book will be setting out on a bookray. I hope the others find it as enlightening as I did!
Just to add, I am so excited, I started this last night, and at the end of chapter 1 was a mention of Booths supermarket as a good supermarket. This is the one where I shop which I mentioned in the above paragraph. They do include a lot of local produce including ice cream, milk, meat,fish, real Cumberland sausage, cooked meats, bread, cakes, and veg. Hooray! Booths is a great supermarket. I'm really glad it is being recognised - the Saturday Telegraph has included it a couple of times in the food section as you can request a product and they'll do their best to get it.
Right, I'll add another journal when I've finished the book. Am reading it now.
I was fascinated to read about suppliers paying for sampling and BOGOF offers. Also, the treatment of the Own Brand suppliers was shocking. I do tend to buy my meat at Booth's - also cheese and veg as it often comes from local suppliers. Their meat is generally local and they have their own slaughterhouse, so I know the meat hasn't travelled far.
I buy bread from the local bakery which is next door to the pharmacy (actually it's across Lancaster where we used to live!) and have been joining in the campaign to stop supermarkets taking over pharmacies. It is really shocking how quickly independent shops have been run down, and I will try my best to buy more local veg. I learnt most about the treatment of own brand suppliers and kept reading out sections.
I guess I am a bit different as I don't really eat processed foods (except those burgers!) due to my allergies. Price isn't my priority - it's the food. So I support local shops and Booth's evben though other people say they're expensive. (I haven't found it so.) This book has made me very aware of the behaviour of buyers and the advertising which affects suppliers. I genuinely didn't know they paid for these offers, and will seriously consider what I buy in future.
Thanks Loopy1 for organising this bookring. I'll pass this on to Perfect-Circle next.
I was appalled at how much control supermarkets have over the suppliers, charging for sample, promotions and demanding money with the threat of product removal.
I loathe supermarket shopping as an experience at the best of times and Shopped has just made me more determined to spend even less time and money in there.
Thank you very much Loopy1. Will be off to ermintrude75 at the weekend.
This weekend I did do my meat and veg shopping at independents, and feel like I did well price-wise and quality-wise. It will be hard to keep up, especially for those midweek stock-ups - when you get home from work at 6pm or later, what independent greengrocer or butcher will be open? - but this book has convinced me that it's worth the extra effort. I may even be buying my own copy to pass around to friends!
Thanks for the eye-opener! I'll pass the book on ASAP.
I have always been against supermarkets stocking none food related items such as DVD's and especially garden furniture (who in there right mind thinks of sticking a reclining garden chair in a aisle on the busiest day of the week is a good idea?). So I hate supermarkets and shopping, plus knew already they were not particularly kind with their suppliers and staff. (I have worked in a Sainsbury's for half a year (although was hired by sub-contractor). The village I came used to be big on Market Gardening and now there is none or very little. Do I think this book is still worth reading?
Short answers is Yes, absolutely there is still much to learn. This book is clear and concise, looking at each part of the supermarket life in turn. The author takes time to go through a point, offer evidence, giving you the choice in one place to skip some pages if you think you will find it heavy going. Towards the end of the book supermarkets are given space to reply about what has been suggested. Pretty soon after the start you will find yourself wanting to ready more and you will reach the end soon having learnt a lot more then you knew already.
Will this book change my shopping habits? If I am honest I will say probably not, I will give it ago. The week head down and grab shop is what I currently have time for and can manage to fit in. As I am hearing on the radio quite a bit the notion of cash rich time poor country we currently live in, is something I sympathise with. Although low on ready meals, I home make and freeze for later date usually but that takes a special effort to find the time. Increase my shopping and cooking time would be glorious, can I manage it?? Will I stay seduced by colourful displays and offers that the supermarket throws at me? Time will tell.
Thanks for the book it was good to read.
(oh finally before I go there was a fair once that came up with the idea of taking your store cards and swapping them with other people there. The idea was to still have store card you collect points on but it would confuse the system when a single male, swapped with Mother of 4 from another part of the country. Imagine the sudden change in shopping habits, good idea I thought. I don't have any supermarket store cards myself).
The problem I'm now having is that I can't find alot of the stuff that you can get at the supermarket elsewhere. I'm big into organic food, and unfortunately the Tesco's near me has one of the biggest selections of organic anything that I've seen. There are a couple of healthfood stores that stock some organic canned and dried food, but I'm really having a tough time finding simple things, like tinned tomatoes elsewhere. After intensive internet searching, I uncovered a Sunday organic farmer's market in Cardiff....but it's only open on a Sunday, and only for four hours. Not too much help if I'm working (which I usually am).
The book has also made me want to go around muttering "Lies!" under my breath every time I see those cute, cuddly adverts the Supermarkets have. I also want to convince all my friends to buy their food elsewhere. I think I'll probably be buying this book, several times, and passing it on to others. Apologies if this was somewhat incoherent, I'm super tired! Hope you all got the gist! ^_^
Being posted today!
If you read the supermarket responses at the back of the book there seems to be a huge divide between how they believe they act and what their suppliers are saying. I would like to have seen some of the supermarkets statements being challenged.
I am very lucky to live near a (true) market town with only a small (Co-op) supermarket. We have several butchers and greengrocers which are excellent. Yes, the process takes a bit longer but I love the personal service! I have to admit that I do buy from Tesco online because of the organics issue (similar to Auglaise). The only organic cereal the Co-op stocks is cornflakes, Tesco has lots!
I am about to send a second PM to oblivious1980 for an address and then the book will be on its way again
I found this really interesting and it really made me take a proper look as I wandered around the fruit and veg section of Asda. I had never really thought before about how perfect everything looks or that everything lacks in taste.
Sheffield is very much a city dominated by supermarkets and I have to admit I have been brainwashed into thinking they equal quality and value. I happily buy into the idea that there are lots of lovely reasons to shop at Morrissons and that Jamie Oliver really does trawl the length and breadth of the country to find me the best cheese.
I was equally shocked by the way promotional offers are implemented and it never even crossed my mind that the supermarkets didn't fund them. I don't know what I thought I happened, in fact I'm pretty sure I have never done any thinking of any kind before walking into a supermarket! They are just there and cheap and are open when I need them to be.
Reading this has made me want to take some of my custom away to local independents but how achievable it is I'm not sure. I have certainly stopped popping into Asda just for a pint of milk in favour of the little shop on the corner and was quite delighted to find they also have a small range of fruit and vegetables.
I do think this is a worthwhile read, not least because it seems we are all settling for second best without even realising it!
On its way to Kangaroo
(Yes is the answer. Yes I do.)
Anyway. Needless to say, most of the other stuff in this book also shocked me. It was a bit slow to start off with, but then had me transfixed. They need a better proof-reader though, Cheshunt is of course in Hertfordshire, not Herefordshire as stated!
I will be trying out a couple of box-schemes in my area over the next few weeks, which I had been thinking about for a while now. Reading this book has definitely galvanized me into action on this front! Unfortunately I'm just outside the Organic Delivery Company's area, which makes me sad because they look great, but there are others closer to me.
Currently awaiting a response from tiggsybabes as to whether she wants to read this now or skip it, as ziggy wanted to do.
Released 15 yrs ago (4/9/2005 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Off to Gabriella. :)
So why do I use Sainsbury's, indeed? I just have to - at least for some of the things they have. This is spring greens mainly (and the organic Sainsbury's coffee my BF likes), and I blame my rabbits! LOL
I have currently five rabbits living under my roof (three are being fostered until their "mum"'s situation has changed) and they eat loads...not as many carrots, but spring greens, and where else would I find them in bulk at any time of the year if not there? I have a small Co-op facility store across the road, but they don't stock perishable goods like greens, and even if I could go to the Saturday market, I have a 50% chance to come back from the market without greens (and I thought they were so common!). Also, I cannot buy too much in one go, as although we have a fridge almost only for bunnies' food, they become welk after a few days, so...unless I can plant them myself (and I am going to try), I have to visit the supermarket.
I subscribed to an organic vegetable box delivery, and I buy the organic meat, cheese and fish also from an organic farm that also do deliveries, and my washing powder and washing-up liquids come from the health shop in the city. Apart from the delivered goods, all the rest needs to be purchased in Nottingham centre for me, or in Beeston, where there is a great organic supermarket. How many people, however, would be prepared to face a long drive every 2-3 days (or, as in my case, a long bus journey) to boycot Asda, Sainsbury's &co.? I really miss local grocery and fruit&vegs shops as we still have them in Italy. Speaking of which, I recently spoke to an Italian BCer and he mentioned that the supermarket situation is taking over in Italy too...worrying thought!! My mother will go every week/10 days to the superstore (Carrefour, of French origin!!)for washing powder, tinned tomatoes, oil and pasta, as it is very cheap, but the fresh stuff, including bread, will be bought at the local bakery and shops, or from the street sellers, who have all seasonal greens and fruits, and from a local market on Wednesdays...a wonderful way to do the shopping.
The book is now on its way to Gooner...happy reading and thanks to Lin for sharing this. I am now looking forward to reading Not on the Label!
Updated 31 May 2005: What else can I say that hasn't been covered by previous readers? The quote on the back cover by Jonathan Meades sums it all up:
"With a coolness that is, in the circumstances, remarkable, Joanna Blythman demonstrates the proof of what many of us have long suspected - that supermarkets practise a doucely tyrannical form of totalitarianism."
I hesitate to call it a must-read, because it made me feel angry and helpless, because the battle to change supermarkets' power over our shopping habits is just too huge to contemplate!
It's off to chelseagirl asap.
I'm a little bit wary of reading this, as i read another of Jaonna Blythman's books last year and foudn her attitude a bit preachy. however, this has had such good reviews here that it will hopefully be a much more informed read. looking forward to it!
I felt the most interesting chapters of the book were those about the supermarkets of the future and about how we can try and change the system - but unfortunately this was way too short, and I got the feeling that Blythman knows there's nothing to stop Tesco, Asda et al. taking over the world, and her suggestions were just there to make her feel a bit better about it.
An interesting book, but I think Not on the Label is far better!
I'll post this to ladychass as soon as I have an address.
I did read most of this book(!) and although it seemed a little repetitive at times, I have taken some of the ideas onboard. Oddly, the one that sticks with me most is the one about the irony of having to pay to park in town centres actually being bad for them compared to free out of town parks...
Will contact the next person and hopefully get it off soonish.
Like so many things in our 21st century western society, supermarkets are growing without any of us having the power alone to stop it. Shareholder is king, and shareholder wants returns so boards will do anything in the pursuit of greater profits and better returns for shareholders. The supermarkets' grip is scary, and while nothing in this book really surprised me it was useful to see it written down in black and white. The most useful chapter was the last and I will certainly take small and increasingly bigger steps to change how I shop. I just hope i succeed! Last week I decided to buy all my cleaning supplies from a local diy, hardware and you-name-it-we-stock-it store. But they didn't stock Ecover so I bought lightbulbs, bin liners and little else. Still it means I won't be buying those things from Sainsburys. I also found myself in Acton this weekend and joyfully bought pak choi and aubergines from a small independent Asian grocer. Small steps, but they will get bigger, I promise. We as a society must tsop this thing before it controls us.
Now onto jackshome.