Friday 14 March 2014

What do we want out of supermarkets?

Tesco have come out with yet another boring sales pitch at motons. Get money off when burning money in your car engine. Yaay.

Nothing new in this of course, there have been various vouchers-for-cheap-fuel at supermarkets for years. Initially supermarket chains had deals with particular petrol station chains, but then when the supermarkets started opening their own flammable poison boutiques they started plugging their own in what a cynic would call a distinctly anti-competitive means of using market dominance in one sector to gain ground in a second. 

This is all well and good - and I have no problem with other people being given special offers that I'm not interested in. To a point. But there comes a moment when I start to wonder whether they really want my custom. At all. Ever. 

You can get fabulous reductions at supermarkets if you shop smart. Multi buys, giagantic bulk discounts, three for two, BOGOF... All well and good if I haven't got to get that in to my rucksack. I suppose I could take the bike trailer down, but then the locks aren't really good for that - and then I'd have to leave all my stuff in the trailer while I take the trolley back for my pound deposit. And its not like he boot of a car, it doesn't lock, so this isn't very appealing either.

In fact I can't immediately think of anything that supermarkets in the UK are doing to attract me, as a cyclist, in to their shops. While the PR departments of Sainsrose, Asco, Tesburies, Morrisons and Spencers and the likes will all insist that our custom is valuable and they want to make sure that all customers have good access, its abundantly clear that we're at the bottom of their priorities list. I'd go so far as to say that their desperation to be car friendly more often than not actively excludes us.

I mean its not like most of them have good bike stands. I mean among the vast acres of car parking for untold hundreds of cars you might, at best, find space for a few dozen bikes. And thats in Cambridge where we're half the population; across most of the country they provide almost nothing. They don't have any discouts for cyclists, or pedestrians for that matter. Some might have free or subsidised bus services, but even that isn't common and its no use to me.

So what do we, cyclists, want out of supermarkets? And how ought we set about getting it? I'm open to suggestions.


  1. My local (-ish) Tesco Extra - enormous shop, huge car park, ten bike stands round the side next to the permanently closed back exit of the store (and they are the spindly ones mounted so close to the railing which protects the brickwork that it is *very* difficult to actually lock both wheels to the stand) ("Cycling facilities? Box ticked").

  2. Waitrose offer the bike hod. You use it instead of a trolley around the shop and scan stuff as you go. Pay for your shopping and hook the hod up to your bike. No messing loading and unloading onto the till and into/out of the car. The next time you see your shopping again its in your house. Brilliant. We should be pushing all shops to do this. Especially it negating the need for bags.

    1. oh now that sounds like exactly the right kind of thing! Is that across the chain or just in a couple of shops?


    3. sheesh, the basic bike-hod trailer model comes in at £399!!!!

      That's ludicrous...

    4. That's available to hire at Waitrose Trumpington.

  3. I really want to be able to use my bike instead of a trolley. I'm sure my wheels are no more filthy than trolley wheels. If I had my trailer with me I'd want to use it (not with the bike, that's too difficult to handle) instead of a trolley. Especially if I'm popping in for a sandwich mid long-distance-ride and my bike is covered in difficult-to-carry luggages (I do so hate that no-one provides bike parking that secures your bike luggage with the bike - a locker style thing for instance).

    But mostly I've given up on buying things in physical shops; it's much easier to get stuff delivered (I kinda hate food shopping). So I'm mostly more interested in ensuring that the delivery vans are as safe as possible. Make sure their drivers are well trained etc.