Tag Archives: retail

The supermarket lottery of life

OcadoWe’re trying a different online grocery service – Ocado. After years of using Tesco.com and finding that it had by far the best online experience of all the online grocery stores (I’ve tried Sainsbury, Iceland and Ocado in years gone by), a friend who worked for John Lewis’ consistent evangelism and a couple of vouchers, coupled with a persistent desire for us to eat healthy, provided the push we needed to give it a another go. Over the years they have revamped their website and their delivery service is superb – slick and seamless where Tesco’s is clunky and fiddly. One example of this is that they bring the groceries in bags which they collect on their next delivery, ensuring they can walk straight to your kitchen and not faff around with trays or pallets and you’re still empowered to be moderately eco-friendly as far as the bags are concerned. Also one-hour booking slots, etc.

It struck me that online delivery services free you from the supermarket lottery of life. Whilst proximity to good groceries was an important factor in us choosing our home, we weren’t specific about the grocer, and as it happens we’re in a Tesco catchment area – the nearest Waitrose is 15 miles away, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s about twice the distance of the local Tesco. This means you get accustomed to a certain level of mediocrity from your shopping after a while, and you get constrained by the choices Tesco imposes on you. One massive bonus of the village we’re in is we have two local butchers, so at least for meat we have some extra choice… and of course our garden will hopefully soon provide some veg.

That said, the delivery charges on Ocado are steep and we’re not sure yet if we’re going to set up a recurring shop (which gives you free delivery) as there is a certain joy and satisfaction in actually going to a shop and getting inspiration for meals that way. OK, it’s not Rick Stein wandering through the markets of a Mediterranean town, but it’s less sterile than hitting a virtual checkout…

Lovely stuff from White Stuff

I mentioned in passing in a recent blog post that I’d bought pretty much all (I’d estimate 90% of my non-running, non-formalwear) clothes from one brand over the last three years. The nice people at White Stuff spotted my post and in thanks for the mention sent us a box of samples which I’m going through the process of trying out. Now I’m hardly a fashion model but it only seems fair to post a picture of me in some of my new stuff to demonstrate quite why I love the clothes (and the brand) so much…

This is me in my new super-comfy check pyjama bottoms and comfy longsleeve tee. I may post more pics in the days to come if I can get some interesting pics and Emily doesn’t spew on too much of it.

So, reasons I love White Stuff clothes / brand.

1) They fit me. They fit me when I was fat, and now I’m thinner, I’m a medium and that feels good. It’s been years since I’ve been a medium in anything. Although a lot of their ‘L’ stuff fits me pretty well too (for my larger readers, they go up to XXXL in some clothing lines!).
2) They suit me. Without looking like I’m trying to be fashionable (inevitable that I look like I’m trying and also that I fail), and without looking like I’m a slob (which is what tends to happen otherwise)
3) They’re SUPER comfortable and pretty hard wearing. Really nice cottons for most stuff and this amazing cotton/cashmere blend for a lot of their jumpers which I like.
4) Lots of WS colour ranges suit me.

The brand
1) They’ve sent me clothes as a *thank you* for a mention. They didn’t ask me to blog about them, and have made no particular effort to drive a hard sales pitch. As a social media douchebag myself, its pretty gratifiying to have seen this done well.
2) They’re persistently doing friendly, funky, crazy stuff, from drinks and biscuits in store to a bus travelling around the country to a couple of elderly brand evangelists. Fun stuff, accessible, enjoyable.
3) They’re creative in-store. As well as the aforementioned drinks and biscuits there are frequently novelty freebies of some value (decks of cards, etc) as well as a variety of in-store promotions (a Cluedo style whodunit was one I recall of late) which are engaging without being tedious.
4) Their e-promotions are well-targeted and well-written. I actually quite like geting their mailers.
5) They seem like really nice people.

So kudos, White Stuff, makers of awesome stuff, and thank you. I’ll shop with you again soon (there’s a coat I have my eye on), and this winter on more days than not 100% of my clothing will be from your collections.

Now, do you do baby stuff?? ;-)